New CPA executive director sets out objectives

By Joe Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

Mary Ahern, executive director of the Contract Packaging Association
Mary Ahern, executive director of the Contract Packaging Association

Related tags: Management

The new executive director of the Contract Packaging Association (CPA) has targeted membership growth, increased participation and industry awareness as her main objectives in an exclusive interview with FoodProductionDaily.com.

Mary Ahern was appointed in the role by the CPA Board of Directors last month. 

Ahern, replaces Edwin Landon, and will oversee day-to-day operations of the national, not-for-profit trade association.

A contract packager is a company that manufactures and packages products for other companies to market and distribute.

Maximise industry presence

She said: “The world is ever changing and I want to ensure we can maximise our industry presence through things such as education initiatives.

“Our ultimate objective is to benefit growth of member companies and for them to have the opportunity to engage fully with their customers.”

Ahern comes to the role after 13 years as business development manager and director of sales at custom packaging manufacturer Magenta LLC.

She has also been senior account manager for Silgan Closures and sales account manager for Alcoa Closure Systems International. 

Ahern added: “Bottom lines are sinking and outsourcing business is becoming more of a strategic trend and it hasn’t always been like that.

“The economy is suffering, when a new product is launched it has a short life cycle, maybe up to a five year life span in the marketplace before being replaced with the next new idea.”

Achievements since 1992

The CPA had its 20 year anniversary in July and a spokesman said watching the organization grow and make a difference in industry had been a highlight.

From the six original members who saw the need, to the population of today’s CPA that includes not only regular members, but also associate members. 

“Also, the group as a whole has raised its expertise and capabilities from limited operations to multi-million dollar enterprises.   

“Additionally, as this took place there was a greater acceptance of the business model of outsourcing, which allowed the visionary Contract Packager to be able to expand.

“Along those same lines, one thing the industry constantly struggles against is that once a customer recognizes the benefits of the outsourcing model, they tend to assign responsibility for its success to an operational department (a silo) which can limit the opportunity for greater value, through contract packaging​. “

The CPA membership includes around 160 organisations and a planned new membership class of retailers and brand marketers. 

"As the CPA continues to grow and the Board increasingly strives to offer greater value to its members, we have recognized that we are now in position to hire a dedicated executive director​," said CPA president Joseph Jaruszewski. 

"Mary's prime focus will be on membership growth and retention as well as delivering results to the CPA by managing the Boards aggressive initiatives​."

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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