RPA Under New Leadership

Marian Zboraj
Digital Editor
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RPA Under New Leadership
Ben Stoller

A new year means new board leadership for the Tampa, Florida-based Reusable Packaging Association (RPA). After serving his term as chairman of the board, Michael Wasson, COO of Atlanta-based Tosca, has passed the gavel to 2020 Vice Chairman Ben Stoller, executive managing member and global CEO of the Noblesville, Indiana-based Paxxal Group. Chairman Stoller will begin his term at the annual board of directors meeting, which will be held virtually on Jan. 21.

“RPA and its members are deeply grateful for Mike Wasson’s leadership and service to the industry,” said Stoller. “It’s a very exciting time to take this position as the world renews its call for sustainable packaging solutions. Reusable packaging is growing in use and popularity as manufacturers, retailers and consumers recognize the inarguable value of waste prevention as a leading principle in a circular economy. Thanks to industry leaders like Mike and our member companies, RPA continues to strengthen its position as the voice for reusable packaging, raising awareness of the advantages of our industry’s packaging solutions when it comes to the transport and distribution of products across the supply chain.”

Last year, RPA released its first-ever “State of the Industry” report to get a better handle on the growth and potential of the market. The report estimated that global reusable transport packaging is an approximately $100 billion business. Pallets represent 62% of the market, with rigid containers, crates, totes, boxes and reusable plastic containers (as a group) accounting for 30%

Looking ahead in 2021, Stoller placed emphasis on the important role that RPA plays as a resource for all industries as it evaluates transport packaging options, particularly in the age of COVID-19, when the bar for supply-chain agility and resilience has been set at new heights.

“Due to the global pandemic and subsequent economic shutdowns, the supply chains across all industries are experiencing one of the most disruptive periods in modern history. Frankly, the response has been remarkable as the reusable packaging industry and our customers adapted, sometimes on the fly, to heightened demands for hygiene, security, worker safety and unprecedented changes in distribution processes. Through it all, the reusable packaging industry has continued to satisfy needs across the supply chain in terms of product protection, cost savings, sustainability and, ultimately, customer confidence,” said Stoller. 

Reusable transport packaging is indeed growing in popularity, thanks to a heightened focus on sustainabilityWhile many innovations have traditionally focused on reducing packaging materials and employing recyclables, reusable packaging and the use of reusable containers to move products through the supply chain have caught the attention of those who make, sell and buy goods.

Stoller mentioned that his primary objective as chairman is to ensure that the RPA leads the conversation on how reusable packaging systems offer new advantages in an increasingly automated and technology-enabled world.

Other changes to the RPA executive committee include the appointment of Kevin Mazula, CEO of Orlando, Florida-based RM2, to the role of vice chairman and Samantha Goetz, marketing communications manager at Oconomowoc, Wisconsin-based ORBIS, to secretary-treasurer. Mazula was previously the organization’s secretary-treasurer, and Goetz was a member of the RPA board. “Adding the talent and experience of Kevin and Samantha to the executive committee will no doubt contribute to RPA’s leadership in the industry and on behalf of association members,” Stoller noted.

The annual RPA election also resulted in four new board members and three returning directors starting a two-year term (2021-22). They are:

These elected directors will join the following members who are serving the second year of their term:

Commenting on the announcement, RPA President and CEO Tim Debus said, “I want to congratulate the new members of our executive committee and board of directors on accepting these important leadership roles. The reusable packaging industry is fortunate to have this high-caliber, diverse group lead our trade association in representing the broad interests and common objectives of member companies across the spectrum of reuse. RPA is set to expand our advocacy for reuse in 2021, thanks to the leadership of our board and participation from our members.” 

RPA's board is elected annually by the membership and represents all regular members.

Founded in 1999, RPA is a nonprofit trade organization representing and promoting the common business interests of member suppliers, users and service providers of reusable packaging systems. RPA promotes the use and value of reusable transport packaging, which it maintains offers product quality and economic and environmental benefits to supply chains. 

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