On October 13, 2013, Akers Packaging Service Group lost an amazing man. A U.S. Marine, philanthropist, devoted family man, and a recognized leader in our industry, Bill touched and impacted many. He will always be remembered for his hard work ethic, gregarious personality, warm, infectious smile, and the twinkle in his eyes. Bill was known and admired for his honesty and integrity. He had great compassion for the less fortunate and extended unlimited generosity. Employees liked that he was always approachable and willing to listen. He had a reputation for being tough, but fair. Standing as a pillar of our industry and community, Bill’s legacy lives on. As an example we can strive to emulate and learn from, his positive impact will continue to be felt and remembered.
Today, the company is led by Bill Akers, Jim Akers, and Mike Akey, grandsons of the comp
any founder, and a team of plant-level professional managers. The family leaders operate as one unit to convey their vision and maintain the company’s philosophy and focus. Each is actively engaged with customers, employees, and their community. Akey had the unique opportunity to begin working with his grandfather while only in the sixth grade. This rare history fostered a deep understanding of the various facets of the organization and an unwavering commitment to continuing the customer service legacy. As they celebrate their 50th anniversary, we asked Mike Akey to share his perspective on their past success and the next 50 years.
We believe that much of our culture and success are due to the fact that we have great management teams in our plants who are focused on taking care of the customers. In the most general sense, our plants are not production-efficiency–driven operations; they are a customer service-driven operation. “Everyone in our organization understands this focus and is fully committed to it. My grandfather always said, ‘People are our most important asset. Our success is the sum total of everyone’s effort.” Also noteworthy is that many of the Akers managers styles are similar to those of founder Bill Akers who frequently used the Rotary 4 way test of the things he said or did:
- Is it the truth?
- Is it fair to all concerned?
- Will it build good will and better relationships?
- Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
Adding New Capabilities
The team at Akers recently decided to purchase a new 98-inch Fosber corrugator for its Middletown facility versus opting for upgrading the existing 68-inch Agnati. “Although it will still produce B, C, and A flute, one of the unique offerings we now have is the ability to run T flute,” Akey explains. “It is a lower caliper than B and larger than E. In addition to this we now have high performance medium capabilities with the addition of a second steam shower.” The team is confident that both of these additions will open new doors and provide a more diverse alternative for the existing customer base.
A 50-Year Anniversary Celebration
The proud Akers Packaging family has just recently celebrated its golden milestone. On the future of Akers, Mike Akey says, “Our growth strategy includes acquisition opportunities with the right partners here in the Midwest. The ability to engage with our customers on a regular basis is important, so we plan to maintain the same 200–300 mile radius of our existing plants.”
All the while, the Akers Packaging mission is unwavering. “We look forward to the next 50 years,” Akey says, “and expanding our operation while maintaining our laser focus on customer service is so very important to our future success.”