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Previewing PACK EXPO East 2020

With one-third of the nation’s CPGs, and many pharma manufacturers, located within 200 miles of Philadelphia, PACK EXPO East 2020 promises the full PACK EXPO vibe in an easy-to-get-to location.


PACK EXPO East 2020 runs March 3rd to the 5th at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. Produced by PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, the three-day event features 400 exhibiting companies and spans 100,000 net square feet, providing the opportunity for attendees to exchange ideas with 7,000 peers.

The Northeastern U.S. is home to nearly one-third of the nation’s top CPGs. Plus, manufacturing companies are one of the top five employer groups in the region, according to Statistical Atlas. Benefiting from this concentration of CPGs and brand owners, PACK EXPO East will address the trends and challenges driving the food and beverage, pharmaceutical and medical device, cosmetics and personal care, industrial and household chemical, and other packaged goods industries. Attendees include manufacturers, managers, engineers, production supervisors, purchasers, brand managers, package designers, product development professionals, and supply chain and logistics professionals from companies of all sizes.

“PACK EXPO East continues to gain momentum as a must-attend event in the Northeast. The regional size allows attendees to talk about the challenges they are facing with exhibitors aiming to provide the solutions they are looking for,” says Jim Pittas, president and CEO, PMMI.

Bring the whole team
Feedback from attendees and exhibitors alike has identified PACK EXPO East as a highly efficient way for end users and suppliers of packaging technologies to engage. It doesn’t hurt that the East Coast region is so strongly represented in this industry.

After three successful PACK EXPO East events, a frequent theme is how accessible the shows have been, and not only to top packaging equipment and materials buyers, but also to whole teams of attendees who otherwise don’t get to go to hands-on trade shows. Attending organizations find they can reproduce a “PACK EXPO” experience for bigger portions of their teams, and can send folks they might not be able to fly to Chicago or Las Vegas.

“It is my third year coming to PACK EXPO East, and year after year, it has proven to be worthwhile,” says Sarah Leiterman, Packaging Engineer, Johnson & Johnson. “So far, I have already connected with suppliers that could provide significant support for current projects and help overcome challenges we are facing. PACK EXPO East is also conveniently located for our team. The smaller show makes navigation a bit easier, especially as we seek specific solutions.”

Some attending companies send younger employees as a way of rewarding, incentivizing, and nurturing their professional development, or send a mix of employees of different experience levels together to encourage mentoring relationships. These types of attendees can benefit from one-on-one, face-to-face dialog with the East regional packaging machinery and materials suppliers they will continue to work with throughout their careers.

“There are top suppliers at PACK EXPO East, says James Schreiber, Processing Engineer. Emergent Biosolutions. “As we are constantly seeking new ways to improve our operations, we couldn’t afford to miss this event. Plus, it is so conveniently located.”

The comparatively manageable size and intimate setting is a boon to exhibitors, too.

“People that didn’t come to PACK EXPO East 2018 really missed out,” says Nicolas Garrido, Garrido USA/Advantage Machinery. “There was a buzz around the show leading up to it and it delivered as we had more leads than the first two PACK EXPO Easts combined. We spoke with people from across the country who were working on projects and were in need of immediate solutions.”

Educational opportunities abound
Attendees and exhibitors alike will have access to some must-see educational highlights at this year’s show. For instance, the Forum at PACK EXPO, which made its splash-of-a-debut at PACK EXPO East 2018, will allow attendees to take advantage of free, unique, interactive presentations throughout PACK EXPO East. The Forum will feature 45-minute open sessions on the latest industry trends by the OpX Leadership Network, Institute of Packaging Professionals, Contract Packagers Association, and PMMI Business Intelligence, followed by small group discussions and Q&A sessions. The forum will be located in Booth 1430, and will run on March 3rd and 4th from 11:00 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., and on March 5th from 11:00 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.

Meanwhile, in the center of the action, the Innovation Stage will offer ample opportunity for professional enrichment. Exhibitors present free 30-minute seminars throughout the day. The Innovation Stage is a valuable opportunity for attendees to learn about breakthrough technologies, innovative applications and proven approaches from the experts themselves. Located in Booth 1029, the Innovation Stage will run on March 3rd and 4th from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and on March 5th from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Women’s Leadership Network increases momentum
Launched in 2016, the Packaging & Processing Women’s Leadership Network (PPWLN) serves to recruit, retain, and advance women in processing and packaging. At PACK EXPO East, the PPWLN breakfast is Wednesday, March 4th, 2020 from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. It will focus on the theme: Financial Empowerment and Fixing the Broken Rung.

The struggle continues when it comes to gender parity in corporate America. And, while there are signs of progress—as more women are in senior leadership roles than five years ago—research shows that there is a persistent problem of inequality in the workplace. The McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) Women in the Workplace 2019 report states the biggest obstacle to advancing women’s careers is not the glass ceiling, but rather the broken rung—that entry level position where women get stuck. The Packaging & Processing Women’s Leadership Network breakfast at PACK EXPO East will take a closer look at the data, exploring inclusiveness and workplace diversity, which, when embraced, results in financial empowerment for individuals and the organization as a whole.

Two keynote speakers will address the issues of the “power of parity” and accelerating gender equality through investment strategies.

Kweilin Ellingrud, a senior partner at McKinsey & Company, provides expert input for MGI’s research on global economic, business, and technology trends. She co-led McKinsey’s Power of Parity work on gender equality and improving the lives of women around the world. Other areas of expertise include women in STEM, accelerating gender equality through investment strategies, women in leadership, and the future of work.

And Kelly Coyne is the vice president of Global Women’s Strategies, Impax Asset Management LLC and Pax Ellevate Management LLC. Coyne serves as a product specialist for the Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Leadership Fund which seeks investment returns that closely correspond to the performance of the Impax Global Women’s Leadership Index, an index of companies around the world that are leaders in advancing women through gender diversity on their boards of directors, in management, and through other policies and programs.

Student opportunities
PACK EXPO East offers programs and activities aimed at getting students excited about careers in packaging. For instance, CareerLink @ PACK EXPO, PMMI’s online job board, will present an opportunity for PMMI members and CPGs to meet with students and veterans pursuing careers in packaging and processing during one-on-one informational interviews. Interviews will take place at the show on Wednesday, March 4th, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. in Room 120A. Visit to register.

Also, be sure not to muss high school robotics teams from the Philadelphia area showcase their design, engineering, and troubleshooting skills at the Future Innovators Robotics Showcase. This will take place Tuesday and Wednesday, March 3rd and 4th, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Thursday, March 5th, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. It will be located at the end of the 700 aisle.

Registration for PACK EXPO East can be done online at

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