Board Converting News, July 11, 2022

BoardConverting Serving the North American Corrugated and Folding Carton Industries for 38 years July 11, 2022 VOL. 38. NO. 28

Local Politics: Pull Strings And Get Your Voice Heard BY PHILLIP M. PERRY

GBP Acquires Interstate Packaging

Green Bay, Wisconsin based Green Bay Pack- aging Inc. (GBP) announced it has acquired In- terstate Packaging Corp. in Albert Lea, Minne- sota. The acquisition was effective Thursday, June 30. Interstate Packaging Corp. has an industry reputation for its experience and ingenuity of manufacturing innovative, high-quality corru- gated products. Its Midwest roots provide a team of employees with a strong work ethic, a commitment to quality solutions and custom- er satisfaction. Interstate Packaging’s facility in Albert Lea provides service to south-central Minnesota, southwest Wisconsin, Iowa and eastern South Dakota. “The acquisition of Interstate Packaging is a great fit for Green Bay Packaging. This acquisition gives us the opportunity to grow our business in Minnesota and Iowa,” said Will Kress, Chairman and CEO of Green Bay Pack- aging. “Interstate Packaging has the perfect culture, workforce and strong leadership that fit the GBP model and we look forward to ex- panding their business and facilities.” Steve Tripp, President of Interstate Pack- aging Corp., notes, “We always strive to pro-

Business owners everywhere are tracking how the changing nature of the federal government is affecting the economic environment. And no wonder: Legislation out of Washington can often disrupt the most carefully crafted business plan and put downward pressure on profits. Important as are federal elections, however, the health of your busi- ness very often depends on decisions made at a lower level of the political food chain: Your city.

“It’s all too easy to focus our attention on legislation and regulations from the federal government,” says Sean W. Hadley, a Moorestown, NJ-based attorney active in government relations. “But the reality is that businesses are more affected by ordinances passed by their lo- cal communities than by anything that goes through—or doesn’t go through--Congress and the federal agencies.” All Politics: Local The good news is that you can make your voice heard. “The small business owner can have the greatest effect at the local government level, where the politicians can be the most approachable,” says Marc H. Pfeiffer, Assistant Director at the Bloustein Local Government Re- search Center, New Brunswick, N.J. ( ). “Politicians do not get re-elected by saying ‘no’ to people. They want to be able to say ‘yes.’” Local governments typically control a host of mission-critical “qual- ity of business” issues. Among them are business licensing and ex- pansion, the design of storefronts and building exteriors, parking, bill- boards, and any activities that affect the environment. CONTINUED ON PAGE 22


WHAT’S INSIDE 5 South Carolina Fines New-Indy Over Odors At Catawaba Mill 16 Paper Excellence To Acquire All Shares Of Resolute Stock 30 Diamond Packaging Wins 7 FSEA Gold Leaf Awards 40 TAPPI/AICC Opens Registration For Corrugated Week 2022


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AVERAGE CONTAINERBOARD PRICES The average prices reported are tabulated from prices PAID by various sources throughout the United States the week previous to issue. Prices in some areas of the country may be higher or lower than the tabulated average. The prices tabulated here are intended only for purposes of reference. They do not connote any commitment to sell any material at the indicated average. Transactions may be completed at any time at a price agreed upon by seller and purchaser.

Tools and tooling – Education or employee incentive programs – Employee retention programs – Efficiency, productivity and safety innovations , and more. Share your innovative ideas! Boxmakers! Entry deadline - Friday, August 19, 2022 Open to all AICC Boxmaker members It’s easy to enter!

REGION E. Coast Midwest Southeast Southwest

42# Kraft liner

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$1005.00-1010.00 $1020.00-1030.00 $1020.00-1030.00 $1020.00-1030.00 $1050.00-1060.00 $1023.00-1032.00

Short Ton Del. Short Ton Del. Short Ton Del. Short Ton Del. Short Ton Del. Short Ton Del.

$940.00-990.00 $955.00-975.00 $955.00-975.00 $955.00-975.00 $975.00-995.00 $958.00-978.00

West Coast U.S. Average

SHEET PRICES BY REGION (AVERAGE) Per 1MSF, local delivery included, 50MSF single item order, truckload delivery. Sheets

E. Coast Midwest South-SW S. CA N.CA/WA-OR US Aver.

200# 275#



$62.69 $82.80

$85.35 119.54

$73.13 101.29












107.46 118.45

114.69 129.32

116.54 137.25 117.82 145.56

141.08 148.46

122.76 131.80

CANADIAN SHEET PRICES (AVERAGE) In Canadian Dollars, per 1MSF, local delivery included, under 50MSF single item order, truckload delivery. 200# 275# Oyster UC 275#DW 350#DW $78.56 $99.18 $9.00 $96.32 $105.83 CANADIAN LINERBOARD & MEDIUM The average prices reported are tabulated from prices PAID by various sources throughout Canada. Prices may be higher or lower in various areas of the country. The prices tabulated here are intended only for purposes of reference. They do not connote any commitment to sell any material at the indicated average. Transactions may be completed at any time at a price agreed upon by seller and purchaser. Prices are Canadian $ and per metric ton.

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vide exceptional quality and service to our customers. Our goal is simply to exceed our customers’ expectations. We work hand in hand with our customers to provide innova- tive packaging solutions and have a nearly 100 percent on-time delivery rate. Green Bay Packaging complements our business philosophy, provides us access to additional tools, and gives us the opportunity to service our custom- ers’ needs on a much larger scale. I’m excited to be able to continue to lead the team at Interstate Packaging Corp.” Bryan Hollenbach, GBP Executive Vice President add- ed, “The Interstate Packaging acquisition expands our market presence and adds a dedicated workforce that is committed to growing the business while providing excel- lent service and quality to our customers. We are very ex- cited to work more closely with the Interstate Packaging team and help them grow their business in the Minnesota and Iowa markets.” Established in 1933, Green Bay Packaging Inc. is a fam- ily-owned, vertically integrated manufacturing company consisting of corrugated container plants, a folding cartons facility, recycled and virgin linerboard mills, pressure-sen- sitive label roll stock plants, specialty converting opera- tions, timberlands and a sawmill facility. The company is dedicated to the innovative development of its products and forestry resources, with a focus on safety, sustainabil- ity, quality and continuous improvement throughout its 37 facilities in 16 states. South Carolina DHEC Fines New-Indy $129,360 Over Odor At Catawba Mill According to multiple local media reports, a new order from South Carolina environmental officials is solving one of four disputes between the New-Indy Containerboard paper mill, the state health department and the Environ- mental Protection Agency (EPA). The Catawba, South Carolina manufacturing plant has been under scrutiny for allegedly producing a foul odor that can be smelled in neighboring communities. The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) will require New-Indy to take specific actions by specific deadlines to resolve one dispute among all par- ties involved. The plant must increase pollution control equipment to prevent further problems, according to the order. New-Indy must also improve its wastewater treat- ment system after South Carolina DHEC officials found the company failed to maintain it in good condition due to a build-up of sludge. In addition to changes that must be made to the plant, New-Indy must also pay a civil penalty of $129,360 to DHEC. People living near the Catawba-based paper mill have complained about foul smells going back to 2020. Citizens



July 11, 2022

South Carolina DHEC (CONT’D FROM PAGE 1)

Box Shipments ( U.S. Corrugated Product Shipments) Industry Shipments In Billions of Square Feet Month March 2022

in York and Lancaster counties described the smell as “pa- per mill, rotten egg, chemical, sewage, etc.” State investi- gators began digging into those complaints in March 2021. Now, New-Indy says new requirements by the state will fix many of the concerns. Residents disagree. Dozens of lawsuits have been filed against the plant. New-Indy has released the following statement: “New-Indy Catawba is pleased to have reached an agree- ment with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to resolve issues of concern. New-Indy Catawba personnel have worked diligently with state regulators over the past year to develop a plan that will both benefit and protect the community surrounding the facility. The mill’s ongoing investment in cutting edge technologies has successfully kept hydrogen sulfide emis- sions negligible or zero for many months. This agreement will help ensure that future emissions continue to follow this trend.” New-Indy Containerboard is joint venture between The Kraft Group and Schwarz Partners LP. The company name was derived from being the Newest Independent manufacturer and supplier of recycled containerboard in the corrugated box industry. With nearly 2,000 employ- ees from Southern California to Carolinas, New-Indy plays an integral role in the everyday lives of people across the country with its innovative packaging solutions.



Percent Change Avg Week Percent Change

2022 2021

37.675 37.992


8.190 8.259


Industry Total

Year-to Date

March 2022



Percent Change Avg Week Percent Change

2022 2021

102.648 102.938


8.019 8.170


Industry Total

Containerboard Consumption (Thousands of Tons)



Percent Change Year-to-Date Percent Change

2022 2021

3.1027 3.0967


8.4866 8.4625


Container Board Inventory - Corrugator Plants (Thousands of Tons)

Corrugator Plants Only


Percent Change Weeks of Supply

Percent Change

Mar. Feb.

2.2693 2.3081


3.4 3.5


Shipping Days




2022 2021

23 23

64 63

SOURCE: Fibre Box Association

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2022 Innovator Of The Year Award Competition Is Open

AICC, The Independent Packaging Association, and Board Converting News are accepting submissions for the 2022 Innovator of the Year Competition. This year’s category is open to AICC General Members (box makers) to showcase innovations developed since September 2017. The Innovator of the Year Competition is a video based competition. Winners will be selected by member vote at the AICC/TAPPI 2022 Corrugated Week Conference in San Antonio, Texas, during the general session on Tues- day, September 20, 2022. The winners will be announced on Wednesday, September 21, 2022, during the general session. The Innovator of the Year Competition provides an outlet for AICC’s boxmaker members to showcase their innovations that increase plant productivity, improve plant efficiency, enhance the workforce’s skill, safety and/or well-being or serves as the solution to a specific produc- tion or management problem. Previous winners include: Bay Cities in 2017, President Container Group in 2013, and Jellco Container Inc. in 2009. Competition entry brochure and entry form is available at . Questions can be direct- ed to Cindy Huber, AICC Director of Conventions & Meet- ings, at or (703) 836-2422.

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8 July 11, 2022



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ISM: Manufacturing, Economy Grow Again In June 2022

percentage points lower than the 55.1 percent recorded in May. The Production Index reading of 54.9 percent is a 0.7 percentage point increase compared to May’s figure of 54.2 percent. The Prices Index registered 78.5 percent, down 3.7 percentage points compared to the May figure of 82.2 percent. The Backlog of Orders Index registered 53.2 percent, 5.5 percentage points below the May reading of 58.7 percent. “The Employment Index contracted for a second straight month at 47.3 percent, 2.3 percentage points low- er than the 49.6 percent recorded in May. The Supplier Deliveries Index reading of 57.3 percent is 8.4 percent- age points lower than the May figure of 65.7 percent. The Inventories Index registered 56 percent, 0.1 percentage point higher than the May reading of 55.9 percent. The New Export Orders Index reading of 50.7 percent is down 2.2 percentage points compared to May’s figure of 52.9 percent. The Imports Index climbed into expansion territo- ry, up 2 percentage points to 50.7 percent from 48.7 percent in May.

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector grew in June, with the overall economy achieving a 25th consec- utive month of growth, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business. The report was issued last week by Timothy R. Fiore, CPSM, C.P.M., Chair of the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Manufacturing Business Survey Committee: “The June Manufacturing PMI registered 53 percent, down 3.1 percentage points from the reading of 56.1 per- cent in May. This figure indicates expansion in the overall economy for the 25th month in a row after a contraction in April and May 2020. This is the lowest Manufacturing PMI reading since June 2020, when it registered 52.4 per- cent. The New Orders Index reading of 49.2 percent is 5.9


“The U.S. manufacturing sector con- tinues to be powered — though less so in June — by demand while held back by sup- ply chain constraints. Despite the Employ- ment Index contracting in May and June, companies improved their progress on ad- dressing moderate-term labor shortages at all tiers of the supply chain, according to Business Survey Committee respondents’ comments. Panelists reported lower rates of quits compared to May. “Prices expansion slightly eased for a third straight month in June, but instability in global energy markets continues. Sen- timent remained optimistic regarding de- mand, with three positive growth comments for every cautious comment. Panelists con- tinue to note supply chain and pricing is- sues as their biggest concerns. Demand dropped, with the (1) New Orders Index contracting, (2) Customers’ Inventories In- dex remaining at a very low level, though it increased and (3) Backlog of Orders Index decreasing but still in growth territory. Con- sumption (measured by the Production and Employment indexes) was mixed during the period, with a combined minus-1.6-percent- age point change to the Manufacturing PMI calculation. “The Employment Index contracted for the second month in a row after expand- ing for eight straight months (September through April), but panelists again indicated month-over-month improvement in ability to hire in June. Challenges with turnover (quits and retirements) and resulting back-

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P+PB Announces Dates For Annual State Of The Campaign Report The Paper and Packaging Board (P+PB) announced the dates of its annual State of the Campaign webinars held on July 13 from 11-11:45 a.m. EST, July 14 from 11-11:45 a.m. and 3-3:45 p.m. EST, and July 19 from 11-11:45 a.m. EST. P+PB President Mary Anne Hansan will show the new TV, print and social media campaign celebrating the health of and the industry’s stewardship of working forests fea- turing the animated brand ambassadors, Casey and Page. She will also share how P+PB is reinforcing recycling be- havior, highlighting the industry’s compelling forest story, featuring sustainable product innovations, and why last year has been one of increased consumer engagement and positive feedback. “Our work continues to focus on the industry’s sustain- able stewardship of the working forests and the products they make,” said Hansan. “We are telling the positive sto- ry of the industry’s efforts to promote healthy trees and habitats through responsible forest management, how the products are designed to innovate out waste and to be recycled. The webinars are open to industry members and others interested in learning about the P+PB’s How Life Unfolds campaign. Visit to register to attend one of the four webinars.

ISM: Manufacturing (CONT’D FROM PAGE 10)

filling continue to plague efforts to adequately staff orga- nizations, but to a lesser degree compared to the previous month. Inputs — expressed as supplier deliveries, invento- ries and imports — continued to constrain production ex- pansion but to a lesser extent compared to May. “The Supplier Deliveries Index indicated deliveries slowed at a slower rate in June, which was supported by a slight increase in the Inventories Index. The Imports Index expanded in June after one month of contraction preced- ed by six consecutive months of expansion. The Prices In- dex increased for the 25th consecutive month, at a slower rate compared to May. “Manufacturing performed well for the 25th straight month. There are signs of new order rate softening — cited in 17 percent of general comments, compared to 10 per- cent in May — but the root cause is difficult to determine: (1) demand reduction, (2) adjustment for excessive lead times, causing order rate adjustments or (3) a combination of both. Employment activity remain strongly positive in spite of the uncertainty with new order rates,” says Fiore. Fifteen manufacturing industries reported growth in June, among them Computer & Electronic Products; Ma- chinery and Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products. The three industries reporting contraction in June compared to May are: Paper Products; Wood Products; and Furniture & Related Products.

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On June 9, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published three requests for information to obtain feedback from a wide variety of stake- holders in developing new waste prevention, reuse, and recycling initiatives as part of the Bipartisan In- frastructure Law. The law provides EPA with $375 million to administer the Solid Waste Infrastructure for Recycling grant program, the Recycling Edu- cation and Outreach grant program and a Model Recycling toolkit. The requests for information are designed to collect perspectives on resources, op- portunities and barriers related to waste prevention, and reuse and recy- cling programs. The requests are also the latest in the growing conversation about how to improve the country’s recycling efforts. For the corrugated indus- try it means the timing is right to reinforce messaging about the industry’s strong recycling record. In 2021, the recycling rate for old corrugated containers (OCC) was 91.4 percent. This is in stark contrast to the plastic recycling rate which annually sits in the single digits. A new effort to expand the corrugated industry’s recycling message was introduced to Fibre Box Association (FBA) members at the associa- tion’s Annual Meeting in April. Sarah Meiburg, Senior Director Industry Outreach at the Paper and Packaging Board (P+PB), shared information about the organization’s Box to Nature program which places new art- work on boxes aimed at increasing consumer knowledge about the right way to recycle. The program seeks to engage and educate consumers about the benefits of corrugated box recycling. Through the use of messaging Rachel Kenyon

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connects consumers to the microsite. The microsite in- cludes instructions for recycling corrugated boxes, tips to strengthen re- cycling behavior and a fun box recycling quiz. The program relies on both box manufacturers and their customers to communicate with consumers. At a time when recycling conversations are ripe, the Box to Nature program is the next step in supporting consumer education about the recyclability and tremendous track record of corrugated boxes and the corrugated packaging industry. Later this summer, FBA will be connecting interested member com- panies to Sarah and the Box to Nature program. If you have an interest in sharing the Box to Nature program with your customers, let me know. Rachel Kenyon is Vice President at Fibre Box Association. Reach her at 14 July 11, 2022

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Paper Excellence To Acquire All Shares Of Resolute Stock

Excellence family. Resolute is an ideal fit for our long-term growth strategy. It complements our existing pulp, paper and packaging businesses and adds capabilities in lumber and tissue. We have seen firsthand that Resolute prides itself on its great people, strong assets and a culture of excellence going back more than two hundred years.” Resolute will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Domtar, under the auspices of the Group, and continue to operate on a business-as-usual basis under the Resolute name. The Resolute management team will remain in place at the company’s headquarters. Considering the quality workforce available with Resolute and Domtar, Montreal will become an important hub for the Group’s North Amer- ican businesses. Furthermore, the Group plans to retain Resolute’s production locations and levels of jobs. Growing Together “With this transaction, Resolute will accelerate its growth as it gains access to more tools, capital and opportunities

The Paper Excellence Group, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Domtar Corporation, a global diversified man- ufacturer of pulp and specialty, printing, writing, and pack- aging papers, and Resolute Forest Products Inc., a global forest products company, have entered into an agreement under which Domtar will acquire all of the outstanding common shares of Resolute stock. With this addition to its family of companies, the Paper Excellence Group will further build out its portfolio in North America following the successful acquisition of Domtar last year. Patrick Loulou, Vice Chair and Chief Strategy Officer of the Paper Excellence Group, commented, “We are excit- ed to welcome Resolute and its employees to the Paper

to pursue our ambitions with the combined resources of the Paper Excellence Group,” said Remi G. Lalonde, Resolute’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “This is good for employees and the communities where Resolute operates because we will contin- ue to grow in a manner consistent with our core values of accountability, caring and trust that we hold dear. Together, we will form a stronger and more resilient, diver- sified forest products company, positioned to compete on a truly global scale, with a shared commitment to being a trusted busi- ness partner dedicated to sustainability.” As part of its commitment to building a premier North American diversified forest products company and creating long-term growth, the Group intends to support Res- olute management’s existing growth strat- egy, focused on strategic investments in its lumber and pulp businesses, and maximiz- ing the value of its paper and tissue busi- nesses. It also plans to undertake a detailed feasibility study for the eventual conversion of Resolute’s Gatineau, Quebec, newsprint mill to the production of packaging paper. “This is a good example of how the Pa- per Excellence Group’s diversified busi- ness, financial resources, and technical capabilities can open up new strategic ave- nues for assets that may otherwise face an uncertain future. This is but one example of our support and intention to implement sig- nificant investments aligned with Resolute’s strategic plan for the future,” said Loulou. Also, the Group intends to form partner- ships with one or more universities in Que- bec and Ontario to spearhead innovation in the field of fiber-based biomaterials.

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Natalie A. Brown Becomes 6th CEO In Mesirow’s 85-Year History Chicago, Illinois based Mesirow, an independent, em- ployee-owned financial services firm, has announced the

Brown joined Mesirow in 2018, most recently serving as the firm’s President. Prior, she was Chief Financial Officer and Chief Administrative Officer. In recent years, Brown has advised the firm’s Board of Directors and businesses on financial, operational, and organizational strategy, play- ing a pivotal role in recent lift-in acquisitions, key senior hires and technological innovation.

appointment of Natalie A. Brown as CEO following a unanimous vote by the firm’s Board of Directors. Brown becomes the 6th CEO of Mesirow in its 85-year history and the first wom- an to serve in this role. As part of this succession plan, Richard S. Price transitions from

AICC ‘Drops’ New Episode Of Breaking Down Boxes

Gene Marino, Executive Vice President, Akers Packaging Service Group and AICC Board Chair, and Joe Morelli, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Huston Patterson Printers & Lewisburg Printing Company and AICC Associate Board Chair, went outside of the packaging industry to speak with BJ Slater, pilot and Owner/ Operations Manager, Plant Marvel Laboratories on Breaking Down Boxes. “BJ graciously provided insight for a challenging topic faced by many privately held businesses in a way that is relatable and practical,” said Marino. Slater shares his story about transitioning the 100-year- old fertilizer company from his father and uncle to him and his cousin. He also explains how his training as a pilot has impacted his leadership and communication styles. This episode is available now. Subscribe on all podcast platforms or visit .

Chairman and CEO to the role of Executive Chairman. Over the course of 50 years with Mesirow, Richard has been a key driver of the firm’s vision and success, serving in prior years as President and Chief Operating Officer and Presi- dent of Insurance Services. He has been a member of the Mesirow Board of Directors since its inception in 1987 and, as Executive Chairman, will remain actively involved in or- ganizational strategy, civic and community engagement, and the firm’s focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. “Natalie’s track record, depth of experience and excite- ment about the future make her the ideal leader to guide the firm’s continued growth while sustaining our prized culture,” said Price. “I look forward to continuing to partner with Natalie and the Board on our corporate strategy.” Natalie A. Brown

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TricorBraun Named To St. Louis 2022 Top Workplaces List

St. Louis, Missouri based TricorBraun announced that it has been awarded a Top Workplaces 2022 honor by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Top Workplaces program. Based solely on employee feedback gathered through Energage LLC, the anonymous survey measured 15 culture drivers that are critical to organizational success, including align- ment, execution, and connection. “Our ability to serve customers exceptionally well, our company growth, our unique culture – it’s all due to our in- credible team members around the globe,” said Court Car- ruthers, President and CEO, TricorBraun. “We are focused on being the Best Place for the Best People in Packaging; for 120 years it has been the foundation of our success. We are honored to receive this recognition.” Founded in St. Louis in 1902, TricorBraun is one of North America’s largest primary packaging distributor and one of the largest providers of packaging in the world. The company serves consumer packaged goods companies, from start-ups to the world’s most iconic brands in several industries, including: personal care and household clean- ing; food and beverage; beer, spirits and wine; and health- care/nutraceutical. The company has more than 2,000 team members in more than 100 locations throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia.

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Local Politics (CONT’D FROM PAGE 1)

Stay Alert Given the realities of local politics, how can you protect your business from damaging regulations? First, you need to be informed about what’s going on in your town hall, including pending legislative initiatives. “Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to local laws and regulations,” says Nancy Bocskor, a political consultant in Arlington, VA ( nan- ). Second, you need to set up your own early warning system so you hear about harmful regulatory changes be- fore they are so far advanced that you can no longer effec- tively counter them. “When a story about a new regulation appears in your local press, it’s too late for you to make an impact,” says Fairfield, Connecticut based attorney Cliff Ennico, author of Small Business Survival Guide (Adams Press). “A lot of debate occurs before votes are taken on a proposed measure, and you need to get your voice heard early in the decision cycle. If there’s a hearing in three weeks about rezoning the downtown business district, and that’s where your business is located, you want to be at that hearing.” So how do you set up an early warning system? One way is to take advantage of existing resources. “Most municipalities have a web site,” says Pfeiffer. Many local agencies now post their calendars on line making it easy to check their activities. Is a meeting scheduled for the near future? Obtain a copy of the agenda to see what top-

An unfriendly ordinance passed in any of those areas can throw a monkey wrench into your own business en- gine. Consider especially the control that local govern- ments have over roads, including their quality, their clean- liness, and the placement of navigational signs making it easy or difficult for customers to find a business. Even the direction of traffic depends upon local regulations. Imag- ine waking up one morning to discover the street in front of your business has been changed to a one-way con- duit—in a direction not favorable to your customer pool. Business ambitions can often be stymied by apparently arbitrary regulations. “Zoning issues are a local concern and an issue many people don’t worry about until they start to expand or make business improvements such as installing new signs or larger and brighter windows,” says Hadley. “Then they can run into problems with a require- ment to preserve structural elements or utilize certain themes or colors.” Business-government conflicts can also arise when measures are passed that affect employment practices— paid sick leave and minimum wage laws among them. When you try to resolve your own issues in any of the above areas, points out Hadley, you’ll get no help from politicians at the national level. “Changes to city and state regulations can only be addressed by your local represen- tatives, not by Congress or the President.”


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Local Politics (CONT’D FROM PAGE 22)

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ics might impact your business. “Your town web site may offer news feeds, e-newslet- ters, Facebook pages, or Twitter posts,” says Pfeiffer. All such media are conduits for news about proposed reg- ulations. “Also look for ‘hyperlocal’ websites where peo- ple write blogs or maintain online newspapers about lo- cal government affairs.” Plugging into these information sources can provide you the alerts you need to take action to make your voice heard on proposed legislation. Speak Up Making your voice heard at town meetings is one way to influence your local political establishment. Another way is to reach out to local politicians, make your pres- ence known, and become a trusted source for feedback on how proposed legislation might affect the small busi- ness community. Start with the council person who represents your spe- cific neighborhood. Call that person’s office and make an appointment to discuss topics of interest to the business community. While there, ask for the names of other local movers and shakers with whom you should initiate a dia- log. You can also invite your representatives to visit your place of business. “Let the politicians see what you do and how many people you employ and how much tax revenue you generate,” says Bocskor. “You need to be proactive in making sure they understand the value you bring to your community.” Whatever the venue, establish a dialog rather than a one-way diatribe. Consider emphasizing your potential to help the politician do a better job, by making a statement such as this: “I have my finger on the pulse of small busi- ness. I can be a friendly resource for you. Call me when- ever you have any question about the impact of proposed legislation on small business.” This plants an important seed that can flower into a measure of influence: The politician will see you not only as a spokesperson for your own interest, but also for those of the business community at large. Offer To Help Helping a politician do a better job promotes the kind of win-win relationship that goes a long way toward build- ing your power base. “Politics is all about back scratching,” says Ennico. “Tell the politician how you will help him or her in exchange for support for your position on proposed leg- islation.” If the politician supports a bill you want passed, will you invite him or her to speak before your civic group on the topic? That can help garner more voters. While you can employ the process described above for as many politicians as you like, your time is limited so you will need to be selective. “Find out who the powerful people are,” suggests Ennico. “In every community there are people who are effective in making things happen and people who are not. And the former might not be the

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Local Politics (CONT’D FROM PAGE 24)

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people with the biggest offices. In one town, for example, it might be the head of the local Democratic party rather than the mayor.” Your informal talks with local politicians will reveal the names of these power players. Those are the ones you want to cultivate. Reach Out As the above suggestions imply, your first contact with a politician should be to establish a dialog. Avoid making a request right away. “It’s never good to start a relationship with your needs at the forefront,” says Hadley. “Remember you will need this person’s assistance over the long term.” Once you have cultivated a growing relationship, though, you can feel free to approach the politician with your own ideas. Perhaps you want to block a proposed regulation. Or perhaps you want to promote an entirely new business-friendly ordinance. At this point you will be happy that you have a friendly person to call. Despite the relationship you have established with the politician, you want to present your case as benefitting the community at large rather than your business in particu- lar. That requires doing your homework. When speaking about how a proposed regulation will affect your revenues or your employment activity, do so in the context of how your activities, and those of other businesses in your town, help the region grow and prosper. Do the numbers. “Back

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Local Politics (CONT’D FROM PAGE 26)

cal power of the small business owner acting alone. But there’s no doubt that scheduling constraints can hamper the most well-intentioned effort. “Any kind of community work is a time vampire,” says Ennico. “We are so busy run- ning our shops and working 24/7 that taking time out for civic involvement is a lot to ask. It’s easy to let things slide because you are too busy.” Reach out to your fellow business owners for assis- tance. When they see you have blazed a trail through the wilderness of local politics, they will be more willing to lend a hand. Join your local chamber of commerce or business council. Small business people working togeth- er can improve the local business climate for everyone. “If you don’t reach out, you will become invisible to local politicians,” says Ennico. “And when you become invisible, bad things can happen.” Know The Rules Respect ethical boundaries when you deal with politi- cians. “You have to follow the rules regarding expenditures or gifts,” says Sean W. Hadley, a Moorestown, NJ-based attorney active in government relations. “This is true even for smaller social gratuities.” You might be tempted to invite your local mover and shaker to lunch, for example, given that meal’s traditional role as a business negotiation ice-breaker. Bad idea. You do not want to offer a favor with a financial component, no matter how modest. CONTINUED ON PAGE 30

up your story with data,” says Bocskor. “Show the official how a certain proposed regulation will affect x, y and z. People need to know the consequences of government actions that too often sound good before you do the math.” Budget Concerns Speaking of numbers, few are as important as the ones in your town’s budget. You may not ordinarily give much thought to that arcane document, but it can have an out- sized influence on your business. “Budget issues are real- ly issues of priority,” says Hadley. “Suppose you need im- provements to the roads leading to your place of business, and you were able to convince your town to pass an or- dinance requiring that. You think you have accomplished your goal, but if the town budget does not allocate the req- uisite funds you will see no road improvements over the coming year. Without the money to fund it, an ordinance is only worth the paper it’s written on.” Vital as it is, involvement with the town budget is a long game. “You have to start small, by getting to know your town officials,” says Hadley. “You can’t just walk into your town hall and say ‘I want to know everything about the budget and want to influence it.’ Your town officials will not be forthcoming. You have to get to know them first on a personal level as a small business owner.” Team Up For Success The suggestions above have championed the politi-

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