PTIS FOUNDER’S STORY
PTIS FROM THE BEGINNING
The world of packaging existed long before PTIS. However, in late 2000 Brian Wagner and Michael Richmond, Ph.D., co-founded a company that would change the industry. PTIS was founded on “net positive” beliefs, foresight and adding value through packaging. The company – led by co-owners Tim Brown, Todd Bukowski, Mike Richmond, and Brian Wagner – continues to thrive on developing innovative solutions for their clients and the industry. Their message to the future? Think ahead using unimaginable scenarios; that is how they become not only imaginable but possible.
To most in the corporate world in the 1990’s, many brands viewed packaging as an afterthought and a cost of goods – a necessary evil, nothing that would add value to the top and bottom line. Keep it low cost and don’t worry about the end-user’s experience. Brian and Mike, who met at Michigan State University School of Packaging, believed packaging mattered more as an asset. Their focus was viewing packaging as virtuous not vicious. PTIS began early packaging model development and were instrumental in moving packaging from a support function to one of leadership and were key in helping to show packaging as a key component of the value chain (taking it from a separate supply and demand chain).
After nearly 20 years of working in corporate packaging for companies like Kellogg, HAVI, Sara Lee, and Kraft Foods the two gentlemen had an itch for something more. They wanted to use their strategic minds to bring packaging to the forefront, knowing it often served as part of the brand and business solution. They began with their first Future of Packaging Program (while still working their corporate jobs) challenging the way senior management viewed the next decade. Fifteen companies completed that first program, setting Mike and Brian up to make the big move – leaving their 9-5 careers.
In December 2000, they began forming what is now simply known as PTIS. Their strategic and holistic nature played a big part; they met each morning planning how the company would operate, discussed partnership challenges, and came up with their company beliefs and values to steer the future. These values, which are ingrained to this day, are:
- Profit (we’ve got families to support and our skills are valuable)
- Fun (if it makes us miserable, we’re not doing it)
- Giving Back (it’s important we pursue philanthropic interests for those less fortunate)
These guiding principles and passion for packaging propelled PTIS to become highly-sought after management consultants in the packaging industry. They quickly began working on important projects for Fortune 100 brands as well as packaging converters, raw material suppliers and those that serve the packaging industry. It was this same passion and net-positive values that helped PTIS overcome some of the challenges derived from September 11, 2001.
As their demand grew, their impact grew. They were training future leaders and creating innovative models. Dr. Richmond co-authored the book Creating Value Through Packaging. By this time they had completed hundreds of projects for numerous clients and influenced dozens with The Future of Packaging programs, which they continued launching with Leading Futurists to provide a new curriculum every 3 years. Their goal was to “get packaging a seat at the decision-making table”, and it was happening.
Every move they made was strategic in nature. ln 2017, the duo became a foursome when owners Tim Brown and Todd Bukowski added their years of expertise and specified skills. Tim’s strong background in strategic capital planning, cost and feasibility assessments; and contract manufacturing/packing identification and qualification position PTIS as a leader in analyzing company’s productivity. Todd, who earned his MBA through Michigan State University, leads packaging/project management in consulting, research and development, and manufacturing environments. His strong background in sustainability, retail channel trends, technology scouting, and food waste make him a thought leader in sustainable packaging.
From the beginning PTIS lived by net positive values, treating all stakeholders equally and giving more than they take, even starting out virtually rather than having brick and mortar office accommodations. It’s in each of the PTIS owners’ nature to leave things (and people) better than they found them. Because of this mindset, foresight, strategy, sustainability, consumer insight, innovation and problem solving weigh heavily in the projects they complete.
Net positive carries over into all aspects of PTIS. They carefully select vendors and subcontracted (PTIS Associates) associates who share values, rather than choosing the lowest bid. They provide for future professionals through mentoring and things such as a gift to MSU School of Packaging, as well as the PTIS Founders Endowment at Michigan State’s School of Packaging which has awarded over 25 scholarships.
PTIS was founded on adding value through packaging using forward thinking. The company continues to develop innovative packaging processes and strengthen relationships with those seeking to utilize packaging as an asset. The future possibilities evolve as the industry moves forward. PTIS looks forward to being at the forefront of the evolution.