Committing to help others
Phil White – Better Packages Inc.
Phil White is an innovator, leader, and risk-taker. In 2003 Phil, a senior executive at Better Packages Inc. led a management buyout of the company from Swiss-based Ascom Holding AG. The new ownership group recognized that there was an enormous opportunity to build value around the Better Packages brand. Founded in 1917, Better Packages is a packaging equipment manufacturer specializing in table-top water-activated tape (WAT) dispensers used in carton and box sealing and is among the most recognized brands worldwide for carton sealing.
After spending more than 10 years revitalizing the company and making it the leading WAT dispenser manufacturer in North America, the ownership group decided to unlock the value that had been built. Phil, the majority shareholder and CEO spent two years, together with Carter Morse & Mathias, positioning the company for a sale. The BPI owners chose Intertape Polymer Group (IPG), a leading North American manufacturer of reinforced and non-reinforced water-activated tape. The transaction was uniquely synergistic and Phil felt confident that BPI’s employees and this 98-year-old company would be in good hands with a leading industry player committed to maximizing the Better Packages brand.
The Start of a Legacy
Phil’s post transaction “legacy” could be described in two ways: short term and long term. In the short run, Phil is committed to continuing with the company in a transition role in order to assure, as much as possible, continuity for BPI. His goals were three-fold: 1) to help his employees with the transition from an entrepreneurial enterprise to being a part of a large corporate structure. The average BPI employee had been with the company for 18 years, so ensuring their continued well-being was essential to Phil, 2) to finalize the development of certain new products that had been in the pipeline, and 3) never one to pass up a good party, to orchestrate the celebration of BPI’s 100th anniversary in 2017.
Although he has spent a full career in business, Phil’s persona can be described as young and energetic. The sale came with some life-altering personal benefits, predominantly the freedom to channel his vibrancy into non-business related endeavors. “The day after the sale, my stress level plummeted,” said Phil. “I didn’t have to worry about the day-to-day concerns that as an owner keep you up at night.” It also enabled Phil to increase his time and financial commitments to his volunteer efforts, which included Griffin Hospital, the United Way, the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce and the American Heart Association. In addition, Phil was able to make other people’s dreams come true. He created trusts for extended family members, helped fund a needed food bank, and is planning to launch an education grant to honor his wife who had a career as a teacher. Says Phil, “I started thinking outside the norm. Dreaming is fun, but instead of just dreaming, I was able to put it all into action.”