Chad Wagner, the CEO and president of Peachtree Packaging & Display was recently featured on an episode of The Independent Packaging Association’s (AICC) podcast, Breaking Down Boxes. The episode “Young, Dumb, & Fearless.”
The episode was hosted by Gene Marino, executive vice president of Akers Packaging Service Group, and Joe Morelli, vice president of sales and marketing at Huston Patterson Printers and Lewisburg Printing Co. Listeners can expect an inspiring account of Peachtree’s transformation over the last three decades.
“Chad’s work ethic, drive, and desire to build a successful company is inspiring to me personally and his story is one that I think any entrepreneur would be motivated by,” said Morelli. “I walked away from our time with Chad with a million thoughts running through my head and I think our listeners will find a lot of value in this episode.”
To step back, Peachtree Packaging was founded in 1980 by Wayne Morrison, who later took on partner Terry Roof. The two envisioned a family-owned, independent printing shop. Wagner started working at Peachtree around 1990 when he was a teenager after meeting Roof at his golf course job. After high school, Wagner left to serve in the Air Force and earn his college degree at the University of Georgia, but Roof kept after Wagner to come back as a salesman. The position was a perfect fit for Wagner who eventually was asked to become a shareholder in the company, further cementing his commitment to Peachtree.
As a shareholder, Wagner became even more invested in growing Peachtree. He also developed close ties with other shareholders including Vice President of Sales Ed Davis and Vice President Andy Auchmuty, who became co-owners with Wagner when they purchased the company in 2016. The team wasted no time with their plans for expansion and immediately purchased a Gopfert 5-Color Dual-Die Cutting Press, a best-in-class flexographic printer. The addition provided Peachtree with an additional capacity of 10,000 full-size sheets per hour and the ability to produce more than 180,000,000 additional square feet per year.
Seven years later the company is expanding again. They recently purchased a Series 1750 Barberan Jetmaster, the world’s only printer with an in-line, post-print coating attachment. The Barberan has single-pass printing capabilities and is entirely digital and plateless. The elimination of plates in the process significantly reduces the cost of small and mid-volume jobs and shortens the time to complete projects. In short, the addition allows Peachtree Packaging to offer its customers the latest and best digital printing quality and efficiency for their projects.
“It’s a very exciting time,” said Wagner. “The company's continuing to learn and evolve. We’re adding strategic assets to increase our capabilities,” said Wagner. “We’re repeating the success that we saw when we were just the workers and became the shareholders there. And now we're doing the same thing with the staff that we've put in place.”
Mike D’Angelo, AICC president, said, “How can you not learn from Chad Wagner, a non-family owner who started working on the Peachtree floor as a teen? Chad’s ‘I didn’t want to get too smart to get scared’ comment is incredibly instructive. Breaking Down Boxes continues to deliver entertaining conversations that can benefit all AICC members.”
The AICC represents and protects the business interests of members in the independent sector of the corrugated, folding carton, and rigid box industries. For more packaging news, subscribe to Breaking Down Boxes on all major podcast platforms or visit www.AICCbox.org/Boxes.