John Irace, CEO, and Tony Irace, President, of Packaging Concepts, Inc. (PCI) accept the 2016 Bert Nathan Memorial Award. The presentation took place at the CinemaCon All-Industry Award Breakfast on Tuesday, April 12 at 7:30 AM at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The video is 9 minutes and 18 seconds.
The Irace brothers join a long list of exceptionally talented and generous honorees. Past recipients of the Bert Nathan Award include Maria Angles, ECM; Norman Chesler; Charlie Cretors; Gina Troutman DiSanto, CCM; Larry Etter; J.C. Evans; John Evans, Jr.; Tim Farha; Shelley Feldman; Evan Gordon; Adam Gottlieb, ACS; Wally Helton, ECM; Dan Kroeger; Ron Krueger II; Jack Leonard; Peter Leyh; Frank Liberto; Libby Mauro; Mike Mosher; Shelly Olesen, ACS; Bruce Proctor, ECM; Bill Rector; Krista Schulte; Robert Scribner; Jeff Scudillo; Bob Shimmin; Skip Stefansen; Bruce Taffet; Anita Watts and the late Bill Chaplain, Len Marsh and Bert Nathan.
After being notified of the accomplishment by NAC President Terry Conlon, ECM, John Irace expressed his appreciation. “Thank you and the NAC contingent for this prestigious award,” said John, “We are both honored and humbled to be recognized.” Tony Irace shared similar sentiments. “We are truly honored and humbled to be this year’s award winners, and look forward to celebrating with you in Las Vegas. We will have the award proudly displayed at the PCI offices!”PCI, a distributor selling food-service and industrial packaging products, has always been a family business. The company was incorporated in 1972 by their father, Joseph Irace, in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. John started at the business full-time in 1975. The company moved to St. Louis in 1982 and Tony joined the company in 1985. Their sister Barbara also joined the company in 1984. All eight of the Irace children have contributed to PCI in some way. In 1999, John, Tony and Barbara purchased PCI from their father and continued to grow it.
John and Tony have been among the leaders in establishing a culture of social responsibility when it comes to minimizing the environmental impact of manufacturing processes in the theatre industry.
In 2008, PCI signed an agreement with Wausau Paper Company to develop and market their EcoSelect paper line to their customers. The product line is 100 percent biodegradable, with water-based inks on natural unbleached paper, Green Seal-approved. The popcorn bags use much less material than tubs and they are leak-proof at the same time. The product also allows the exhibitor to show the consumer its own level of commitment to corporate responsibility.
In 2011, PCI partnered with Saint Louis Community College on implementing 5S lean manufacturing, an in-depth program involving all levels of management and manufacturing. They have been very successful at lowering waste and manufacturing costs by working in teams to identify areas of improvement. According to Joh Irace, “Our associates have the answers, and listening to their ideas is making PCI a more competitive company.”
For PCI, being a good corporate citizen doesn’t stop in manufacturing processes. In 2010, they initiated a Wellness Program. The PCI Annual Wellness Fair features six stations set up for blood draws, nutritional information and advice, club fitness membership sign-ups, a wellness incentive point system challenge with a chance to earn two premium holidays on employee paychecks, and safety-at-home topics.
Service to the community is very important to PCI and the Irace family. PCI has chosen to support charities that foster the betterment and health of children. Family Resource Center, Our Little Haven and Ronald McDonald House are three local charities they support. They have also partnered with many theatre customers to support the Variety Club Children’s Charity tents around the United States. They believe, “It is our responsibility to be good stewards in the community and offer back time, talent and treasure.”
The Irace family and PCI are equally committed to the exhibition industry and NAC, participating in nearly every regional conference with booths and sponsorships. They regularly support the NAC educational foundation and contribute to the Al Lapidus/Variety Boys & Girls Club Scholarship Golf Classic, the NAC Expo and purchase hundreds of raffle tickets each year.
John Irace received his education at University of Wisconsin-Platteville in Platteville, Wisconsin. He and his wife Sandra have four children: Adam, Paula, Angela and Daniel. Some of his activities include being a member of Christ Prince of Peace Church in Manchester, Missouri; Meadowbrook Country Club; Missouri Athletic Club; Family Resource Center Board Member; Our Little Haven Board Member; St. Louis Zoo Board Member; Past member Lions Club in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin; Jaycees in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin; Rotary Club in Fontana, Wisconsin; and a proud season ticket holder for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Anthony (Tony) Irace attended college in California at United States International University. He has served on the board of Ronald McDonald House in St Louis since 2014. Tony enjoys spending time with family and friends. In his free time, he enjoys traveling to the beach and other sunny locations.
For more information:
Chris Dammann, Director of Communications