Derek’s outBOX – May 3, 2021

A friend of mine, who works for the investment firm Edward Jones, has offered to present a free virtual class for Volk Packaging. The class will be through ZOOM.  We will air it in the conference room at Volk Packaging if anyone wants to attend.  She is doing 2 classes so everyone can choose the time that works for them.  It will take about an hour.   This is a volunteer activity so it will not be paid time.  I am sure everyone could learn something, so I encourage you to attend one of the classes. 


I will leave invitations near the door as well as via email. 


Class Date & Time: Thursday, May 13 at 12:00pm and 6:00pm


Topics include saving for retirement, how to best maximize your 401k, tax advantage options, etc. 


Attend whichever one works best for your schedule.  You can do it by Zoom or just dial in and listen.  


Feel free to share this with friends and family who might be interested.


12:00 pm

Meeting ID: 975 6281 9328

Passcode: 727858

If dialing in:   1 -929 205 6099


6:00 PM

Meeting ID: 921 3957 3905

Passcode: 098856

If dialing in:  1 929 205 6099


Please RSVP to   if you have any questions regarding any of the material covered or if there is anything you’d like to discuss in detail, please contact me at 207 799 2909 or


Posted in General

Derek’s outBOX – April 28, 2021

  1. There is a lot happening here at Volk Packaging these days, especially with our associates. Between all the new Volk team members and the temps that come and go, and the Volk Pack fulfillment center moving to Sanford, I am struggling to figure out how to stay in touch with everyone.  There is an app that I would love all VPC associates to sign up for.  It is a simple video app you download to a smart phone that will allow me to do my outBOX so no one misses it.   You can watch it live or later in the day, depending on when I do it and what you are doing at that moment.  I have flyers for you to take which walk you through signing up.  It is very simple and easy to use.   I have found it is the best way to communicate to all my sales reps.  Unlike an email or text, you get tone, pitch, facial expressions and all the other non-verbal parts of communication.   And for those who took Atoka’s VP U class, you know that the words we use are as little as 7% of our communication.  Please grab a Marco Polo instruction sheet and please sign up.  
  2. As many of you have seen, Amy and I have been bringing our puppy to work. Sweet Caroline is adorable, but she has a habit of peeing when she gets excited to see someone.  So, if you see Caroline, as tempting as it is to reach down and pat her, please ignore her for 15-20 seconds.  And then when you do talk to her, use a low tone at first to keep her bladder’s enthusiasm down.   Once she seems to have settled, you can start talking to her like we all like to speak to cute puppies. Hopefully, this will help with the peeing and save Volk Packaging money on paper towels.  😊
  3. We now have the keys to the new building in Sanford, which will be our location for Volk Pack, as well as warehouse overflow. We have received some terrific publicity for it including on TV, and in newspapers and industry magazines.  I even heard it during the news on a local radio station.  Here are some links:

Channel 13 surprised us with a request for an interview.


Maine Biz published a very nice article as well.


The Seacoast On-Line newspaper


Posted in General

Derek’s outBOX – April 16, 2021


  1. Statistic: US producers made 4% more cardboard in 2020 than the previous year due to higher demand for shipping boxes. Might not sound like a lot, but that increase is equivalent to 477 square miles of corrugated board, enough to cover the area from Portland to Wells!
  2. For all of those with volkboxes email addresses, PCG is starting to send out alerts to change your password. Due to the increase in hacking and identity fraud, this will happen quarterly.   I know it is a pain to change passwords so often, but we must stay a step ahead of the hackers. 
  3. For those who are members of the 5 Year Club, the party will be here at Volk Packaging on Saturday, September 11. Please save the date, as we would like everyone who has been here at least 5 years to attend.   We have an incredible 18 honorees this year so it should be a great night of celebration.  Invitations will be handed out in early summer.
  4. The winner of the hearing test contest, naming all the parts of the ear, was Jeremy Anderson. Atoka has a $50 gift card for him.  Congratulations Jeremy and thank you to all who participated. 
  5. It is getting warmer, so I am sure many of you would love to take your masks off. Bring us your vaccine card showing that you have been administered at least the first COVID vaccine and you will be allowed to take off your mask.   Also, if you have had both shots and would like your vaccine card laminated, Kara or Atoka would be happy to do that for you.  The few people who had COVID and recovered can also remove their masks if they like.
  6. Have a great weekend!

Posted in General

Derek’s outBOX – March 29, 2021


  1. I would like to apologize. The problem is that I am not even sure who I am apologizing to.    We have been growing so fast and hiring so many people, plus bringing in temps, that I no longer know everyone’s name and face. And the masks make it even worse.  So, if I introduce myself to you after we have already met, please do not take it personally.   We are working on another series of Breaking Breads, which is a one-on-one meal with me.   That should help me get to know you better and be able to say hello by name.  In the meantime, thank you all for being here and working hard even if I do not know who you are yet.


  1. We have some very exciting news on the customer front. Chuck took ZZZ back from a competitor and Brian pulled in two potentially major customers- XXX and YYY.   We will see what the volume is, but both accounts represent a nice chunk of business. 


  1. Today is Vietnam Veteran’s Day. As far as I know, only John McLean in our accounting department is a Vietnam Veteran.  Also, John Jeffers, who worked here for 42 years, was in Vietnam.   To those two great men and the countless others that may be your friends or family, we thank you. 


  1. March was a huge month for sales. In fact, it was the biggest single month in the history of the company and it was the biggest quarter in the history of the company.  Last 1st Quarter was also a company record, but things changed very quickly when we had to “take 14 days to flatten the curve.”   Hopefully, we are not thrown any similar surprises in 2021 and it will be a fantastic year from front to back. 

Posted in General

Derek’s outBOX – March 22, 2021


Some people have asked me about the masks. I was really hoping that with the warm weather arriving we could ditch the masks.  However, the state and the CDC are still recommending mandatory masks.   As soon as the Governor lifts that for Maine, as they have done in dozens of other states with much larger COVID rates, we will stop our mask mandate.  You can take your mask off if you have received both vaccine shots and 14 days has passed since the second one.  Also, according to both the CDC and the WHO, it is extremely rare to get sick from COVID twice.  So, if you have had COVID, you do not have to wear a mask.  I think that only applies to one person, but it could be more later.   

Several people also asked about my surgery. I had some surgery on my vertebrae.  The surgery was a success, and the recovery is coming along.   I go back to the doctor April 1 and I am hoping he gives me the go ahead to do whatever I want.  Ironically, April 1 is the first day Skydive New England opens, so the timing is perfect.  I will coordinate a group skydive sometime in May so let me know if you want to come and have the most incredible experience of your life.   

March 23 is National Chip & Dip Day. We will be offering chips and dips in all the break rooms.  If you want to bring in your favorite dip or your favorite recipe that would be fun.

Posted in General

Derek’s outBOX – March 15, 2021

  1. First of all, I am feeling better every day. Thank you all for your well wishes.  I do appreciate it.   It is nice to be back at work.   I’ve missed seeing everyone.


  1. We are currently looking for at least 9 people. Some of the needs are on 1st and some are on 2nd.   We are even beginning to talk about a 3rd shift so if anyone is open to that please let Rich, Gary or Dan know.  In the meantime, finding good people willing to work hard is very challenging.  So, we are offering an Employment Referral Bonus.   If you send a friend here and that friend works out, we will pay for your referral based on how long that person sticks around.


30 Days – $25

60 Days – $25

90 Days – $25

180 Days – $250

1 year – $500


Also, please understand that if you give us a referral for someone you think will be a good worker, and that person does not work out, it will have no reflection or impact on you.  If we decide to hire someone and, for whatever reason, that referral is a bust, that is on that person and us.   Please do not be concerned if you provide a referral that ends up not working out. 


  1. HAPPY NATIONAL PEANUT DAY!! We have peanuts and peanut butter cups in the break rooms. 

Posted in General

Derek’s outBOX-February 10, 2021

  1. Congratulations to the 29th Annual VPC Pool winner Kyle Dembrowski. It is Kyle’s first VPC Pool Championship.   The 30th annual VPC Football Pool will start again in September.  All are welcome to play.   


  1. We continue to be an essential business in the fight against COVID. We just sold boxes to the RI Department of Health who are using the boxes to pack up and send test kits around the state. 


  1. Happy National Flannel Day!   Congratulations to the winner of the Flannel contest, Amy Orr.  I couldn’t pick a winner so I did it randomly by just picking a name from all the people who participated. 


  1. We have some exciting possibilities on the Fulfillment business, known as Volk Pack. It could become much bigger.  That is good news for everyone!

     Apparently even Peter Pan has to follow COVID protocols.  😊 




Posted in General

Derek’s outBOX – February 3, 2021

  1. There has been some interesting industry news that could positively impact Volk Packaging. A competitor sold their plant and the new owner is walking away from some of their business.   Some of those customers are calling us, which provides us a nice opportunity.   Also, another competitor is telling customers their lead-time is 3-4 months!  That makes our 2-3 weeks look pretty darn good!  


  1. Packaging Corporation of America announced a $70/TON price increase effective March 1. Westrock and IP have already jumped on-board. If the increase sticks, we will likely see a big influx of business in April and early May.


  1. Atoka found a program called Working Advantage. We signed up and our code is VOLKBOXES.   I will leave flyers near the door (and attach to this email).    You can go to the Working Advantage website to register under Volk Packaging and maybe save some money when buying certain things.


  1. For the first time since just after we moved to this building, we have exceeded 100 associates. We are continuing to grow so I guess we will be over 100 for a while.  It doesn’t really mean anything to you, but it just kind of a cool piece of historical VPC info.


  1. Tomorrow is National Homemade Soup Day. If you want to make some soup to bring in to share that would be fun.  Also, Samantha Harden (in the office) is creating a little collection of VPC Homemade Soup recipes so if you have one send it to or bring it up to Sam by Feb 22.


  1. We are doing a big campaign to go after plant boxes so hopefully this Spring we will have some nice plant box orders for the die-cutter.

Posted in General

Derek’s outBOX -January 27, 2021

  1. We have another case of COVID so we are starting to be hit pretty hard. This means everyone needs to be extremely careful and follow all the protocols.    I have said this many times, but it is worth repeating, YOU are your best defense against getting COVID. 


  1. I want to make something very clear to everyone. Business is booming, which is a good thing.  Lead-times are longer than we want them to be, which is not so good.  We need everyone to come to work if you are feeling well and have not been directly exposed to COVID.  However, in no way do I or will I ever put getting boxes out the door over the health and safety of the VPC associates.  If I ever give you that impression, please call me on it.   I am very concerned about missing deliveries and letting customers down but that pales in comparison to my concern about your well-being.  I have a job to do and that job is to sell and make boxes, but I apologize if I ever gave anyone the impression that moving boxes was more important than the people making the magic happen. 


  1. On a more positive note, in honor of our 12th straight year of sales growth, I got everyone some hats. They will be over at the door, so please grab one on your way out.   We purchased a limited supply, so please just take one. 


  1. The final 2 have been decided for the VPC Football Pool.   Mike’s son, Kyle Dembrowski, will face off against an old family friend and former Harvard Pilgrim rep, Steve Conley, to decide the 2020-2021 VPC Football Pool. 

Posted in General

Derek’s outBOX-January 22, 2021

Happy National Polka Dot Day! :::::::::::::::::::::::

  1. :

The winner of the Polka Dot Day competition is Libby Comings!!


  1. The Horse Race Competition is heating up. Brian is still in the lead with 9, followed by Russ and Steve at 7 and Shane with 4. 


  1. Volk Packaging has been named the Biddeford/Saco Chamber of Commerce “Large Business of the Year.” We posted a video about it on the Volk Packaging Fans Facebook page and would love if everyone Shared it. This is most definitely a team award that everyone can be proud of so thank you all for the great work you do!     


  1. As you probably heard, our COVID free streak has ended. We knew it was not going to last forever.   I am extremely proud of the fact that we made it all the way through 2020.  We will continue to keep everyone updated with any news about COVID and we will address it with each person who may be impacted.  In the meantime, again, please follow all our safety protocols.  Remember, YOUR ACTIONS are your best defense against getting COVID.




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