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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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.  😊 




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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.

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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. 

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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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Derek’s outBOX-Important-January 21, 2021


  1. First some good news! We had an exciting day yesterday.   We ran our first 4 color order on the new JS Flexo and it came out fantastic.   Check out the great registration!   Also, yesterday was the largest single shipping day in company history.   I never imagined we would have the biggest sales day ever in a January, historically one of the slowest months of the year.   Great job everyone!!


  1. Now, the not so good news. After making it through 2020 without a case of COVID, a terrific accomplishment, and making it to January 19 (the one-year anniversary of the first case in the U.S.), we are feeling COVID crowding in on us.  We have had a couple of situations with direct exposure so, as we did last Spring, we all need to be very vigilant about our COVID protocols.   We obviously need everyone coming to work with so much business to run, but our top priority is keeping everyone healthy.   So, as a reminder, PLEASE follow the guidelines we have created to prevent an outbreak: 


  • If you are showing ANY symptoms of COVID (fever, sore throat, cough, loss of taste or smell) or have been exposed to someone with COVID, stay home! We will discuss with you the next steps as each case is a little different. 
  • Wear your masks at all times. N95 masks are the best and we have them available for anyone who wants one. 
  • Try to maintain a 6’ distance as much as humanly possible. In most cases you do not need to talk to someone within 6’ and if you must hand someone something please put it down, walk away and then let the other person come get it. 
  • Avoid congregating in close proximity of co-workers. We are closing the lunchrooms until further notice, so please eat at your machine or in your car alone.  If you must microwave something or get something in the refrigerator, please only one person at a time in the lunchroom. 
  • Turn the lights off when leaving the bathrooms so we only have one person in that small space at a time.
  • Wipe down multiple use areas, buttons, knobs, phones, etc. as much as possible.
  • Wash your hands
  • Avoid being in a vehicle with any co-workers unless you need to do so to get to work. If so, please crack the windows to allow fresh air in.


Please be patient with us as we continue to navigate through unchartered waters.   Due to HPPA privacy laws we cannot share details of potential cases with everyone, and every case is very fluid.  We care deeply about your safety and appreciate your concerns.   As soon as we have specific info to share, we will do so with anyone who may have been impacted.  




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Derek’s OutBOX-January 18, 2021 (MLK Day)

  1. Congratulations to this weekend’s VPC Football Winners-Last week all of the Volks (Derek, Judd, Ethan and Brian Volk) were eliminated. This weekend all the remaining VPC associates were eliminated.   The four remaining players advance to the Divisional Championships.
  2. We had several terrific 6-Word Challenge submissions.  


Honorable Mentions:

“Volk Packaging kicked COVID’s ass, 90-0!”

“Repurposed the closet to hoard sanitizer.”

“Last year was ruled by fear.”

“VPC, our best worst year ever.”

“Under that face mask, keep smiling.”

“Wow! A complete f’ing s**t show!”

“Millions infected, waiting turn for injection.”

“New best friends, Charmin and Scott.”


The Runner-up is Tori Beal with “One undercooked bat changed the world.”

The Winner is Phil DeWolfe who submitted, “Stick this year up your rear.”

3. This Friday is National Polka Dot Day so whoever has the best polka dotted clothes on Friday wins a $25 gas card.

4. Lastly, if 2020 taught us anything, it is that Martin Luther King, Jr.’s goals for our country are still relevant. I will leave you with this powerful quote:

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Derek’s outBOX-January 14, 2021

  1. I have some exciting sales news.  Chuck is close to getting our first order from xxx (knock on wood)!  If you have been watching the news you have seen that they have received xx, and those are the products we have been repackaging, so you can imagine how many boxes they will need.  It has been torture seeing all those boxers with someone else’s cert stamp! We do not know how much of the business we will get but if it is like most companies, once we get in with an order it is not long before they want to give us a lot more business. 


  1. We have an update on the Sales Horse Race that many of you have wagers on.

              Brian is in the lead with 9 followed closely by Russ and Steve with 7.

  1. Someone gave me a fun calendar that has a holiday for every day of the year. Friday is National Hat Day so wear your favorite hat to work on Friday.

  1. In 2018 I took a one-year class, once a month, called Crestcom Bullet Proof Management. I was so impressed with the program, I signed Atoka, Gary and Kelli up in 2019, Dan and Lori Lareau in 2020 and now Cody Sevigny (2nd shift supervisor) and Travis Trembly (VolkPack Fulfillment Center Manager) are starting the Crestcom program for 2021.  Everyone has tremendously benefitted from the lessons.  For those who have not heard, Volk Packaging was nominated by the local instructors for a big award and we found out this week that we are a finalist for their 2020 Global Leadership Award.  This is an international award. Crestcom is taught in 60 countries around the world, so getting named as one of the top 3 finalists worldwide is a big deal.  The winner will be announced in February.


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