[NPTA, Teddy Durgin] November 27, 2017 – William “Bill” Meany is President of paper and packaging distributor Lindenmeyr Munroe and has shown the kind of loyalty and longevity that is rare in many industries. He started in the firm’s sales training program in 1978, then spent the first five years of his career in commissioned sales prior to becoming Sales Manager of the firm’s Boston division in 1984. That same year, Lindenmeyr was acquired by Central National Gottesman Inc. Since then, he has held a variety of decision-making roles leading up to his current position as President.
His years and experience should serve the National Paper Trade Association (NPTA) particularly well as incoming Chairman. Meany believes he is up for the challenge. “I am excited to have the opportunity to continue to drive the NPTA agenda,” he said. “There are many core programs that we are looking to improve upon, such as making the Scholarship Program more meaningful for the recipient and developing better educational programs for our members.”
He continued, “I am, however, most excited about the Emerging Leaders initiative. We have a group of talented individuals who are willing to commit their time and energy to make this a stronger association and to provide future leadership. They bring a fresh perspective to NPTA and spent a great deal of time at their initial meeting discussing innovative approaches in dealing with the industry’s challenges. Finally, it is in our common interest that we continue to advocate for the value of our industry and the important role we play in our economy.”
Meany has been fortunate to take part on several industry advisory boards and organizations over the years, including serving as Chairman for both Domtar and Sappi, as well as Vice Chairman for Two Sides North America. Leading NPTA, though, is a meaningful assignment for him. “We are fortunate to have an association whose membership operates with a high degree of integrity,” he said. “One of the great benefits of participation in the NPTA is the opportunity to engage and network with other members. We need to continue to promote our industry, the values of the member companies, and the impact that our businesses have on our local communities. We continue to be an industry that provides wonderful career opportunities for both existing and new employees.”
Of course, there’s always room for improvement, and Meany won’t be shying away from any challenge. One area he says he hopes to continue improving in 2018 is the communication of NPTA’s activities to the membership. “In addition,” he remarked, “there is also a great deal of discussion around a variety of programs we can and do offer, from industry surveys to HR support. And while not each one will be right for every member company, we will work to provide meaningful opportunities for engagement.”
The value of membership in NPTA, and the importance and role of the association, continues to be magnified in such uncertain times. The issues that members face and the industry’s collective ability to respond to both disruption and change will determine success in the future.
When discussing such times, Meany said there were two pieces of advice given to him earlier in his career that have stuck with him to this day. “I was taught early on that it was possible to compete, even if you were not as naturally capable, by working hard,” he said. “I was also told not to make the same mistake a third time. When I asked, ‘Don’t you mean twice?’ I was assured that I would make it twice. Both have proven to be good pieces of advice.”
For those new to the business, he advises them to “embrace the employment opportunities the industry provides; the values of our member companies; the environmental stewardship of our industry; [and] the new products, services and technologies that we are investing in. There are still great opportunities in the industry, and as the business evolves, position yourself to take advantage of them.”
In terms of the industry’s biggest obstacles of the moment, he concedes, “Clearly the structural decline in the use of paper continues to be the biggest challenge for us all. On the distribution side, the introduction of new types of competitors would rank near the top. But while both can present near-term obstacles, those who position themselves to compete longer-term will be fine. We see many organizations doing just that today.”
He added, “The paper and printing business will survive. We will face challenges, and will need to continue to evolve to meet those challenges. But the value provided by print will resonate into the future. At some point, we will reach a balance between print and digital.”
When asked what would constitute a successful 2018 if we were to interview him again a year from now, Meany was quick to respond. Chiefly, he would like to see the continued development of NPTA’s Emerging Leaders Council. “We also have been fortunate, with solid industry participation and membership support, to be in a much better financial position as an association,” he concluded. “We need to maintain that course.”