Richard Velarde and Chris Smith, sales reps for Pak West for over 30 years…yes, you read it right, OVER 30 YEARS…have seen the evolution of the company, selling, and packaging in that time.
Richard started in the warehouse and Chris in Customer Service at a time when Pak West was mainly a janitorial and sanitary products company. Both transitioned into Sales literally knocking on future customers’ doors, making sales face-to-face, and leaving with handwritten purchase orders!
But, as the market for the products became saturated, very competitive, and more and more based on price, Pak West sought new avenues with their customer base, which was mostly manufacturers.
Richard Velarde (left), Chris Smith (right)
Around 1990, with sister division Pacific Western Container already producing corrugated items, Pak West began offering industrial packaging to its customers, i.e. custom and stock boxes, tape, void fill, cushioning, and stretch film.
For Richard and Chris, there was that learning curve going from selling cases of toilet paper to specifying custom corrugated boxes! And, as the packaging took off, the company added the leasing and sale of packaging equipment. More to learn! Chris Smith, “I didn’t even know what shrink film was!!!”
As packaging equipment became more technologically sophisticated, Pak West brought on Pacific Conveyor Systems, which specialized in automation, custom equipment, and material handling. With this addition, Pak West could offer not only primary and secondary packaging but also the equipment and packaging line systems to go with it.
Richard and Chris have continually learned and enhanced their skill set with these changes at Pak West and consider themselves to be industrial packaging specialists first and foremost. They see how the days of meeting with Purchasing have shifted to meeting with R&D, packaging engineers, and production specialists.
Both are always up to providing a suitable solution to any packaging challenge, but for Richard, it’s analyzing the entire packaging process, finding the areas that could be made more efficient, more productive, and done with a cost savings and/or a very good ROI. For Chris, his passion leans toward pallet displays and POP displays. He’s seen how a well-designed, eye-catching packaging display can indeed help sales.
Their plans for the immediate future? Becoming more knowledgeable with the technical aspects of flexible packaging from sister division Pacific Flexible Solutions.