Packaging Program Wins International Competitions, Scholarships

Pack Solutions Win SmallThis fall, Cal Poly’s Packaging Program brought home a number of student competition wins and scholarships from major industry organizations. The streak of success began as two Cal Poly student teams taking first place in competitions at the PACKEXPO conference, held Sept. 28-30 in Las Vegas.

One team of students took first place in the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute’s (PMMI) annual PACK Solutions Challenge after presenting its proposal for a pharmaceutical packaging line to a panel of industry experts. The team included industrial technology and packaging seniors Nick Abbatelli (San Jose), Rebecca Kisch (Paso Robles), Jeff Norton (Emerald Hills) and Patrick Salibi (Felton). The students will share a $4,000 scholarship for their first-place finish. The group’s poster presentation also earned the People’s Choice Award during the conference.

This is the first time Cal Poly has won first place in the PMMI competition. The students came together outside of class during the summer to work on the PMMI project. Under the guidance of Cal Poly Professor Ajay Kathuria, the students developed an end-to-end packaging line solution for a water-sensitive product that incorporated federal regulations, efficiency and economic viability.

Cal Poly Paperboard Packaging Win Sept 15Another team of Cal Poly students at the PACKEXPO conference took first place at the Paperboard Packaging Alliance (PPA) Student Design Challenge, which challenged university teams from across the U.S. and Canada to create limited edition, innovative toy packaging that could also be reused as an interactive structure with the toy. Cal Poly’s team came first out of 53 entries with a Star Wars light saber toy that extended and collapsed from the handle.

The team included four students from Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business: business administration majors Alyssa Harben (Auburn) and Griffin Meinken (Windsor), economics major Michael Udinski (Pleasanton), and industrial technology major Austin Turner (Atherton). The group was awarded $5,000 in cash, along with a $5,000 gift to Cal Poly’s Packaging Program to improve student labs.

Another team of Cal Poly students earned an honorable mention in the PPA competition for their packaging design for a Lego Movie board game. The team included industrial technology majors Catlin Khamashta and Jonathan Molnar, business administration majors Josephina Ma, Jennifer Block and Trevor Smith, and art and design major Doug Huynh.

Cal Poly students developed their projects as part of an IT 408: Paper and Paperboard Packaging course taught by Javier de la Fuente, an assistant professor of packaging. Winners were chosen by a team of paperboard packaging industry professionals who rated submissions based on their response to the competition scenario, innovative structural and graphic design, functionality, and quality of the finished product.

“This is the second time Cal Poly has taken the top spot in this challenge, facing very stiff competition,” says Javier de la Fuente, an assistant professor of packaging. “These projects really show the synergy between marketing and packaging, and I’m incredibly proud of all of our projects.”

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 5.37.03 PMThe Cal Poly Packaging Program was also recognized for its overall success by PMMI’s Packaging World magazine. It selected the program as the recipient of a $5,000 2016 Future Leaders in Packaging Scholarship. The prize was awarded to David Karditzas and Katherine Exum, two outstanding students in Cal Poly’s Packaging Program, to offset tuition or other education-related expenses for the 2016-2017 academic year.

“Hats off to Cal Poly on being selected as the recipient of this 2016 scholarship,” says Joe Angel, Publisher of Packaging World and President of PMMI Media Group, of which Packaging World is a part. “We’re big believers in the importance of educating the next generation of packaging professionals. We are indeed honored to recognize Cal Poly’s contributions.”

For more information on Cal Poly’s Packaging Program, visit the Orfalea College of Business website.