Ira Boots, 52, began his career in plastics at an early age working in his father's tool-building company. Drawing upon that experience, he joined Berry Plastics Corp., formerly known as Imperial Plastics, in 1978 to supervise the tool-making and product design departments.
He has worked through several management levels during his 28 years at the Evansville, Ind.-based company, including plant manager, executive vice president of operations, chief operating officer and president, to reach his current position of chairman and CEO.
Through the years at Berry, Boots and the management team has gained significant merger and acquisition experience, having purchased and successfully integrated 22 companies. As a result, Berry has grown from an injection molder of aerosol overcaps into one of the world's largest packaging manufacturers, also doing blow molding, thermoforming and tube extrusion. The 25-plant, 6,900-employee company serves a who's who customer list of consumer products powerhouses. Through both acquisitions and organic growth, Berry's sales have nearly tripled in the past three years, from $552 million in 2003 to a projected $1.45 billion in 2006.
Last year, private-equity funds Apollo Management LP and Graham Partners Inc. purchased Berry, becoming the latest in a string of financial owners of the firm. Boots is continuing to work Apollo and Graham Partners to evaluate and act upon any appropriate opportunities.
Boots graduated from the U.S. Department of Labor's tool-making program in 1975 and he also has studied at the University of Michigan's Executive Business School.