Jerry Welcome joined the Washington-based Reusable Packaging Association as president in early November.
RPA known from 1999 until May as the Reusable Pallet & Container Coalition established the top staff position of president to replace the post of executive director.
``I have a packaging background from the machinery side so it is great to be back in that environment again,'' Welcome said in a telephone interview.
RPA's outgoing executive director, Jeanie Johnson, leaves at year's end; as does Fred Heptinstall, who holds the top volunteer spot as head of its board. Heptinstall is the Tampa, Fla.-based president of IFCO Systems North America's management services for reusable plastic containers.
Welcome attended Pack Expo, held Nov. 9-13 in Chicago, to meet some of RPA's members and talk about its goal to broaden that base. The group aims to broaden its definition of ``reusable'' to include resin makers, among others, and move beyond its early member base of mostly pallet and container makers, system rental and pooling companies, product distributors and volume retailers.
Welcome, who once lobbied for the American Meat Institute, left the public policy arena for association management.
His stints include 13 years with the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute, and five years as president of the International Fresh-Cut Produce Association, which in 2006 became the United Fresh Produce Association. Most recently, he handled new business development as executive vice president of UFPA.