This post was written by Kenny Harris, the plant manager at Ankerpak.
Ankerpak began with nothing more than ambition and a young man’s vision. I met John Anker many years ago when he was selling boxes, and I was working with a small company running orange juice and spring water. John asked me then if I would work with him if he ever started his own company. My answer: “Yes, just let me know when you are ready.” The company I was with at the time was not successful and eventually had to close its doors. I then got a job at a plant where I ran a bottling line. John and I both had 1-2 hour long commutes to work, and we would wave to each other in passing. As the next few years passed, I ran into John at trade shows and each time he asked the same question, “If I start my own company, are you still interested in working with me?” My answer was always yes.
John called me one day and asked if I would like to grab lunch. There at the table, he asked about his future company and this time he was not speaking figuratively. He asked “, When I start my company, will you work with me?” He explained that his company was coming and he was ready to assemble his team. We agreed to some terms, and I firmly decided that I would work with him. That is a lunch I will never forget. From there we made weekend trips to inspect equipment. At an equipment auction held in the Litho-Krome building, John dragged me upstairs to a small flat room. He believed it was the perfect place to start his company. Unfortunately, the building was for sale. Eager, ambitious John sought to lease the building, which I thought was a hopeless cause. He made it happen and we had a room to start his company.
As time raced by, we quickly outgrew our little section of the Litho-Krome building. We began to lease more and more of the massive warehouse. We packed it full of product and machines. We hired a truck driver and bought a truck. We acquired a corrugation machine and began making shippers for anyone. Then a wax coating machine found its way to our door and an automated shrink wrap machine where we wrapped anything from dog bones to sheets to peanut butter. The growing pains were both good and bad.
A dream in a young man’s head, a conveyor setup, and an 18 line operation has all boiled down to an incredibly fun and educational journey.
Ten years and still growing.
Photo credit: John Pyle