1. The Pyramid Anniversary Story
In 1969, the world celebrated together the first steps on the moon and mankind’s achievements in
space. On Earth, the Woodstock Music Festival ignited the passions of a generation while
ushering in a new decade. In Chicago, the Cubs broke the hearts of their long-suffering fans by
infamously collapsing down the stretch in yet another failed attempt to make the playoffs. In the
same town and year, another significant local milestone occurred when Pyramid Packaging, Inc.
began operations with a single employee and a dream.
Officially incorporated in December of 1968, Pyramid Packaging was the creation of proud US
Army veteran James S. Ploen. His vision: build a strong family company - brick by brick - that
provided high quality packaging machinery, materials, and service expertise under one roof.
Jim brought his ambition, packaging knowledge as well as his unmatched ability to connect with
people to the new company (including a successful period of selling encyclopedias door-to-door
in Alaska!). Starting with significant supplier partners in Automated Packaging Systems
(Autobag) and American Packaging Machinery (AMPAK), he was able to form a solid
foundation for future growth.
Working out of a shared space with other family members and the first of many neighborhood
employees, Pyramid quickly established a critical link in the supply chain between top tier
packaging manufacturers and end user customers in a wide range of industries from fasteners to
Out of these collaborative efforts spawned one of Chicago’s first working packaging machinery
demonstration centers in 1973. In the “demo room”, customers could test run alternative
packaging systems with their products before investing in a simple or complex solution. The
participation in local trade shows and the conducting of open houses also significantly
contributed to the company’s early growth.
Over the next two decades, hard work along with these important initiatives led to multiple
awards for top sales performance and created a solid base of satisfied and diversified clients.
Pyramid’s position as a leader providing trusted and pragmatic packaging solutions became well
established in the industry.
Trusted ● Packaging ● Innovation
2. New Decade, New Approach
By the late 1980’s, a recessionary economy and a highly competitive landscape brought in a new
decade with changing customer expectations. Pyramid was also at a critical crossroad while
transitioning to the next generation after the sudden passing of its founder in 1990.
Recognizing the need for a fresh approach, greater efficiency and just-in-time inventory, new
President Bob Ploen updated the company’s branding, computerized the business, doubled down
on the stocking distributor model and re-vitalized sales efforts.
In 2001, a move to Glenview, IL more than doubled the warehousing capacity, which resulted in
improved logistics and heightened service levels to address the needs of a diversifying customer
base in the industrial, medical, and fulfillment segments. Two key salespeople and an
experienced operations manager were hired during this time, leading to historic sales growth in a
coordinated fashion. Further expansion occurred in 2014 when a building with additional
property in Northbrook, IL was acquired. In late 2018, ground was broken on a two-year
construction project to build the headquarters for a world-class packaging distribution center and
an interactive packaging machinery showroom.
Tremendous pride and a deep sense of humility come to mind when reflecting upon Pyramid’s
50-year, family business success story. Throughout many years and continual evolution, the
enduring principle continues to be the focus on building mutually beneficial long-term
partnerships with customers, suppliers, employees, and our community.
Look no further than the many longtime customers and employees retained, the charitable
institutions supported, and the strategic partners aligned with to understand what the company
values. The unique relationship that Pyramid has enjoyed over five decades with its key supplier,
Autobag, exemplifies an enduring and successful strategic partnership between a value-add
distributor, a manufacturer, and end user customers. An exciting new chapter is beginning in the
Pyramid-Autobag story with the recent acquisition of Autobag by Sealed Air Corp.
Proudly independent, financially strong and empowering the next generation, the family
company with deep industry roots and a continually evolving business processes- brick by brick
–remains poised to deliver trusted packaging innovation for another 50 years!
Many thanks to our valued and loyal customers without whom our successful journey would not
have been possible. Special mention to our first-class suppliers, all our outstanding current and
past employees, family friends and my highly supportive siblings who have contributed to
“building the Pyramid” throughout the years. To my late parents and founders, James and June
Ploen, who provided love and solid examples of working hard towards big dreams. Finally, to
my amazing wife and three children who have always inspired me with their unconditional love,
support and their unique talents. What an incredible honor it has been to lead a great family
business celebrating this significant half-century milestone!
Trusted ● Packaging ● Innovation