PackJam ’24 Proves a Resounding Success

More than 250 students and industry professionals attended the 37th Pack-Jamboree aka PackJam’24 hosted by the University of Wisconsin–Stout.

2 Min Read
JamPack '24 students and attendees
Claire Sand

At a Glance

  • It’s More than a Package was the theme of the 37th Pack-Jamboree aka PackJam '24.
  • Strong industry support energizes future packaging professionals.
  • Students showcased innovation, sustainability, and professional growth.

It’s More than a Package was the theme of the 37th Pack-Jamboree (PackJam’24), hosted by the University of Wisconsin–Stout in April. PackJam's success reflects the strong industry support for universities and the energy of our next generation of packaging professionals. It was truly a galvanizing event! 

The overall numbers were impressive, with 150 students and 110 industry professionals in attendance.

There were 29 industry sponsors and 42 companies attending. Universities represented included…

  • Clemson

  • Michigan State University

  • Rutgers

  • Toronto Metropolitan University

  • Virginia Tech

  • University of Wisconsin-Stout

The Keynote, Session, and Student Design Competition details and Key Takeaways showcase our industry and the hard work of students who planned PackJam’24.

The KeyNote Panel on Innovation Through Collaboration kicked off PackJam ’24 and featured…

Key Takeaway: The role of social media to effectively boost collaboration and progress in careers.

For breakout sessions drilled down into the nuances of packaging… 

1. Usability - Secrets to Consumer-Centric Innovation: Packaging Human Factors and Usability Engineering led by Chad Betlach principal packaging engineer at Boston Scientific.

Key Takeaway: How packaging goes beyond its core functions to create innovative consumer experiences; accessible design innovation methods.

2. Sustainability was covered in two sessions:

Inspiring Change Through Packaging was led by:

  • Elaine Zimmerman, packaging engineer and life-cycle assessment subject matter expert at Pregis; and

  • Dr Eva Caspary, sustainable solutions specialist for Pregis.

Leveraging Life Cycle Assessments for Optimal Sustainable Packaging Design was led by:

  • Sarah Webber, sustainable packaging engineer at Plastic Ingenuity;

  • Zach Muscato, corporate sustainability manager for Plastic Ingenuity;

Key Takeaway: Students explored the critical role of sustainability in the packaging industry, learning how Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) tools informed environmentally conscious decisions and enabled alignment with organizational sustainability goals.

3. Innovation - The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Packaging Innovation was led by Dr. Euihark Lee

Key Takeaway: How to use numerical analysis and artificial intelligence (AI) to create more optimal packaging design.

4. Professional Development The Real World: Tips for Success and Professional Growth in the Packaging Industry was led by:

Key Takeaway:  The role of time management, how to effectively communicate with professionals, integrating passion, overcoming challenges, and expanding networks.

Student design competition: The 12 groups of 10-12 students from different universities competed in a timed obstacle course with their palletized package design. The teamwork skills of the students shone brightly.

Special credit goes to student leaders coordinating the event - Abby Dahlseng (now at Post), Greyson Hammer, Ethan Myers and Anna Kent (now at Boston Scientific) served as student leaders with committee members Makenna Lowell, Luke Janssen, Carolyn Britt, Lukas David, Trevor Zeyen and Griffin Reisman.

About the Author(s)

Min L. DeGruson

Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin-Stout

Associate Professor, Program Director, University of Wisconsin-Stout, College of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics & Management, Engineering & Technology Department.

Her research focuses primarily on synthesis and characterization of bio-based polymers for food packaging applications, and using nanotechnology to improve their mechanical, thermal, and barrier properties with additional functions such as antimicrobial property.

Her education includes a Ph.D. in  Food Packaging/Food Science from The Pennsylvania State University; and an M.S. in Plastics Engineering/Engineering Technology from Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KS.

This is her UW-Stout profile and this is her LinkedIn profile.

Claire Sand

Packaging Technology and Research

Claire Sand, PhD, has 30+ years of experience in industry and academia. She is owner of Packaging Technology and Research and Gazelle Mobile Packaging and an Adjunct Professor, CalPoly, Michigan State University, and the University of Minnesota. You can reach her at or using the email below.

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