Grill the Guru – Innovation and Investments in IML with Adam Boehlke

by Avalon Miller

Let’s kick off the new year and “grill the guru” Adam Boehlke on all things in-mold labels. He is currently our Product Growth Manager for in-mold labels (IML) and works in our La Crosse, WI facilities. As we enter into Inland’s 80th year anniversary, we’re sitting down with him to learn about his career at Inland, his impact on IML, and reminisce on some memories!

Walk us through your journey since you started at Inland.

My “claim to fame”, if you will, is being Inland’s very first intern – starting all the way back in 2007. I started my career shredding papers, filling out spreadsheets, filing papers, and running errands for people.  From there, I never dreamt I would create a sales career at Inland, as it was something I couldn’t see myself doing at the time.  Fast forward to today, and I can’t see myself functioning without sales in my blood.  For the first 13 years after being hired on full-time I went through just about every sales job Inland had to offer, venturing over into procurement for 3 years and jumping right back into the IML product world – the packaging segment I grew to love the most.

You’ve been with Inland for almost 17 years, what about working here have you enjoyed the most?

Having been with Inland my entire career has been something that I am very proud of. Inland has continued to provide me with new challenges and opportunities while being an extremely supportive company of my goals and aspirations to continue to grow in the business world.  I have seen the company change so much over nearly 20 years, and it has been a fun ride throughout.  At the end of the day, the thing that I enjoy the most about working for Inland is the people.  The great people that I work with, and for, create an environment that allows folks to thrive and become passionate about a product that I, personally, never dreamt I would have ANYTHING to do with… as dorky as that sounds!

What impact does your role have on our customers and Inland?

My newly created IML Product Growth Manager role allows me to work across all internal departments, suppliers, network partners, and (most importantly) customer lines. Because of this I have access to, and can work with, all key stakeholders in the Injection Mold Label process, both internally and externally.  To me this is a huge customer benefit that they can tap into for knowledge, partnership, and overall assistance with their projects and programs.  I really enjoy participating in all aspects of these conversations; most of all having the opportunity to work with our salespeople, their customers, Inland operations folks, supply chain representatives, OEM partners, and many more!

Now that we know a little about your history with Inland, can you talk about IML’s history at Inland? How have the offerings and innovations changed over the years?

Inland dipped their collective toes into the IML space roughly 25 years ago, and the change since then has been dramatic. In the late 90’s/early 2000’s Inland started into the BOPP film space running mostly specialty projects, barely running ANY BOPP film materials at all at the time.  Fast forward to today, BOPP film materials (cut & stack, in addition to IML) have become a primary offering in Inland’s product portfolio, with IML opportunity becoming larger each and every year. Today, Inland partners with the best and brightest IML raw material and equipment suppliers, as well as producing some of North America’s most recognizable brands in IML.  Our motto is doing the IML basics, the BEST – through product, quality, and service to our customers.

How does Inland continue to support the development and growth of IML?

One of Inland’s great and distinct advantages comes from our ability to work with CPG and brand owners on all levels, more than just in IML. Our long-standing great relationships within these markets, particularly food and beverage, have played a large role in the growth and development of IML at Inland.  Inland’s support and commitment to these markets is extremely strong and unwavering, and many of our largest customers we support through multiple label types, IML included.  We continue to invest in resources, equipment, people, and facilities to support the growth of IML.  Last, it is important to note that Inland is one of the very few privately owned IML label producers in North America.  This, coupled with Inland’s commitment to IML, has been a huge plus to the market and our customers.

Over your many years at Inland, what is your funniest memory here?

I have numerous favorite and funny memories from my years at Inland, but I can confidently say I cannot just choose one. I think that the memories can be summed up very simply as I have had great times, with great people, at a great place.  While not every day is a great time, however, when put into perspective it is a very fun and engaging workplace.  As the old saying goes, we work hard and we play hard.  One common theme of all the memories I have is the people I am with make the memory – and for that I am thankful and continue to look forward to many more memories to come.