Newtown—A business that's been at the same location in Newtown since 1845 is continuing to grow operations in the Sandy Hook section of town. Representatives Mitch Bolinsky (R-106) and Marty Foncello (R-107) recently visited Curtis Packaging to learn more about the company.
Bolinsky said: "When you see the packaging for Titleist golf balls compared to its competitor it’s like night and day. You can tell that this company reaches for excellence from start to finish on their products. They have long-term employees who drive that higher standard and take pride in the work that they do. "We seemed to have learned nothing, as a nation, after the COVID supply chain shortages when it comes to manufacturing and producing essential goods. It’s amazing how much we have re-outsourced."
In 2003, Curtis Packaging became the first carbon-neutral packaging company in North America. Their facility is 100-percent powered by renewable energy, with solar generating about 25-percent. When the company was founded nearly 200 years ago it was powered by a water wheel along the Pootatuck River.
Foncello said: "It was interesting to hear how the company worked with the Department of Economic and Community Development through the CT Green Bank to fund many of those sustainable projects."
Curtis Packaging sources materials so proper, biodiverse reforestation happens. All of their products are paper-based and recyclable. Their relationships in state government are also grounded in strategic investments as they did in 2018, a pivotal year for the company, in which the parties partnered to invest in a $6 million upgrade, adding a first of its kind digital coding printing press In 2023, Curtis Packaging is again working with DECD, this time with investments in employee training and workforce development.
Curtis Director of Operations Kerry Brown said: “Working together toward sustainability has become a way for us to sustain our business; we strive to be the leader of packaging solutions and environmental stewardship for renowned customers such as Titleist, Estée Lauder, Lindt, and Johnny Walker among others. Necessity became the mother of invention where we found a way to cut waste while making the process better and less expensive for our clients and more cost effective for us as a company.”
The legislators and company officials discussed how the state can better align school curriculum for training in manufacturing fields.
Foncello noted: "There should be a way to get information flowing between the education sector and the business sector to line up a workforce pipeline with the needs of these well-established businesses and fix the disconnect. We also need to bridge that perception gap about what modern day manufacturing is. These are digital processes that need STEM skills. It’s the difference between the Flintstones and the Jetsons; it's no longer necessarily manual labor, it's knowing how to program the machines that do that physical part of the manufacturing process."
Curtis Packaging employs 120 people at their 44 Berkshire Road facility.