When Sales Manager Jeff Knapke recently opened a piece of mail at Versa Pak, he was shocked at what he saw\u00a0 \u2014 a TUG 2020 Golden Industrial Packaging Award from The United Group.“We did not know we were getting the award,” Knapke said. “Since they canceled (The United Group’s annual conference), we got the award in the mail. That contributed to the shock of it as well.”“We keep growing with The United Group, and it felt great to be honored,” Knapke added.About TUG and the TUG AwardThat growth is one of the reasons Versa Pak received the award. Determining factors include an increase in the number of members that purchase from Versa Pak, overall value and support they give for the group, and an increase in rebates, noted TUG President Ty Huffer.“Versa Pak is easy to work with; they understand what our member distributors are looking for in a partner, and they’re able to provide the products that help our members go out and be successful,” Huffer said of what makes Versa Pak stand out.In 2020, Versa Pak increased rebates by 1,129.83 percent and sold to 33 members of the group; quite a feat with 2020 being such an out-of-the-ordinary sales year.“The rebates are just a small part of the program; the relationships are the majority of it,” Knapke noted.The annual awards are categorized by the following markets that The United Group, a sales and marketing organization made up of 350 independent distributors, serves:\u2022 Food Service\u2022 Industrial Packaging\u2022 Redistributor\u2022 Janitorial\/Sanitation (Jan\/San)“The United Group is a three-legged stool \u2014 the suppliers are one leg, the members are one leg, and our corporate office is the third leg \u2014 and all three of those legs have to be working together and they have to be sturdy in order for that three-legged stool not to fall,” Huffer said. “It has to be a partnership among all three of us. We truly value relationships and partnerships with our suppliers and our members, and Versa Pak is one of our valued suppliers.”The TUG and Versa Pak PartnershipVersa Pak’s relationship with TUG began in 2017 through a connection from another manufacturing company, and it has enabled Versa Pak to expand its services across the United States.“We’re hitting places we hadn’t before; our footprint has gotten bigger,” Knapke said, adding the relationships are what keep them staying a member of the group. “The relationships have been excellent, and TUG does what they say. It’s just a really good group.”“Overall, it’s been a great experience, and we’re looking forward to the future with them,” he added.Huffer echoed those sentiments.“We value them as a preferred supplier, and we look forward to continuing to work with them and grow our business,” he said. “It’s mutually beneficial for all of us.”Past Awards and AccomplishmentsThis is not the first award Versa Pak has received from TUG \u2014 the company was a recipient of the Pinnacle Award in 2019. Pinnacle is the top award in each category, gold is the second place in each category, and silver is third place in each category.“That goes to show you they have been one of our top-supporting suppliers,” Huffer said of Versa Pak’s past win.“Versa Pak has had results in the past couple years, as well as what they continue to do, so they are a valued supplier for us at The United Group, ” he added.Read more about the Pinnacle Award.