Prior to purchasing Central Packaging, Mike Pasley and John Swearingen knew one another at the University of Missouri where Mike majored in Economics and John studied Finance. After college, Mike went on to work at Scott Paper and International Paper in sales, sales management and marketing.
John attained a Masters Degree in Business Administration and then joined the family business. Since the 1940’s, John’s family made Levi’s Jeans for Levi Strauss & Co. As Levi Strauss outsourced fabrication of its products overseas, the family business came to an end.
In 1999, Mike and John reconnected at a University of Missouri football game (Go Tigers!) where they discussed their similar goals and noted their complimentary backgrounds. Shortly after, the two purchased Union Tape, a small distributor, in 1999. They changed the name to reflect their goals, and then added packaging lines to go along with the tape business.
In 2005, they acquired Pro Pack and changed the company name to Central Packaging. The mergers and acquisitions have increased Central Packaging’s purchasing and selling power. The business now employs 15 people, including seven sales representatives. Today, John and his family run the back office operations out of Sedalia, MO. Mike runs the operations out of Kansas City, including a 30,000-sq.-ft. warehouse.
Mike attributes a portion of Central Packaging’s success to the Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program (founded by Barnett Helzberg), an organization of business owners that has paired Mike with a seasoned businessperson who provides him with a variety of networking contacts and like-minded business owners.