Ira Boots: Automation and Innovation for Growth

A strong believer in automation as a driver for growth, new Plastics Hall of Fame member Ira Boots has contributed to build what Berry Global is now and to give direction to Milacron.


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An early adopter of automation, Ira Boots founded and helped grow Berry Global, Inc. into one of the world’s largest plastics packaging companies. Today, Boots is the chairman of Milacron, a leading producer of plastics processing machinery. His contribution to the plastics industry was recognized with an induction into the Plastics Hall of Fame.

Boots’ interest in the industry first sparked by his father´s mold building business, where he was employed at an early age. He started his career as a toolmaker at Imperial Plastics in Evansville, Ind., in 1978. At the time, Imperial Plastics was a relatively small company with 40 employees doing several million dollars in sales annually. Imperial Plastics soon became Berry Plastics, then Berry Global, where Ira eventually became Chairman and CEO. Under his leadership, Berry grew to employ more than 18,000 people and generate sales of nearly $5 billion dollars. He credits the growth on his emphasis on automation. 

He recognizes his father—Ira Joseph Boots—as a mentor in his career, as well as Ed Knapp, the first president for whom he worked, and Roberto Buaron of First Atlantic, Joseph Gleberman of Goldman Sachs, and Greg Brenneman and Tim Walsh of CCMP Capital Advisors. “They were all instrumental in creating my business skills, and my fellow employees were my best mentors in my personal skills,” Boots says.

When asked about his main achievement, he says it was the fact that he ultimately gave more than he took while helping grow Milacron and Berry Plastics, as well as contributing to the well-being of more than 30,000 employees.

Besides these accomplishments, Boots says, “I can’t wait to awake in the morning and take on the daily tasks of The Boots Group, our family equity business, and contribute to the growth and success of Milacron.”