Packaging Is Awesome with Adam Peek
People of Packaging Podcast
193 - Innovation, Specs, Technology with Mike Crowe

193 - Innovation, Specs, Technology with Mike Crowe

Former CIO of Colgate-Palmolive came through!

Specright and Packaging Info

Meyers Sustainable Packaging Guide eBook

Mike’s LinkedIn

Sponsor information!

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SupplyCaddy is welcomed on as the latest packaging podcast sponsor! SupplyCaddy is a leading global manufacturer and supplier of packaging and disposables for the foodservice industry. With headquarters in Miami, Florida, and manufacturing facilities in North America and Europe, SupplyCaddy is able to provide high-quality, affordable products for restaurants, chains, and foodservice brands globally. For more information, visit

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Adam is joined by Mike Crowe, located in northern New Jersey. Mike is a computer scientist by education and graduated from the University of Delaware. They discuss Mike's background and how it is important to the future of product and business innovation in the packaging industry. Mike explains how he was a computer science major and his education has helped him in his career. He also mentions how he likes to work in his sunroom in his backyard and how spring is arriving in his area. Adam and Mike then move on to discussing the topic at hand. Mike Crow is a former CIO of Colgate Palmolive and a current board member of Spec Right. He has a long career in software development, first in the defense industry and then in the healthcare industry. Crow was introduced to Spec Right by a mutual friend and has been on the board for a couple of months. He has had exposure to Spec Right for a few years, having conversations with Matthew Wright and Laura from the leadership team. Crow became aware of the importance of packaging specification data management solutions in his former role as CIO at Colgate, Palmolive, recognizing that companies of all sizes benefit from understanding their data and information. Retiring CIO of Colgate, John Jones, had been working in IT for 34 years, with the last 9 as CIO. At Colgate, he had a broad purview across the entire business, including specifications and master data. He was not the one who first brought Spec Right to the organization's attention, but he quickly got involved with it as he understood the importance that data played in the way packaging engineers, mechanical engineers, and formula developers did their craft. After retiring from Colgate, he decided to stay close to the industry and join the board at Spec Right. His decision to join the board was based on the fact that he wanted to help the company innovate to save money, speed up processes, and bring multiple benefits to the organization. John explains why he chose to accept the offer to join the board of Spec Right. He was quickly impressed by the leadership team and their vision to combine domain expertise in engineering and manufacturing with cutting edge technology. John was further impressed by the easy implementation of the software platform, feedback from users, and its ease of support. He was surprised to learn that customers were using the platform for product and formula development, as well as sustainability reporting. He has a conviction in the company and believes they have a bright future. John attended the Spec Summit in Nashville earlier in the year and was happy to see its success. John explains that getting on a board involves an offer and typically has general responsibilities, although specific roles may vary.



Conversation with Mike Crow: Exploring the Future of Product and Business Innovation


Conversation with Mike Crow: 34 Years in IT and 9 Years as CIO at Colgate Palm Olive


Conversation on Spec Right and Its Role in IT Innovation


Conversation with Retired Technology Executive on Joining Spec Right's Board


Conversation Summary: Leveraging Network Connections to Secure a Board Position


Conversation with Mike O'Neill on Joining a Board and the Future of Spec Right


Advice from a Long and Successful Career: Technology and People


Conversation with Mike, Retired Packaging Industry Executive


So obviously I loved working on technology, which is why in retirement, I still want to do some things to stay close to that, at least for a number of years here. But then as I rose up through the ranks in the organization and I was not as hands on with the technology, the thing that I found next most satisfying was developing people and taking care of people and giving advice to people. So I would say if I had to pick two of the things that I enjoyed the most, it was the technology and people, if I was to give any kind of career advice and how did I do it? Look, I don't claim to have any magic, secret or silver bullet as to how you have a long, successful career, but what worked for me was just always trying to do a really good job at the job I had and providing good customer service internally and externally and concentrating on that always led to the next step.

I love that it's the adage, like there's people who work in the business and there's people who work on the business and you're going to need both to succeed. Thinking through the Nashville Summit that you attended, I'm thinking there's a component for a CFO if we start talking about taxes from Extender Producer Responsibility, where the accuracy of your packaging specification data along with other data formats when it comes to sustainability indexes is going to become critical. Thinking about Kevin Davis from Dermalogica, his presentation on the time and the accuracy that they had for reporting. There are now Chief sustainability officers, there are Coos, there's any number of different people.

It can be other people with a broad perspective. In some of the other customers I've seen at Spec. Right. I've seen the head of Supply Chain have that broad perspective or the head of Digital Transformation for the company have that broad perspective or the head of a particular business unit in the company having that broad perspective on how specifications can be used across the entire business. So it's taking that initial set of benefits and then getting to the right people that have that broader perspective to see how it can apply across the entire company.

Specifications run across everything. It's packaging materials, it's raw materials, it's the semi finished products, the formulas, the bill of materials, the finished goods and all of that data. And having that foundational data correct is so important for accuracy, for savings, for speed, for reporting on things like sustainability that we talked about. I think a lot of what I see with their existing customers this is not exclusively because I think some of their customers get the full breadth of what they do. But with a lot of their customers, including me being a former customer, I think we see people in certain domains, like maybe packaging in one company, being the champion for spec rate. In another company, it's the head of engineering who's using them for specifications for the manufacturing equipment.

And so the stars kind of aligned at the right time with my retirement, with the connections that we had, them having an open spot, going to Spec Summit, finding mutual interest. Right. It was something interesting to me, and they felt that I was interesting to them in terms of the role. It's a general governance role. So there's some governance work that is involved in looking after, making sure the right controls are in place in the company.

Packaging Is Awesome with Adam Peek
People of Packaging Podcast
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