President & CEO
Michael K. Pearson (“Mike”) is the President & CEO of Union Packaging, LLC (“UP”). Established in 1999, UP is a Yeadon, Pennsylvania based earth-friendly Foodservice and Quick Service Restaurant (“QSR”) single-use paperboard packaging maker. UP was born from a 1996 business plan written while Mike lived in Philadelphia’s Fairmount section. Three years later, he started making FDA-compliant packaging after winning a combination of equity/debt financing facilitated by coaching from the Wharton Small Business Development.
Food is now served around American, the Middle-East, Caribbean and Latin America in clamshell, folded, and nested cartons made with UP’s earth-friendly converting technology. Clients have included QSRs, supermarkets, convenience stores, and foodservice companies. UP raw material and equipment suppliers are located as far away as Brazil, China, Finland, and Switzerland.
UP employs and develops people from Metro-Philadelphia’s African-American, Asian-American and Latino neighborhoods. Non-profit partnerships have resulted in career opportunities for public school graduates with learning differences, ex-offenders, and documented new arrivals from more than fifteen nations.
Mike currently serves on the executive boards of the William Penn Foundation, Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, and chairs the Philadelphia Health Management Corporation board. He is a Philadelphia Regional Port Authority commissioner. He also is a member of the board of the National Council on Crime & Delinquency.
Mike has previously held leadership positions with the Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee for the Democratic National Convention, the United Way of Greater Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey, Council Member on the Economic and Community Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, the Governor’s Manufacturing Advisory Council for Pennsylvania, Committee of Seventy, U.S. Small Business Administration National Small Business Development Center Advisory Board, ACHIEVEability, St. Christopher’s Foundation for Children, the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, the Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center, Philadelphia Safe and Sound, the Community YMCA of Eastern Delaware County, the Big Picture Alliance, Team Pennsylvania Foundation, Delaware County Community College Regional Advanced Manufacturing Committee, and the Local Advisory Committee for the
In 2016, The Eastern Minority Supplier Development Council recognized Michael K. Pearson and Union Packaging as MBE Advocate of the Year.
In 2015, Fisher & Phillps LLP, a national labor and employment law firm, presented its first Business Leadership in Diversity Award to Mike for his longstanding commitment to fostering diversity in business within the Philadelphia business community. Also in 2015, UP received The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce 2015 GPCC Diversity and Inclusion Award based on UP’s continued commitment to diverse hiring practices and for initiatives to expand and promote diversity and inclusion. That same year, Mike was named an Outstanding Director by the Philadelphia Business Journal for service on the PHMC board and received the Inner City Capital Connections Urban Impact Award.
Union Packaging was selected as the 2015 Goodwill of Delaware & Delaware County Workforce Partnership Employer of the Year.
In 2013, UP cracked the Black Enterprise 2013 100 Largest Black Businesses in the United States at 98 on the list. UP was ranked as one of the 2013 fastest-growing, privately-held businesses in the Philadelphia region by the Philadelphia 100®, the Wharton Small Business Development Center, the Entrepreneurs’ Forum of Greater Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. The Minority Supplier Diversity Council of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware selected UP as the 2013 Class III Supplier of the year.
In 2012, the Urban League of Philadelphia presented the Spirit of Innovation Award to UP and Mike was the recipient of the African & Caribbean Business Council’s Atlas Award for Advancing Opportunity. In 2010, Mike received the Philadelphia Business Journal’s Minority Business Leader Award and was honored by Richard E. Marriott, Chairman of the Marriott Foundation for hiring young adults with disabilities. Burger King Corporation selected UP 2006 Supplier of the Year for outstanding performance in their procurement system. In 2005, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Philadelphia District Office selected Mike as Eastern Pennsylvania Small Business Person of the Year. In 2007 the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce honored Mike and UP as Manufacturer of the Year at its small business awards ceremony. The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency selected UP the 2007 Minority Manufacturer of the Year.
In 2017, Mike was a presenter for the Main Line Chamber of Commerce Leadership Principles & Profiles Program. He was a panel participant on the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia Roadmap for Growth and Region on the Rise Region on the Rise: Investing in Infrastructure
In 2016, he was a panelist for The National Black MBA Association Philadelphia Chapter’s Entrepreneur Summit: “Sustaining Minority Owned Business Growth into the Future”. Entrepreneurs discussed how they got started, obtained financing, entered the marketplace, interacted with suppliers, overcame barriers and managed customers. In addition, Mike he was a panelist for the CEO Roundtable hosted by the Young Entrepreneurs Academy
Mike has been a speaker at the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute of Government Philadelphia Social Innovations Lab cohorts from 2010 to 2015. The Philadelphia Social Innovations Lab provides a low-risk opportunity to test, vet, and bring to implementation, strong ideas across the social sector, social enterprise, and government. In 2015, he was a panelist for Wharton SBDC-Knowledge@wharton Sirius XM radio (channel 111), Saint Joseph’s University Haub School of Business Executive MBA Program, Inner City Capital Connections National Conference, the Philadelphia Business, Science and Industry Department Parkway Central Library, and the African and Caribbean Business Council in Association with the Coalition for African and Caribbean Communities 6th Winter Award Dinner and Business Roundtable. He preceded over the Enterprise Center Presents SPARK – Inspiring Leaders to Drive Economic Opportunity Conference.
Mike’s 2014 panel and speaking engagements included the First Annual Rutgers Entrepreneurship Awards Ceremony of Rutgers Business School Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development, Widener University School of Business, Oskin Leadership Institute CTBU China Graduate Student Exchange Program, the Philadelphia Reboot Program for Veterans and Military Service Members Boot to Business Entrepreneurship Workshop hosted by US Small Business Administration – Small Business Legacy Summit, The Urban League of Philadelphia and The Philadelphia Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program.
In 2013, Mike was the keynote speaker for “Growing our Local Living Economies – From Ideas to Action” summit in Jersey City, NJ – job creation through entrepreneurial clustering initiatives, Second Edition of Philadelphia CityAge: The New American City conference on “The New Manufacturing: America’s Urban Industrial Renaissance”, The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce’s State of Manufacturing, and delivered the June 15, 2013 commencement ceremony keynote address for the University of Phoenix Philadelphia campus.
In 2012, he was a panelist on “Keeping America Competitive: Addressing the Skills Gap in Manufacturing” at the Society for Human Resource Management
(“SHRM”)’s Worldwide Conference and Exposition, an event co-sponsored by SHRM and U.S. Department of Labor. He served as keynote speaker for the Philadelphia Chapter of The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, a group dedicated to cultivating students with an entrepreneurial spirit. He testified as a roundtable panelist for “The Future of Employment for People with the Most Significant Disabilities” before the United State Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and the U.S. Department of Labor – Office of Disability Employment Policy.
In November 2011, he was the keynote speaker at the New Mexico Business Leadership Network (“NMBLN”)’s 5th Annual Employer Training. The symposium was titled “Disability at Work”. He has been an entrepreneurial presenter at The Wharton School graduate business course on Entrepreneurship in 2000; the Michigan State University School of Packaging, undergraduate course in Packaging Economics (2002, 2003, and 2004); and Philadelphia University’s MBA Program in fall of 2010. He has also addressed free enterprise at the City of Chester, PA Micro-enterprise Center (2003) and small business technology integration at the Pennsylvania Minority Business Development Center (2004).
Mike served as a United States Army Officer in the Persian Gulf War, where he received the Bronze Star. He is Airborne and Ranger certified. Prior to UP, he worked at Pfizer, Wyeth Laboratories (nka: Pfizer), and Westvaco (nka: WestRock). He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania – The Wharton School and the University of Michigan Law School.
He is originally from West Philadelphia and was raised in Lansdowne, PA, and currently resides in Philadelphia.