If you’re serving time in prison or going through cancer treatments, a day or even an hour might seem like a long time. But just living and working day-to-day, it’s shocking how fast 10 years can go by.

That’s just what has happened. Blink…and they’re gone.

The first issue of Flexible Packaging magazine was published in April 1999, back when 17-year-old Brittany Spears released her first single record and T.V. audiences thrilled in anticipation at the words “Is that your final answer?” on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.”

To celebrate our 10th Anniversary, we went on a trip down memory lane. Terrorism, hurricanes and economic roller coasters come to mind, but this was also the time of TiVo and the hope of unprecedented medical advance as researchers finished mapping the human genome.

This same decade saw a renewed interest in protecting our lands and resources. Environmental activism took on a new moniker: sustainability. Companies targeted cost savings by cutting waste and consumers began to consider what happens to what’s left after they consume.

Gearless presses and electronic controls revolutionized printing and converting operations. Flexographic market share soared and stand-up pouches proliferated.

Not all developments were so dramatic, though. Many more evolutionary steps in flexible packaging technologies continued to help you innovate and improve efficiencies. My theory is that, when all added up, these evolutions are really quite revolutionary over time.

Come for a stroll! Our Timeline of Innovations in Flexible Packaging is on pages 22-23. But let your fingers do the walking, too. A greatly expanded and interactive version of the Timeline exists on our website at www.flexpackmag.com.

While it’s fun and educational to look back, our focus is on what’s coming in the next 10 years. Later this year, in our August issue, we’ll invite the brightest minds in flexible packaging to share their Vision of the Future. I’m sure their ideas will be enlightening and entertaining.