William C. Young ’64
Chief Executive Officer, Absopure Water Co. and Plastipak Holdings
College of Engineering & Science
William C. Young ’64 worked at his family’s Absopure Water Company while he studied electrical engineering at University of Detroit. When the plastics industry was growing in the mid-1960s, he and his father, William P. Young, founded Plastipak Packaging in 1967. He later became chairman, chief executive officer and president of the company.
In addition to bottling the company’s water in plastic blow-molded containers, the company manufactures plastic containers for a wide range of products, from beverages and cleaning products to industrial fluids. The company grew with major corporate accounts, including Kraft Foods and Procter & Gamble. In the 1990s, the company expanded to Brazil and Europe, making plastic pre-forms for beverage bottles. In 1998, Young became the chairman, CEO and president of Plastipak Holdings, the parent company.
Today, the company, which is headquartered in Plymouth, Mich., records $2.3 billion in sales and has manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and seven other countries. Young leads several other subsidiaries of Plastipak Holdings and is president of the Young Family Foundation. He is director of Business Leaders for Michigan and a member of the 21st Century Club. In 2008, he was inducted into the Bottled Water Hall of Fame.
Through his personal donations and those of the Young Family Foundation, he has provided scholarship support to numerous area students, including UDM students. He also helped establish the Dollars for Scholars Willow Run/Ypsilanti chapter to assist college-bound students.
As an advocate for higher education, Young served as a member of the Mercy College of Detroit Board of Trustees and was chair of the UDM Board of Trustees, which he has served on since 1990.
Young and his wife, Vivienne, reside in Ypsilanti, Mich.
Below is an excerpt from William Young’s remarks upon accepting his award at the Spirit of UDM: Alumni Achievement Awards, April 11, 2014. View a video of his remarks and those of the other awardees.
“I’m most humbled for your conveyance of this meaningful award. To be honored among this most impressive group of accomplished alumni is beyond
my total comprehension. To all honorees, please accept my congratulations for your contributions and life achievements.
Looking back, my future preparation for business and technical challenges came from the positive experiences that allowed me as a student to breathe in the influence of caring professors, campus leaders and fellow students. This allowed me to build self-confidence, whereby respected individuals believed in me. This, in turn, enabled me to believe in myself, which is essential for a constructive and happy life.
The respect for a UDM degree has grown and will become more in demand as this city of Detroit transforms into the comeback city of this great United States.
Thanks to all of you for affording me this very, very special honor.”