The Mid-American Group and
Gaylord Container Corp., Des Moines
Marvin Pomerantz was the son of Polish immigrants who felt that education was the key to reaping the benefits of the American way of life. He proved their case.
Born in 1930 in Des Moines, Pomerantz started working at his father’s bag company when he was 16 and continued to work there during his college years. After he earned a degree in commerce from the University of Iowa in 1952 he returned to Des Moines and the family business.
In 1961 Pomerantz started his first company, Great Plains Bag Corp. and ten years later merged it with Continental Can Corporation. He worked his way through the ranks at Continental before leaving to join International Harvester in Chicago as president of the Diversified Group.
In 1985 Pomerantz returned to the paper business. He began Mid-American Packaging, which evolved into Gaylord Container Corporation after a series of acquisitions and business dealings. By 1988 he built it into a Fortune 500 company with sales of $671 million. He served as chairman and CEO until he sold the company in 2002 and finally retired from the pulp and paper industry.
In the early 1960s Pomerantz had also formed Mid-American Realty, which would eventually become part of Mid-American Group, a holding company for various business interests. The company became a leader in commercial development and residential communities. By 1990 this company would control over one million square feet of industrial space and close to a million square feet of office space. Pomerantz continues to serve as Chairman and CEO.
Like his parents Pomerantz has a strong belief in education. As president and member of the Iowa Board of Regents he helped reshape higher education in the state. In 1995 the Des Moines school board honored the lifelong education advocate in naming the Marvin Pomerantz Learning Center at Walnut Street School.