Laura Colton-Smith celebrates 20 years with Colton Packaging

Colton Whitew Line

This week we’re celebrating a very special milestone within the business, as we reflect on the twenty-year anniversary of our Managing Director, Laura Colton-Smith, joining the company.

From her fledgling years with us, starting in 2003, to progressing through the ranks and becoming Managing Director in 2021, Laura’s meteoric rise through the business is a real success story.

One of Laura’s many strengths as a Managing Director is her knowledge of almost every role within the company – following stints within administration, sales and logistics roles. During her two-decade progression, she has also had the benefit of learning from an expert of the packaging industry – her father and former Colton Packaging Managing Director, Jonathan Colton.

To mark this very special milestone, who better to sit down with us and reflect on Laura’s journey than Jonathan himself, as he talks us through Laura’s early years with the business before her eventual step up in recent years as the figurehead that will take the business into its next exciting chapter.

Star qualities shone through early

“Laura joined the business in December 2003 after deciding that a career in the fashion industry in London was not quite right for her,” explains Jonathan.

“She started out as a sales administrator under the tutelage of Antony Wilkinson – a long-serving member of the team. This role really suited Laura’s methodical and organized personality, which I always saw as being one of her core strengths,”

“In June 2006, Laura started a new role as trainee sales executive and spent the following eighteen months further developing her skills and experience within this role. This customer-facing sales role was made permanent in January 2008 and I think Laura quickly began to understand how difficult it can be to win new business in this industry. But with perseverance, and her ever–present resilience and can-do attitude, she was successful and managed to cultivate her own healthy portfolio of customers,”

Succession planning in full swing

Jonathan saw plenty of star qualities in Laura as she continued her progression and felt in 2015, that the time was right for her to take the next step on her career path as his mind turned to a long-term succession plan.

“Laura was appointed as a company director in January 2015 and, with the future in mind, became Operations Director two years later,” adds Jonathan.

“Her new role saw her take over the management of the warehouse and logistics at our Sileby and Wigston sites, following the acquisition of Case and Container. Her responsibilities covered staff supervision, compliance, IT, vehicle management and building maintenance. She really rose to the challenge – carefully overseeing the move out of Wigston by the end of 2018,”

“At the same time, we sold our Teesside branch, alongside my interest in another packaging company, as part of our long-term plan to focus on one East Midlands location. We purchased our new Loughborough site in 2019 and gained possession when the previous tenants vacated at the end of 2020,”

Jonathan had one final project in mind for Laura to manage before her eventual step up to Managing Director, as he goes on to explain.

“As I approached retirement age, Laura took charge of the refurbishment project at Hockey Close, which was carried out in the first quarter of 2021. This was a significant project which required precise planning and people management and I was pleased to leave virtually all of the work to her. She handled everything perfectly. She also oversaw the business move whilst we continued to trade – which is no mean feat because you not only have to handle the logistics of the move, but also keep people happy and ensure that customers don’t experience any drop in service,”

“Following all of this, Laura successfully assumed the role of Managing Director in May 2021 as I took a step back and handed over the reins. Laura is passionate about how we can always continue to improve our standards right across the company, while creating a happy and successful working environment that strongly invests in our staff and working assets. Her people are a big focus for her and she has everyone’s best interests at heart,”

“After 20 years in the business, Laura can be very proud of her achievements and look forward optimistically to the future – which I am confident will be both exciting and bright for her and the wider team at Colton Packaging. Here’s to the next 20 years, Laura!”

Posted on: 11 December 2023
Posted in: Company News

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