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A husband and wife team – what’s the secret to their success!

Updated: Aug 2, 2021


In 1992 Neil Ashton joined Packaging Automation as an Apprentice, today he is Managing Director of this growing family business, working alongside his wife Sam Ashton.


As the granddaughter of Arthur Penn who founded Packaging Automation in 1963, Sam joined Packaging Automation in 1998 before joining the Board of Directors in 2012. Sam is our Commercial Director.


Successful family businesses involve a delicate balance of sound business practices and family relationships so let’s find out how it works for our husband and wife team….



We asked Sam, what’s it really like working with family?


Here’s what she said: “Neil and I we have a shared passion for the business and enjoy working together to achieve the same goal. We can empathise with each other – when one of us is struggling the other can understand fully the context and be there to support or just to listen.


On the flip side, you can’t always switch off, it’s easy to talk about work most of the time! It also means you can bring a bad day home with you and sometimes that can affect home life.”


We asked Neil, has it been helpful working together during the global pandemic?


This was Neil’s answer: “Yes, although it hasn’t really changed the working relationship, but it has had the benefit of us both being in the same bubble for face to face work meetings.

As you can imagine when the pandemic hit, we had a lot to work out as a business, dealing with something completely new and unexpected and trying to work out how to keep our business operating but at the same time keeping our colleagues, customers and partners all safe. This, of course, added additional stresses to our working day. Knowing what each other is going through really means we can be there to support each other. “


Sam also commented: “For some people working together can be impossible but for us it works really well. We have very different strengths so as a team we complement each other very well and we always stick to our own areas!”


Sound advice there from Sam and our thanks to them both for their candid responses and giving us a brief insight into their working relationship.


Coming next in our Family Affair series: Andy and Ellis Gee, a father and son story…




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