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IWD2021 - Sam's story

In celebration of International Women’s Day and to celebrate the achievements and successes of our female team we took some time to interview them about their careers.


This is Sam’s story...



Sam Ashton is the grand-daughter of Arthur Penn who founded Packaging Automation in 1963. She joined Packaging Automation in 1998 before joining the Board of Directors in 2012. Sam is Commercial Director.






Q. Please can you tell us a little about your experience/career history in the manufacturing sector?


When I completed my degree in Engineering, I joined Lucas Aerospace Aircraft Components as a graduate. I then had a brief spell in the service sector before I came to Packaging Automation in 1998 and have been here ever since.


Q. What is it like working in a male-dominated environment?


To be honest, it’s what I know, I don’t particularly notice it being a male dominated business especially as we have such great equal representation on the Management Team.


Q. Have you had to overcome any difficulties throughout your career?


In any business the culture and processes are different, and Packaging Automation is no exception. When I first arrived here, I had to become familiar with these practices just like everyone else. Maybe I had a slight advantage as it’s a family business so I already knew some of the team and a little bit about the business, but that can bring its own challenges too.


Q. Have you developed any specific skills?


I was lucky that the business supported me to complete my accountancy qualifications. In a short period of time and through hard work, I was able to qualify and whilst It’s not something I now use on a day to day business, this qualification has been of great benefit.


So, I guess the skills I have developed are obviously accountancy skills, but also business acumen, resilience and ambition which I hope I share with my team at Packaging Automation and encourage and support them to be ambitious too.


We hope you enjoy Sam’s story as much as we have enjoyed interviewing her. We will be hearing more from Sam later this year when we find out more about her engineering background #IWED2021.


Thank you, Sam, for sharing you journey, we are lucky to have you on our team #TeamPA






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