A trio of Future Trailblazers were celebrated at Packaging Innovations & Empack 2024 for their contribution to the future of packaging.

One of the winners was Abigail Sawyer-Parker, a packaging technologist at ProAmpac. Ms Sawyer-Parker has spent the last two years developing flexible paper packaging solutions that merge form and function while minimising environmental impact. She was awarded for her project work on the ProActive Recyclable high barrier paper sachet.

Ms Sawyer-Parker commented on winning the award by saying, ‘I couldn’t have done it without the support and opportunities given to me as part of team ProAmpac.’

She added, ‘I joined the business with very little idea of the role and was quickly allowed to work on a project with complete freedom.

‘When I first joined, flexible paper packaging was quite a new thing for the company, and at the time, I was a technical coordinator, and this project was getting traction. I was lucky enough to get given that project, and in a way, because I was so new to the industry, we had a chance to grow together.’

The other two Future Trailblazer award winners were Lucy Boston, head of marketing and communication at Carlton Packaging and Chris Yapp, director at Tri-Locker.

The award winners were joined on the Circular Economy Stage on the final day of the packaging exhibition by Dani Novick and Ian Roe, directors at Mercury Search and Selection, and Packaging Group at IOM3’s chair, Jude Allan.

Ms Allan stated, ‘We were looking for people who are making a difference; people at different points in the business that don’t necessarily get those moments of recognition. And part of why we wanted to do this is because we must showcase how brilliant packaging is as a career.’

Ms Novick said, ‘We have a very high staff turnover and a very low rate of newcomers. So, to see a panel of three people early on in their career in packaging is so exciting because it’s bringing fresh ideas.’