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Youthful Pacepacker talent bag two PPMA 2014 accolades

A compact team of just 19 employees, Pacepacker Services proved that it’s competing in the big league at the 2014 PPMA awards, especially when it comes to investing in young talent. Andrew Lufkin’s contribution to the ongoing success of the Essex-based company was acknowledged, with the dedicated 23-year-old scooping the Apprentice of the Year accolade. The following evening, the spotlight turned to Pacepacker’s Sales & Marketing Co-ordinator Andreas Fantousi, who received the bronze trophy in the PPMA Ones to Watch award sponsored by Festo.

Seeing off strong competition, Andrew was praised by the esteemed judging panel for “his willingness to share his skills and knowledge and involve others in his training.” Since joining the company over three years ago, the apprentice engineer has played an integral role in helping Pacepacker – who manufacture bagging, robot palletising and pick and place equipment – improve workflow by 20%, and increasing the volume of parts orders by 38% within 12 months. Andrew’s job involves facilitating parts orders, managing stock in-take for machine builds, and building sub-assemblies for two of Pacepacker’s packing systems. He’s juggled this on-the-job learning with completing a one year City & Guilds level 2 certificate in Engineering (manufacturing technology), and is currently studying the two year level 3 course with Colchester Institute.

Machine uptime is vital to our high volume packing customers highlights managing director Dennis Allison, who takes a keen interest in Andrew’s personal and professional development. “From the outset, Andrew grasped our drive for 100% customer satisfaction, and made a difference across all three work areas. Because of his ‘can-do’ attitude, within a year he was assembling parts for both our sack placing machines and robot end effector hands.” Assembly supervisor and Andrew’s mentor, Robin describes him as a “natural engineer”.

Pacepacker’s other rising star, Andreas, joined Pacepacker in 2010 through the University of Essex’s Graduate Internship Scheme. Earning the bronze accolade in the PPMA’s Ones to Watch competition, the 26-year-old is credited by Dennis for overhauling the quotations process and introducing data controls to benchmark performance.

Ecstatic to discover he had won the national PPMA Apprentice of the Year, Andrew comments: “To receive this industry-wide recognition is a great honour and I feel really proud of all that I’ve accomplished in a relatively short space of time. Apprenticeships are an eye opener to the working world: it’s taught me discipline, punctuality, how to prioritise and accountability. The course tutoring and hands on learning have taught me the basics of engineering, which now have become second nature and will stay with me for the rest of my career. The extended draughting skills will also stand me in good stead for a future in engineering. With several of the team approaching retirement age, I’m in a good place to help fill the skills gap and I eventually hope to share my experiences to mentor other young apprentices.” Last year, Andrew won the local Essex Business Awards apprenticeship gong.

Andreas, who receives complimentary Festo training courses valued at £1,000, adds: “It feels great to be recognised by my peers and to be part of the new generation of young people in our rapidly changing automation sector that are making a valuable contribution to the future.”

Who were the judges?
Celebrating excellence and innovation from every corner of the industry, the judging panel the PPMA Group Industry Awards 2014 comprised:

• Gail Hunt – Editor, Machinery Update
• Joe Bush – Editor, Electrical Engineering/Automation
• Charmaine Bowers – Independent Consultant
• Ian Frame – Technical Consultant, PPMA Group
• Dave Hopper – Principal Consultant and Director, Advanced Robotic Technology
• Warren Clark – Publishing Director, IMVE Magazine
• Alan Isaacs – Independent Consultant
• Martin Miller – Independent Consultant

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