National packaging foundation awards R. David LeButt Educational Award to RIT professor

Karen Proctor recognized for academic excellence and advancing industry research




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Karen Proctor was awarded the R. David LeButt Packaging Education award at this year’s International Safe Transit Association annual TransPack Forum.

Karen Proctor, professor at Rochester Institute of Technology, was awarded the R. David LeButt Packaging Education award at this year’s International Safe Transit Association annual TransPack Forum. The event took place April 7-10 in Orlando, Fla.

A professor of packaging science in RIT’s College of Applied Science and Technology, Proctor was presented the award in recognition of her dedication to the field and outstanding contribution to educating the next generation of packaging professionals during her career. Named after David LeButt, a longtime member of the association, and given to both academic and industry packaging professionals, it exemplifies the industry’s recognition of packaging education to serve companies and the future of the profession.

“We are pleased to honor Karen’s dedication to the packaging industry by awarding her with this well-deserved 2015 R. David LeButt Education Award,” said ISTA President Ed Church. “With her many years of very active involvement with ISTA’s activities including her strong contribution to our Responsible Packaging by Design process standard, Karen epitomizes Dave’s commitment to the importance of educating the next generation of packaging professionals.”

Proctor, who has been a part of the RIT faculty since 1983, served for several years as RIT’s packaging science department chair for both its graduate and undergraduate programs and collaborated with department faculty to develop different courses and leading aspects of its sustainability focus. Her areas of expertise include distribution, process control, sustainable packaging innovation and packaging at the point-of-purchase. She integrates many of her corporate experiences into the classroom and has been instrumental in supporting corporations in developing their sustainable packaging initiatives.

“This award is quite prestigious in our packaging community. I was surprised I received it because there are so many really great people in our field. It is an award professionals acknowledge to a peer. That’s why this is so amazing to me,” she said.

Prior to coming to RIT, Proctor was a packaging professional at both the Xerox and Amway corporations. During an RIT sabbatical in 2006, she returned to Corporate America served as director of Homecare Packaging for Colgate-Palmolive and was a member of its Sustainable Packaging Taskforce working with the team to develop its Global Sustainable Packaging Strategy.

Proctor is an active member of many packaging professional associations, including the American Society for Testing and Materials, Institute of Packaging Professionals, International Association of Packaging Research Institutions, International Safe Transit Association, National Institute of Packaging, Handling and Logistics Engineers and Women in Packaging.

Most recently, Proctor co-presented an interdisciplinary course, Packaging Design, with Alex Lobos, associate professor of industrial design, and Lorrie Frear, associate professor of graphic design. Both are faculty from RIT’s College of Imaging Arts and Sciences. During the course, design teams with students from each of the packaging, industrial design and graphic design programs rework current product packaging for top brands such as Wegmans, Sun and Colgate-Palmolive. They are required to produce new designs, to incorporate sustainable materials and determine cost-effective package shipping alternatives that the companies could eventually use.

About ISTA: International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) is an organization focused on the specific concerns of transport packaging and our mission is to develop and deliver standards, educational programs and tools for the economic, social and environmental optimization of packaging systems. ISTA pioneered the concept of package performance testing and certification over 60 years ago and today our test procedures, standards and certification programs are at the forefront of Responsible Transport Packaging. ISTA members include shippers who manufacture and distribute products, carriers who provide the distribution means, organizations that supply packaging materials and services, and testing laboratories that perform packaged-product performance tests.

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Karen Proctor was awarded the R. David LeButt Packaging Education award at this year’s International Safe Transit Association annual TransPack Forum.