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Rochester Top 100: Investments result in growth for Victor firm

Rochester Business Journal
August 15, 2014

(Photo by Kimberly McKinzie)

Roughly 15 years ago, Leon Jensen needed a packager that could develop a product his firm could use to preserve aircraft engines.

An acquaintance suggested that Jensen, chairman and CEO of Georgia-based Controlled Environment Packaging Inc., contact William Smith, president and CEO of Heritage Packaging in Victor.

Not only did Smith develop a product that Jensen and his customers were able to use—and continue to use—but that product cemented a long-term customer-supplier relationship.

“Bill Smith is a modest man, and he may not like me saying this but he possesses packaging knowledge and expertise bordering on genius when it comes to design and problem solving on challenging assignments,” Jensen said.

Investing in new equipment and product development and having a talented workforce have been the keys to success at Heritage Packaging, Smith said.

“I believe that we have developed an organization that now allows us to efficiently process current orders while simultaneously innovating new products and developing new business with customers far and near,” he said.

He and his wife, Kristin—who both have degrees in education—started the firm in 1990. Kristin Smith is the vice president and chief financial officer, and the couple’s three sons work there, too. Russell Smith is a packaging engineer, Evan Smith is the controller, and Peter Smith runs one of the firm’s product lines.

In its early years, Heritage Packaging had a smaller staff and got most of its work from area distributors and other converters.

Roughly 10 years ago, the company decided it needed to promote itself more directly to a wider audience. It created a sales and marketing plan, launched a website and began reaching out nationally to prospective customers. The firm invested in new equipment while adding to its workforce.

“The growth that we have achieved during the past few years is the return on those investments, coupled with the ongoing relationships maintained with our traditional and more local customers,” Smith said.

The company has 41 employees and also uses temporary workers. Full-time employment has ranged from 35 to 42 since 2010.

Sales have grown and were up 46 percent in 2013 compared with 2010.

Even with a less than robust global economy, Smith said, Heritage Packaging is positioned for growth. The firm excels at export packaging products and at protective packaging for industry, including customers in the aerospace, military, medical-pharmaceutical, agriculture-chemical and governmental markets.

The firm offers in-stock products for immediate delivery and also handles made-to-order business.

The company is developing products for lining containers used to hold dry flowable materials, such as pelletized resins, fertilizers and medicinal powders, which must be protected from moisture vapor during storage and transport.

“Our diversification in numerous markets with varying requirements that all fit within our manufacturing capabilities provide us with a bright outlook on the future,” Smith said.

One of the biggest challenges for the company is meeting cost-cutting pressures from corporate customers while incurring never-ending cost increases, Smith said.

To help meet the challenge, the company looks to innovation. Heritage Packaging looks for efficiencies and updates technologies and makes process improvements to cut costs.

Jensen of Controlled Environment Packaging said Heritage employees are dedicated to producing high-quality products and ensuring customer satisfaction.

“Heritage is a company with integrity and one that has earned my complete trust,” he said.

The Rochester Top 100 program is presented by the Rochester Business Alliance Inc. and KPMG LLP. Launched in 1987, it recognizes the fastest-growing private companies in Greater Rochester. This year’s Rochester Top 100 event will be held Nov. 5. For more information, go to

Heritage Packaging
Flexible packaging materials converter and designer
Year founded: 1990
Top executive: William Smith, president and CEO
Employees: 41
2013 ranking: 23
Location: Victor, Ontario County

8/15/14 (c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email

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