Growing up with a father who started out as a toolmaker in the food and beverage industry, for Lisa D'Arcy-Burt, meant looking at bottle designs was second nature. The same goes for opening the fridge to see who made which bottles and how good the designs were. That was her childhood.
Her father, Terry D'Arcy-Burt, founded Solent Mould Tools Ltd. of Waterloovile, England, to supply PET molds for the bottling industry and grew to become a leading supplier to food and beverage companies as well as other sectors, including automotive, marine and aerospace.
Lisa D'Arcy-Burt's childhood fascination continued, but now she is doing more than looking at packages. D'Arcy-Burt, 38, took over as CEO of the company, rebranding to SMT Precision Engineering Ltd., when her father retired in 2016.
She is interested in the sustainability of plastics and how the recycling of a product can be improved to reduce the impact on the environment as well as the use of other products as a substitute and how they react to fluids in them, for example.
"Aside from being a hands-on mum, the acquisition of Solent Mould Tools has been my greatest achievement," she said in her Women Breaking the Mold survey. "To purchase the business from my father, who founded the business in 1985, to not only carry on the family tradition but to excel within the industry and break barriers down within the world of plastics/engineering.
"Owning your own business is like going to school every [day]. You have to learn new skills and adapt daily to meet the needs around you," she added. "Sometimes what you believe is the right decision in hindsight was poor. [Previously] being an account, my practical knowledge within the industry was very little when I took over [the business], which led me to relying on other people. This has taught me I need a good, strong team to support me and we all have different roles to play within the business."
When she started as CEO, the first thing D'Arcy-Burt did was ensure that the staff felt like they were part of a team, and she listened to their thoughts about the business.
"I cannot be a success on my own; it's built with a good team," she said.
D'Arcy-Burt said she definitely looks up to her father: "He started as a toolmaker and founded the business when his employer was relocating — building a business from nothing and continuing to grow by investing in technology and people over the past 30 years."
The CEO said setting aside family time is crucial for work-life balance.
"I would like to ensure that as CEO I leave a business that has good foundations for people to build their dreams and for customers to receive the best quality product," she said.