carlton highsmithNEW HAVEN: Another accolade is coming to Carlton Highsmith, entrepreneur, non-profit board member and philanthropist are the why the what is The Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council (GNEMSDC) Hall of Fame. Highsmith is being inducted at the West Putnam Club at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts at the Council’s 2018 Business Conference and Expo on Friday September 21, 2018.

Highsmith himself was helped by a business development group years ago in Bridgeport  as we was jus getting started in business. Year’s later when he provided $75,000 in funding he reminded them not to look just at an entreprenuer’s shoes but their passion and intelligence.

GNEMSDC says they “established the Hall of Fame to recognize individuals who have advanced the goals of economic inclusion and minority business development, as well as paying tribute to those who have contributed in meaningful ways to the social and economic advancement of their communities. Furthering the honor Highsmith is GNEMSDC’s inaugural inductee.

In 1983, Highsmith founded Specialized Packaging Group (SPG) in New Haven as a package design and package engineering firm. Highsmith grew SPG to become one of the largest manufacturers of paperboard packaging in North America, designing and producing packaging for some of the world’s most recognizable brands for such consumer products companies as Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, Colgate, Clorox, SC Johnson and Unilever.

In 2009, SPG was recognized as the largest minority-owned firm in the state of Connecticut, with annual revenues of over $180 million. The company ranked as high as #26 on Black Enterprise Magazine’s BE 100, an annual list of the largest and most successful black-owned businesses in the United States. Highsmith has been recognized by Business New Haven as a Businessperson of the Year.

Highsmith retired in 2010 after merging SPG with PaperWorks Industries to form the 3rd largest vertically integrated recycled paperboard packaging company in North America.

Highsmith was major funder of the Connecticut Center for Arts & Technology (ConnCAT) and has served as its board chair since 2012. He is also vice-chair of the board of trustees of Quinnipiac University; a member of the Yale-New Haven Hospital System board of trustees; and a member of the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven board of trustees. Highsmith is on the Board of Director of Key Corp., [Key Bank].

“I’m pleased to accept this recognition from GNEMSDC,” said Highsmith, “and I share their commitment to encouraging and recognizing excellence, perseverance, and inclusive economic opportunity for all.”

GNEMSDC is an affiliate of the National Minority Supplier Development Council. GNEMSDC serves the six New England states and is one of 24 regional councils throughout the United States and its territories. For more information, visit