September 16, 2019
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Pam Senske honored by Spokesman-Review as a 'Woman of the Year'

A longtime Spokane business leader, Pearson Packaging Systems Board Chair Pam Senske, was honored this weekend as one of The Spokesman-Review's "Women of the Year."

She is the daughter of R.A. “Lefty” Pearson, who founded Pearson Packaging Systems in 1955 to manufacture and market an automated six-pack case erector that he invented for breweries. She would visit the family enterprise as a child and during breaks from college, learning every aspect of the business.

The company retained family ownership after Pearson died in 1971, but there were issues with on-time deliveries amid changes in company leadership. Senske, who had married and moved to Cincinnati, offered to come into the company to talk with managers and get their suggestions.

“So I did that and it was really interesting,” Senske told the newspaper. “I expected to maybe be there for two or three months. Well, it turned out being 30 years... I went out there with an attitude of, ‘I just want to understand what you think and how you think things ought to be done and get people involved in decision-making,’ instead of having (the company) just handed down,” she said. “And, you know, it went really well. People could not have been nicer and more supportive.”

She was part of a 13-person team that studied and applied a system called manufacturing resource planning, which became the framework for the company's current lean manufacturing process.

“When she went out there, things started picking up and it was a totally different company,” said Don Pearson, Senske’s brother. “Integrity, work ethic, fairness and intelligence – she had all those things, and that’s what made it work.”

“When she went out there, things started picking up and it was a totally different company,” said Don Pearson, Senske’s brother. “Integrity, work ethic, fairness and intelligence – she had all those things, and that’s what made it work.”

When the choice came to sell or continue the family business in 1997, Senske asked her son, Michael, if he was interested in leading the company. He became president and CEO in 2003.

Pearson Packaging Systems generates more than $100 million in annual revenue and employs more than 300 people. Pam Senske remains chair of the company's board.

In 2018 AWB gave Pearson Packaging Systems its Manufacturing Excellence Award for Innovation.

(Photo via The Spokesman-Review)

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