Carlton Highsmith

(Retired) Chairman, President and CEO

Specialized Packaging Group, Inc.

Director, KeyCorp

Carlton is a corporate executive turned entrepreneur. After a 10-year career as an executive with the global packaging firms of Amstar and Rexham, Carlton founded Specialized Packaging Group( SPG), a package design, package engineering & marketing firm in New Haven, Connecticut in 1983.

By 2009, Carlton had built SPG into one of the most innovative designers and largest manufacturers of paperboard packaging for consumer products in North America. His company designed and manufactured packages for some of the world’s leading consumer brands, including Crest, Total, Aqua-Fresh, Ivory Snow, Tide, Cheer, Zip Loc, Snuggle, Bounce, REACH and Irish Spring.

He employed over 600 at design centers and manufacturing facilities in Toronto, Chicago, Cincinnati, Kansas City and 7 other cities across North America. In 2009 Carlton’s company was recognized as the largest minority-owned firm in the State of Connecticut and was also ranked as high as #26 on Black Enterprise Magazine’s prestigious BE 100, an annual list of the largest and most successful black-owned businesses in the United States.

In 2009, Carlton merged his company with PaperWorks Industries, a portfolio company of Sun Capital Partners to form SPG PaperWorks Inc, the third-largest vertically integrated recycled paperboard packaging company in North America. Carlton served as vice chairman of the board of the merged company until his retirement in March 2010.

Carlton served on the board of directors of First Niagara Bank, where he chaired the Nominating and Governance Committee. He also served on the Audit Committee. He was also a member of the board of directors of New Alliance Bank that was acquired by First Niagara in 2011.

Carlton’s other affiliations include: vice-chairman of the board of trustees of Quinnipiac University, where he is a member of the Executive and Personnel Committees; Yale New Haven Hospital Health System board of trustees, where he is a member of the Budget & Finance Committees; Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, where he chairs the Investment Committee; Connecticut Center for Arts & Technology, chairman.

Carlton is a past member of the Boston Federal Reserve’s New England Advisory Board. His term ended in 2014.