Don received his award for service to and investment in the fats and oils industry.
Don joined Gardner Smith in 1951 and in 1964. Charles Gardner gave him the opportunity to buy a controlling interest and from then he remained Managing Director until 1993. He was Chairman of the Board until 2007 and he remained as a nonexecutive director until his retirement in October 2009.
In the 1960s with Gardner Smith’s position in the Australian market firmly established, Don actively pursued opportunities for expansion into overseas markets. He travelled extensively to countries such as Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, India, South Africa and East Africa to promote the company and Australian products, particularly fats and oils, and establish business relationships.
Don encouraged continued expansion into bulk liquid storage and by 1970, with the valued assistance of John Tranter, who at the time was Victorian Manager and Company Director, terminals had been established in Melbourne, Brisbane, Fremantle and Adelaide then Devonport soon followed.
In the early 1980s Don identified China as a developing market and arranged a company trade mission. He was responsible for continuing expansion during the 1980s with offices and terminals established in Singapore, New Zealand, UK and South Africa.
In 2004 Don Seaton was presented with an Australian Export Hero Award by the Australian Institute of Export.