1998 Hall of Fame–Giving Back to The Industry
“I just have ink in my blood, and it hasn’t left since,” Berthelsen admits. “Part of the credit goes to my instructor who was enthusiastic about the graphic arts. And I just thought it was a neat thing to be doing—creating different kinds of works and producing them. The rest is history.”
Berthelsen didn’t know it at the time, but he was just getting his first taste of the industry. He began working for an in-plant printing operation his sophomore year of high school. The following year, Berthelsen and a school chum purchased an old duplicator and started their own company.
As a senior, Berthelsen participated in the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America (VICA) and was the national first place winner in its U.S. Skill Olympics.
After graduating from high school, Berthelsen proceeded to learn as much as he could about the industry. He worked at small printing companies in Albert Lea and Red Wing, MN, and in Sioux Falls, SD. During that period he worked in all phases of the printing process, including typesetting, camera, film assembly, small presswork and the bindery. Berthelsen then concentrated on the prepress process and became a journeyman stripper. He was prep department supervisor at Modern Press in Sioux Falls.
“Learning all the phases certainly gives you a base of experience and production knowledge,” Berthelsen adds. “I have done everything, from composition and typesetting through bindery and finishing work, so it gave me a greater understanding of the whole process. The broader your knowledge, the better prepared you are to meet the challenges that can come up: production, planning and running a business.”
He landed at Suttle Press in 1979, a period that began considerable ascension. He became general manager that year and was named president of the company just two years later. In 1985, Berthelsen became a part-owner.