1998 Hall of Fame--The Son Also Rises
In 1975, Spencer Press added its second and third web presses, a Heidelberg Harris M-110 and another M-1000A. Installed at the dawn of in-line finishing, the M-110 became a gold mine after Spenlinhauer added in-line plow-folding capabilities—a service practically unheard of at the time.
Therein lies John Spenlinhauer's strength: Not only can he recognize value in up-and-coming services and technologies, he can predict the best time to invest in them. The direction he has given Spencer's manufacturing process has earned him a much-deserved spot in the 1998 Printing Impressions/RIT Printing Industry Hall of Fame.
"John is unquestionably one of the smartest guys in the printing business," says Tom Romano, vice president of CRT Associates, a company specializing in retail mail order catalogs, and a longtime customer of Spencer Press. "John has the ability to know when to purchase capital equipment, but more importantly he knows how to pay for it. He's not afraid to grow his business by adding new equipment."
This lack of fear is evident. In 1978, Spenlinhauer shut down Spencer's last sheetfed press. Today, the company operates Heidelberg Harris web presses exclusively, outputting catalogs, inserts and direct mail. The heavy machinery whirring on the shop floor includes an eight-unit M-3000 "Sunday" press, an eight-unit M-1000B, a five-unit M-1000A, a four-unit M-850 and two five-unit M-110Bs. Next year, Heidelberg Web Press will deliver another eight-unit M-3000, and another eight-unit M-3000 will arrive in the year 2000.
Spenlinhauer's foresight has not been limited to presses. In 1984, years before anybody thought to describe prepress as "electronic," Spencer added a Crosfield electronic page makeup system. "We were right out on the front edge with that one," Spenlinhauer boasts.
Spenlinhauer's plans for the future should keep his company on the front edge, but naturally he isn't too keen to share his strategies. He is willing to drop a few hints. He claims that he has signed a confidentiality agreement with four vendors to create a never-seen-before product by June of 1999.