2013 Hall of Fame : David Pilcher Sr. - Inspiration and ReclamationSeptember 2013 By Erik Cagle, Senior Editor
The practice of letter writing—putting pen to paper, then dispatching the correspondence via a stamp at the local post office—is a dying (if not dead) art form. To a generation that is accustomed to instantaneous information courtesy of texting or social media, the idea of sending a message of importance through the U.S. Postal Service must seem a bit far-fetched.
Truth be known, Mr. ZIP played a pivotal role in breathing new life into the career of David Pilcher Sr.
It was 1980 and Pilcher was a then-13-year veteran of Litho Color Press in Chicago. He had read a fascinating story about one Frank Beddor Jr., whom Pilcher would consider the Donald Trump of printing. Pilcher was in awe of Beddor and wanted to be a part of his growing empire, so he wrote Beddor a letter, asking to be considered for a position within his organization.
Beddor's reply was succinct: "Looks interesting, let's meet, thanks a million."
Pilcher, for one, was eternally grateful for the meeting. It would set him on a path that would one day lead him to acquire Freeport Press in tiny Freeport, OH, and embark upon one of the most illustrious and remarkable turnarounds the printing industry has seen in the last 20 years. It would also earn him a place alongside 1987 inductee Beddor as a member of the 2013 Printing Impressions/RIT Printing Industry Hall of Fame class.
As for the interview, the pair met on a Wednesday and Beddor was impressed enough to offer Pilcher a job on the spot…and ask him to start on Friday. Under Beddor, he became adept at overseeing the construction of new printing facilities with highly efficient workflows. Pilcher worked on the design of two plants: The Printer of Minnesota and The Press of Ohio, operating out of a construction trailer, hiring staff and ramping up with equipment.
"I had the unique privilege of being able to be involved in any meeting, on any subject, at any one of Frank's 10 manufacturing facilities or the partnerships," Pilcher explains. "It was an unbelievable opportunity for me. Frank was a peer of (Harry) Quadracci; they each evolved in their own ways."