A Quiet Generosity Toward All –Cagle

Harry V. Quadracci was laid to rest August 2 in a nondescript wooden coffin fashioned by Iowan monks, wearing his Quad/Graphics embroidered work shirt. He was, by all accounts, anything but pedestrian, as evidenced by the 2,000 or so family, friends, employees, customers and business associates who packed the Basilica of St. Josaphat in Milwaukee to say goodbye to the man who exemplified privately owned, small-business success on a larger scale.

Quadracci was closer to P.T. Barnum than Joe Average. At company functions, particularly Christmas parties, he could be seen riding a motorcycle, an elephant or horse onto the stage. He once walked across a high wire connected above a factory floor. Fortunately for the commercial printing industry, he never ran away to join the circus.

“Along the way,” says Rivello, “he made many people successful in this business. He just believed in the American way. That’s what building a business is all about.”

He knew a thing or two about building a business, and wasn’t afraid about anticipating new accounts, as evidenced by his “Ready, fire, aim,” mentality, according to Rivello.

“He’d buy two presses and say, ‘We’ll go out and get the business later,’ ” Rivello relates. “He believed you get good people and good equipment, then let them go to work. I’ve seen printing plants all over the world, and they’re the best in the game.”


Quad/Graphics is not a publicity hound. With the exception of an occasional press release regarding expansion, there is no news. But little is ever made of the company’s sterling treatment of its employees. The Lomira plant that suffered through a destructive fire only two-plus weeks before Quadracci’s passing boasted a child care center, medical and dental clinics, a pharmacy and fitness center—all on-site. It underscores the “quiet generosity” Rivello saw. Fortune magazine named the company to its list of “100 Best Companies to Work for in America.”

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