Branch-Smith Printing -- Branching Out
by chris bauer
Some might not give a printing company launched in 1910 by a man with no arms much of a chance to succeed. Yet that is just how Fort Worth, TX-based Branch-Smith Printing got its start—and the company continues to keep a strong hold on its loyal customers and its own rigorous standards of performance and quality.
|Branch-Smith founder Aaron Smith managed to do what some would call impossible—including writing and typing with his toes and starting a successful printing business.|
Although company founder Aaron Smith was born with no arms, he learned to write and type with his toes and worked as an editor of the Weatherford Democrat. He began his professional life by earning an attorney's certificate in 1889. In his mold, the company continued to grow—and did not let obstacles detour its road to success.
By 1954, Smith Printing was incorporated as Branch-Smith Printing, to reflect Aaron's daughter Carrie Beth and her husband Oscar Branch, who were involved in the business. It remains a family affair to this day—now in its fourth generation.
Today, the 70-employee, $10 million company, which provides full-service printing for corporate and publication customers and specializes in bound materials such as magazines, directories, catalogs and books, is led by descendant and President David Branch.
As proud as Branch is of his family's long-running company, he recently got something else to smile about. In November, President George W. Bush and Commerce Secretary Don Evans named Branch-Smith Printing the recipient of the 2002 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.
The coveted Baldrige Award is the nation's premier award for performance excellence and quality achievement. Branch-Smith was recognized in the small business category; two other winners were named in the categories of manufacturing and healthcare.
"We are incredibly honored to receive this award," comments Branch. "But I have to tell you, in no way did my management team or I do it alone. Every day when we come in the door, we work with a dedicated group of highly professional employees. Their commitment to understanding our customers' needs, fulfilling our role in helping our clients meet their goals, and in delivering a superior product are what makes us successful. I am proud to share this award with them."