2011 Hall of Fame : David Pitts – With Intellect and Intensity

David Pitts of Classic Graphics poses with a trout he caught while enjoying one of his favorite pastimes. (Double click photos to enlarge.)

David Pitts and wife Wend take time to pause and refresh during a cooking class in Italy.

David Pitts and his wife in Rome.

In all likelihood, David Pitts will never win the Mr. Congeniality phase of a contest among printing industry executives. After all, the man describes himself as a “stick in the mud kind of guy.”

OK, so Pitts, the president of Charlotte, NC-based Classic Graphics, has no future as a Wal-mart greeter. Who cares? He is one of the most respected Xs and Os executives from a technical standpoint. Pitts, who co-founded Classic 
Graphics—a commercial, direct mail and financial printing specialist—along with longtime partner and friend Bill Gardner, also had the good fortune of starting his company at the beginning of what would become the nation’s longest and most significant economic expansion.

It says more about what kind of person Pitts is when he is quick to defer much of the credit for Classic’s success to his partner. And Pitts’ willingness to share his vast knowledge base with clients and fellow printers only solidifies his worthiness as a 2011 inductee into the Printing Impressions/RIT Printing Industry Hall of Fame.

Make no mistake about it; Pitts has wielded much influence over the success of Classic Graphics, which opened to $65,000 in overflow work in 1983 and has since catapulted to more than $50 million in annual sales. Between them, Pitts and Gardner have been able to effectively communicate their strategy and vision for Classic.

“Financial discipline is a big thing for me,” Pitts says. “When we started the company, I had never seen a P&L statement, never seen a balance sheet. But, because I am very interested in that side of the business, over the years I’ve gotten really good at budgeting and at understanding the cost drivers. We’ve managed in the last five to six years to understand that making a profit is not optional. When things change that endanger that goal, we fix them.”

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