2011 Hall of Fame: Ken Kaufman - From Publisher to PrinterSeptember 2011 By Erik Cagle
The path taken to the printing industry can often be a fascinating journey. For some, it is steeped in family tradition, a passing of the torch. And for others, the love of printing was first kindled by an elective course taken in high school. Then there are those for whom a career in printing was more of an accident than a predestined fate; a random, detoured route to success as opposed to a paved path to a preordained promised land.
In the end, we only have the results to judge and, suffice to say, Ken Kaufman made a number of bold and pivotal decisions whenever a choice between A, B and C confronted him. Those critical thinking skills served him well, and on the 40th anniversary of the birth of Kaufman's constantly evolving printing company, it is only fitting that he takes a spot alongside the 2011 Printing Impressions/RIT Printing Industry Hall of Fame induction class.
Kaufman, 70, president of Corporate Press of Lanham, MD, was likely ticketed for greatness regardless of his vocation, but the stars just happened to align in favor of printing. Despite the fact that he had attained an undergraduate degree and earned his masters in a largely unrelated field, Kaufman went about learning the ins and outs of printing from the ground up.
Truth be known, he knew very little about the profession when he opened Newsletter Services (NSI) in 1971, but was astute to surround himself with skilled craftsmen. Forty years later, Kaufman more than knows his way around a shop floor, where he can be frequently found.
"I'm not a micromanager. I expect people to do their jobs, so I'm not going to be on their tails all of the time," he says. "Unless they let me down, I let my managers manage. I give them their leeway. Also, I do make it a point to go out at least twice a day and talk to our employees, talk about their problems and what's going on in their lives."
Kaufman was born and raised in and around the Washington, DC, area, experiencing what he termed a "very normal" childhood. He graduated with a business degree from Miami (OH) University, then enrolled at Northwestern, where he earned a masters degree in journalism.
Since Washington, DC, was and still is the political capital of the universe, Kaufman served a six-month stretch in the U.S. Army before embarking on a career as a writer.