DON WALSWORTH III -- Selling Peace of Mind
"We provide sheetfed, web and digital printing. Most of our information comes in as PDF files. We're encouraging our schools to submit all of their copy as PDF files, and it's a big challenge to stay up with technology. The key word for us, again, is to simplify the process. We have 29 programmers working in our Kansas City office, doing nothing but taking existing programs and making them more customer-friendly. I think we're accomplishing that."
Walsworth stresses the importance of reminding employees how valued they are for their contributions to the final product—an aspect of employee relations that he feels is often overlooked. Bringing down the corporate barriers even more is the Walsworth Community Center in Marceline, and the company is also a major sponsor of the Brookfield YMCA.
A strong presence in his community, Walsworth has also served as mayor of Marceline.
"I love everything about my job," Walsworth remarks. "I've never considered retirement and don't plan to. I still find it challenging because of the nature of what we do.
"We've been innovative in various technologies. We've been pioneers in many different areas: page pagination, complete pagination, eight-up film, computer-to-plate and now computer-to-press. We've been innovators, not followers. We maintain an entrepreneurial atmosphere here. We're somewhat of a risk taker, but we want the rewards, too."
Having bolstered the company's leap from a mom-and-pop operation to a 1,500-employee-strong organization with a startup company in Scotland and a publishing company in Virginia Beach, there are ample reasons for Walsworth to be proud. "What I'm most proud of is how the employees of our organization have handled change—with enthusiasm, vision and foresight," Walsworth says. "To a lot of companies, change is a bad word. That's not been the case with our company."
An avid golfer who also jogs six miles a day, Walsworth and his wife, Audrey, have three children—Lynn, Ed and Don Jr. Don Jr. spent 14 years on the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) tour.