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Donald Duncanson -- A Self-made Man

September 2001

When you page through Donald Duncanson's long list of industry accomplishments, it's hard to imagine he ever thought of himself as an underachiever.

At age 61, Duncanson is the co-founder and chairman of Dynacolor Graphics, a successful, $9.6 million commercial printing operation in Miami. He also is the founder of the Graphics of Americas trade show. A longtime member and past chairman of NAPL's board of directors, as well a member of several of the association's board committees, he also serves on the board of the Graphic Arts Show Co. and Graphic Arts Research & Education Foundation, and is a member of NAPL's Soderstrom Society.

And if that wasn't enough, Duncanson has been the recipient of numerous printing awards from the Printing Association of Florida. But he's not through adding to that impressive list just yet. He now has the honor of being inducted into the 2001 Printing Impressions/RIT Printing Industry Hall of Fame.

With such an impressive resume of industry accolades and achievements, it's difficult to believe that Duncanson once thought that he might not amount to much in life.

"I had a teacher tell me that I shouldn't bother with college because it would be a waste of my time," remembers Duncanson.

So after graduation at the age of 17, Duncanson enlisted in the U.S. Navy. "I didn't really know what I wanted to do. I thought that the Navy might help me find some direction in my life." For the next three years, Duncanson served as a clerk typist on an aircraft carrier.

A Family to Support
After finishing his tour of duty, a jobless Duncanson returned to his hometown of Hollywood, FL, with his young wife—high school sweetheart Elaine—his one-year-old son and another baby on the way.

"Everyone told me to stay in the Navy because there was no work locally. I came home any way," he notes.

The only work he could find was as a truck driver for a small printing company, which required that he also do some part-time work in the print shop's bindery department.

"I didn't have a clue what a bindery department was, but I took the job. I was in the bindery for five months, but I just about quit because the boss I had was a ruthless type of guy," claims Duncanson.

In fact, Duncanson had even accepted a job with a different company, but at the last moment decided to stay. "I thought that I could learn a trade, so I decided to stick with it," he remarks.


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