2010 Hall of Fame: Ed Garvey – All the Right Moves

Ed Garvey, president and CEO of Niles, IL-based The Garvey Group.

Ed Garvey stands with his daughters, from the left, Sarah, Meaghan and Caitlin.

When the weather turns warm, you’ll often find Ed Garvey at the golf course. And sometimes, he takes his game to the dinner table.

There are those people who look at the successful innovations of the past 10 to 15 years—many of them Internet related—and snap their fingers wistfully. Simple concepts, one and all, yet precious few people have the prescient confidence and stomach to follow through on them.

Well, the printing industry has long demanded that its members invest in a crystal ball, or become mind readers/prognosticators, in order to remain viable over a long period of time. Sure, only a few people are able to hit upon the next big thing and earn a king’s ransom in the process. But many printers have guessed/speculated/prognosticated incorrectly when it comes to selecting the technologies that will benefit their customers, and themselves, in the long run. And, their king’s ransom turned into a bankruptcy sale.

But, for those who follow technology closely, stay in-tune with their customers’ needs and correctly gauge the market(s) course, there’s the opportunity to live to see another quarterly report.

Ed Garvey hasn’t squeaked through with Forrest Gump-ish fortune floating on the whims of a wind-blown feather. The president and CEO of Niles, IL-based The Garvey Group—fresh out of college in 1978—took the helm of his family-owned business following the sudden death of his father, and has transformed it from a $1.2 million business forms provider with about a dozen employees to a $40 million performer employing 175 people in four locations.

Garvey has developed a knack for making all of the right calls and folding his hand when necessary, making him printing’s equivalent of poker pro Johnny Chan. It’s also earned the suburban Chicago native a spot in the 2010 Printing Impressions/RIT Printing Industry Hall of Fame.

“It’s important to realize the fact that things are going to change constantly,” notes Garvey. “You have to get in early enough on new business opportunities so that the changes you make can meet the demand that exists in the market. If you end up being late, then you’re playing catch up and have lost the opportunity to gain market share. And, once you’ve made up your mind on which direction to take, then maintain the focus and determination to say, ‘I’m going to take this path, because it’s the right path to follow.’ “

Related story: Ed Garvey, The Garvey Group, 2010 HOF Speech

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