Cream Rises to the Top
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Printing Industry Hall of Fame, which is co-sponsored by Printing Impressions and the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) School of Print Media. Having played a part in the selection process these past two decades, it’s a blur when I think back on all of the industry heavyweights we’ve honored over the years. I fondly recall former powerhouses like Frank Beddor, The Beddor Cos.; Curtis Bourland, Continental Graphics; Quebecor’s Pierre Peladeau; Mark C. Pope III, of Graphic Industries fame; and, of course—among our inaugural class in 1986—the late Harry V. Quadracci, founder of Quad/Graphics, who’s considered by many as printing’s greatest visionary and success story.
Surely, though, there are others that readily come to mind. I’ll forever hold dear such gentlemanly and truly humble figures like inductee Wallace Stettinius, of Cadmus Communications; former Banta CEO Harry Earle; Perry Printing’s Roger Perry; Robert Ott Sr., The Hennegan Co.; and Frank Stillo, of Sandy Alexander. Consummate entrepreneurs included the likes of Ken Field, Continental Web Press; Avanti Press’ Joe Arriola; Consolidated Graphics CEO Joe Davis—arguably the most successful industry consolidator; as well as brothers Nick and Michael Simon, Publishers Printing executives who were inducted on consecutive years.
Proving that one can run a successful printing business and, at the same time, give generous service within industry trade associations are the likes of such industry luminaries as Robert Murphy, of Japs-Olson, and Jerry Williamson, Williamson Printing. Illustrating that printing is not just a man’s world, accomplished women like former Courier exec Judith Booth and AGT’s Diane Romano deservedly assumed their places within the Hall of Fame.
Sadly, reflecting on our awards program over the years also brings back tragic memories. Danbury Printing’s Cecil Previdi, who was honored by us during Graph Expo in 1986, would be among those killed in a small plane crash during the same show just one year later while on the way to view some pressroom equipment in Wisconsin. I also recall vividly Judd’s Inc. CEO Thomas Manning—who attended the banquet in 1991 knowing he had terminal cancer—proudly accepting the award in front of his entire family, which included 10 children. And, even from afar, our gala in 1989 was disrupted mid-stream by the San Francisco earthquake.