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Gerald Henseler An Acquiring Mind

September 2001
BY MARK SMITH


To hear him tell it, Gerald Henseler's career in the printing industry has been its own reward. "To enjoy what you've been doing for 35 years, to not find 10- and 12-hour days fatiguing because it is fun...what a blessing. I can hardly wait to get to work in the morning," enthuses the executive vice president and CFO of Banta Corp.


With retirement less than a year away, Henseler humbly claims someone would have to scratch pretty hard to make his life story sound interesting. Considering he played no small part in helping Banta grow from a $25 million, family owned business into a $1.5 billion corporation, the evidence suggests otherwise. In fact, Henseler's career has led to his election into the 2001 Printing Impressions/RIT Printing Industry Hall of Fame.

That's quite an achievement, considering his introduction to the printing industry was more or less the result of a happy coincidence. Henseler grew up in the Fox River Valley region of Wisconsin, some 20 miles from Banta's headquarters in Menasha.

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in finance, he passed the CPA (Certified Public Accountant) exam and joined the international accounting firm Arthur Andersen & Co., working out of its Minneapolis office.

Since Arthur Andersen maintains no long-term staff positions below the level of partner, it has developed a reputation for running almost the equivalent of an apprenticeship program for accountants, many of whom it helps find staff positions at client companies. After four years, Henseler indicated he was interested in exploring new opportunities and was given access to the firm's listing of job openings at clients. The accounting manager job at Banta caught his attention because of the location, he says.

When Opportunity Knocks
"Banta was handled by Arthur Andersen's Milwaukee office, but I hadn't had any contact whatsoever with the company. I happened to be returning home for a week's holiday around the time I decided to leave Arthur Andersen, so I made arrangements for an interview at Banta. The chemistry worked, and I ended up starting with the company in the fall of 1966," Henseler recalls.

At that time, the entity was still called the George Banta Co. and only had two locations, compared to its 35 plants today. Even so, Banta was a good size printing company for that era, yet not so big as to prevent Henseler from making a connection with the craft.
 

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