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Graphic Arts Center -- The Quality Quotient

June 2003
by Caroline Miller


There is a simple, yet elegant, black brochure that greets every potential Graphic Arts Center (GAC) customer. On the cover it proudly proclaims, "Better Living Through Printing."

It's a concept that packs a powerful punch for this $85 million company based in Portland, OR.

GAC believes that it can improve the lives of its customers through a winning combination of superior equipment, employee know-how, cutting-edge technology, impressive service, delivery and value.

It's proven to be the company's key to success. GAC plans to celebrate its centennial later this year.

Over the past 100 years the firm's attention to detail has earned it a reputation in the Northwest and across the nation as a printing operation that is dedicated to quality and its customers, according to Dave Webber, president of GAC.

"We do a lot of tough projects," he notes. "That's why our customers come to us." GAC's ability to handle the complex has garnered a customer list that includes Mercedes Benz, 3M, Microsoft, Chrysler, Nike and American Express, among others. Along the way, GAC has become the largest commercial printer in the Northwest.

From left to right: David Marshall, VP of finance; David Webber, president; Steve Plattner, VP of sales and marketing; and Lynn McAndrew, VP of operations.
The company began its life in 1903 as the family owned firm of Andersen & Duniway. It grew over the years through a series of mergers and acquisitions. Then, in 1995, the company—now known as Graphic Arts Center—was acquired by Mail-Well.

It was Mail-Well's first commercial print acquisition. "They were looking to expand beyond their envelope operations, and we were owned by an investment firm at the time. The timing was right for both companies," explains Lynn McAndrew, vice president of operations.

The Right Direction

The acquisition by Mail-Well also proved to be a technological renaissance for Graphic Arts Center. "They have been a big supporter of upgrading technology," adds McAndrew. "Since our purchase by Mail-Well, we've completely overhauled our prepress department, added new sheetfed and web printing equipment, and upgraded our bindery. Without Mail-Well, it would have been much more of a challenge to get the capital we needed for the upgrades."

 

Companies Mentioned:

David Webber, president of Graphic Arts Center (GAC), stands outside the company's Portland, OR, headquarters. The company churns out up to four million mailing pieces per month.

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