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Hall of Fame--Canzano - Riding Technology to the Cutting-edge

October 1999
By Erik Cagle

When Francis Canzano Jr. wasn't looking for technology, it seems technology went looking for Canzano.

It all started in the mid-1960s, when Canzano was walking the floor of a trade show in Chicago. He had been looking for a conventional camera and had visited a separation house for a demonstration. The camera was fine; nothing extraordinary. So it was back to the show.

Ironically, it took a trip to Hell to land Canzano, president of Acme Printing/World Color New England, in technology heaven and ultimately a place in the 1999 Printing Impressions/RIT Printing Industry Hall of Fame.

"I'm roaming around and I see HCM Hell," he says. "They have this scanning device, so I pulled out a transparency I brought with me and asked if they could scan it. Inside of 20 minutes, the man had scanned it and came out with films. They suggested I take it to DuPont and get them to make a proof."

Before he knew it, Canzano was plunking down a $100 deposit for a $150,000 scanner. A scary proposition, since he obviously didn't know, for sure, what the technological future would hold for the graphic arts industry. The scanner was a largely unknown commodity, and Canzano still had to answer to somebody for the leap of faith.

"I was kind of aghast—this is where we wanted to be," Canzano says of his introduction to the scanner. "I remember putting down a $100 deposit on the machine, then laying in bed that night thinking, 'What am I going to tell my father when I get back?' I figure I'm really going to get it when I go back."

Francis Canzano Sr. reacted quite matter-of-factly when his son informed him of the major purchase. Little did they know at the time that the acquisition would be the first of many cutting-edge technologies that would take Acme Printing from being a local printer to a corporate national printer.

The transformation was a gradual one as opposed to the now-familiar overnight leap. What helped cultivate Acme's reputation as a national printer was a penchant for servicing out-of-state clients with top-quality printing as quickly as possible. It was an effective game plan; Acme currently serves corporations such as Bermuda, Bose, Coca-Cola, Fidelity Investments, General Electric, General Motors, Pfizer and Tiffany.

Acme has long since shaken its regional label and has gained worldwide recognition from the commercial printing community. In 1998, it was selected Sappi North American—and International—Printer of the Year from a pool of 1,300 other national and worldwide printers. Acme repeated as North American Printer of the Year for 1999 and has advanced to the international finals, which take place this month.


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