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HOF 05 Greatness Surrounds Greatness -- Roy Grossman

September 2005
By Erik Cagle

Senior Editor

A championship sports team, more often than not, boasts a superstar. But the best teams also have a roster of many strong, solid players to complement the centerpiece athlete.

Without a doubt, Sandy Alexander President and CEO Roy Grossman is considered among the finest leaders in the commercial printing industry. He has been front and center on causes aimed at the integrity and sustainability of the printing art, boasts a laundry list of industry association activities, and has won awards for the contributions to his craft and business. Grossman is a man who truly cares about the industry and its people.

But what enhances the effectiveness of the 2005 Printing Impressions/RIT Printing Industry Hall of Fame inductee is the lineup that surrounds him at Sandy Alexander. Their individual areas of expertise help to make for a brain trust that gives the combination web and sheetfed printer an edge in its New York metro marketplace.

"The key to success is surrounding yourself with people who possess more skills than you have," says Grossman. "My job is to provide leadership and guidance—which I think I do very well—only because I have the people who have the talent to execute. There is no single CEO today, in any business, who can possibly know enough to have the final word in all aspects of the business.

"Mostly, I take the recommendations of people that I trust, because they're in a much better position than I am to know if what they're recommending makes sense."

Grossman was born to be a printer. His grandfather founded Laurel Printing in 1917, and the leadership baton was passed along to Bernard Grossman, Roy's father. One of Roy's earliest memories of working at Laurel was as a 9-year-old, banding product for what he thought was Laurel's largest customer. He made $5 for working the entire day and felt pretty good about his contribution—until someone slipped and he learned that the product was actually bound for the dumpster.

When he became a teenager, Grossman was allowed to work in the shipping department at Laurel. "I would do menial tasks, usually in the finishing area, because it was where I could get into the least trouble," he jokes. "But I loved walking around the plant, loved the smell of ink and liked talking to the pressmen."

Grossman earned a BA degree from Bucknell University, where he pledged Phi Kappa Psi, was heavily involved in community service and, for a time, pondered a future in law. College, he believes, is the best time to grow personally and intellectually, as opposed to merely being a vocational vehicle.

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