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John Fosmire Born to Print

September 2001
BY CHRIS BAUER


It is often said that lifelong printers have ink flowing through their veins. If this is true, John Fosmire's blood type must be CMYK.


One of four inductees into the Printing Impressions/Rochester Institute of Technology Printing Industry Hall of Fame for 2001, Fosmire, president of Los Angeles-based Anderson Lithograph, comes from a long line of printers—himself marking the fifth generation of Fosmire to make his living by putting ink on paper.

Born in Rochester, NY, but living in California for most of his life, Fosmire remembers going to work with his father, a Linotype operator, and helping to set lead type on a Linotype machine by the tender age of seven.

His grandfather owned a newspaper on Long Island, while all his aunts and uncles were employed doing some type of printing work. This early exposure to the industry helped Fosmire realize that printing was the profession with which he wanted to be involved.

As a teen-ager, he had a press in his family's garage that he used to print letterhead and other small jobs for extra money. This would be just the beginning of a long and illustrious career in the graphic arts.

After a stint in the military in the mid-'50s, Fosmire went to work as a sales/service representative for a glassware company. But that did not stick. He decided to go to trade school in Los Angeles and return to his true love—printing.

Fosmire joined Anderson Lithograph in 1961 as an apprentice stripper. During his 40 years of service, he has served as foreman of the film assembly and manufacturing departments, and ultimately became president in May of 1993.

That same year, the company purchased its current plant location, containing the 170,000-square-foot facility placed on seven acres of land, which houses all manufacturing operations, including the web and sheetfed departments, all pre- and post-press activities and a co-generation power plant.

Now Part of Mail-Well
Anderson Litho is a high-quality commercial web and sheetfed printer now owned by Mail-Well. Fosmire serves as general manager of the Mail-Well California region, which consists of Anderson Litho plants in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and an Armstrong/White retouching studio in Detroit. All the while, he likes to remember where he came from.

"I try to be a hands-on guy; I am not a sit-in-the-office-type person," Fosmire explains. "I spend a lot of time walking around the plant and talking to people. I am not big on titles—I think everyone is here to do a job, and every job is important, from the top guy down to the guy that delivers the job. There is not a business day that goes by that I don't go through the plant at least one or two times."
 

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