Krehbiel Adds Variety, Spice To Business, Life

Amateur magician Krehbiel pulled out his cape and top hat to accept the 1998 PIANKO Printer of the Year award. Note the “typo.”

Entertainment was and still is a big part of Krehbiel’s life, from when he was an amateur magician in his teen years. At Indian Hill he started his own pop/rock group, The Loved Ones, playing the organ and rhythm guitar. The group belted out hits from the Rolling Stones, Beatles, The Association and “kind of 1967 beach music.” The group played at sock hops and old church halls, and even performed at the opening of a motorcycle shop. The turnout was so low, Krehbiel recalls, that his father won a motorcycle in the giveaway.

Krehbiel began developing other interests upon attending Davidson College in North Carolina. He became involved with the college’s radio station, WDAV. “They had all of about 25 watts,” and for a while he entertained the idea of becoming a disc jockey. But the psychology major soon mulled over entering the field of clinical psychology; his future wife Jan was attending college in Atlanta, so the thought of setting up shop down south was appealing.

His first experience working in a mental institution, however, was not. “I almost fainted when I saw someone get electro-shock therapy,” he admits. Thus, when it came time to pursue a master’s degree (from the University of Cincinnati), his primary choice became clear: if he was going to go into business, why not the family business?

Krehbiel—who had worked summers between semesters in the prep room, press and bindery—obtained an MBA from the University of Cincinnati and joined the family company in October of 1972, the year he married Jan.

Upon joining the family business, Rob’s father, Bob, stressed to him the importance of learning the many facets of the printing business. Thus, he tackled positions such as estimating, billing, human resources, sales and customer service. It soon became apparent to Krehbiel, however, that a majority of the customer service was given to Southwestern Publishing, a publisher of school textbooks. Southwestern accounted for 80 percent of the printer’s business, and Krehbiel faced his greatest challenge when Southwestern was sold to educational publishing giant Scott Foresman in the early 1980s.

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