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Lehigh Rides High at Supplier Appreciation Gala

September 2003
HIGHLAND PARK, IL—In corporate America, the word "partnership" between suppliers and customers often gets more lip service than actual practitioners—let alone in the often cutthroat, price-sensitive printing industry.

But the Lehigh Press showed its appreciation recently to nearly 300 industry vendors, business friends and facilitators at an elegant Supplier Appreciation Gala Reception held outdoors here amidst the backdrop of the Exmoor Country Club along Chicago's upscale North Shore.

"Tonight is really a gratifying celebration of success and our opportunity to express appreciation to a very important gathering of Lehigh stakeholders: our tremendous supplier community spanning equipment, technology, materials, supplies and, of course, lenders and professional service providers," proclaimed Raymond Frick, Lehigh president and CEO, during the event.

"Truly a renaissance has occurred at Lehigh," he added, recognizing suppliers' role in the company's success over the past several years. This includes Lehigh's U.S. market leadership positions as the Number One provider of book covers to school publishers and its role as a top-10 provider of direct marketing printing.

"Significantly, Lehigh also ranks in the top 10 percent of all printers, expressed as a percentage of annual sales, in terms of capital investment. Clearly, this CAPEX statistic indicates the strong Lehigh growth commitment and confidence in the future of both our customers and our company."

Aside from external contributors, Frick also took time to recognize each Lehigh Press salesperson in attendance, led by Hans Kollinger, vice president of sales and marketing.

In keeping with the Lehigh tradition, Highland Bagpipers welcomed attendees as they arrived. Welcome addresses were also provided by John R. DePaul, president of the Publishing Components Div.; Paul Palmer, executive vice president of Lehigh Direct; Damon Snyder, senior vice president of operations; and John Romita, vice president of manufacturing at Lehigh Direct. In addition, the traditional Lehigh "Magic Carpet" drawing for an oriental rug was conducted.

"We value and need supplier commitment," concluded Frick, "responding in the clutch, meeting ever-compressing cycle times and conquering so many other challenges. The seminal issue in the American manufacturing sector, including the printing industry, is how to increase the top line and improve earnings—in an environment absent of pricing power. In our view, the answer is threefold: technology innovation, increased value-added specialty services and sheer productivity gains. With your vital partnership, Lehigh has built a distinguishing value proposition based on these three ingredients."

As attendees departed, each were given bags that included hard-bound copies—with covers produced by Lehigh Lithographers—of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" and "Benjamin Franklin: An American Life."

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