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2007 Printing Industry Hall of Fame —Fearlessly Embracing Technology - Gary Samuels

September 2007 By Erik Cagle
Senior Editor
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EMBRACING technology in the first generation of a product’s release is generally frowned upon. Price points are spiky, and more often than not, there are bugs that need to be worked through before the long-promised automation, efficiencies and cost savings are fully realized.

Then again, industry leaders rarely subscribe to the populist’s theory. They don’t reach the top by adhering to the herd mentality.

Gary Samuels has always gone his own way, in a sense. The managing partner of Pictorial Offset in Carlstadt, NJ, wasn’t quite the lone wolf, benefitting from the combined efforts of brothers (and fellow partners) Donald and Lester. But after losing their father to an auto accident in 1980 and struggling mightily after moving into New Jersey from the Big Apple, the Samuels brothers found themselves needing to stand and deliver.

Change had embraced Gary Samuels and his brothers, so it was only apt that they should do likewise.

“It’s always difficult to orchestrate change. But, in the New York marketplace, you have industry-leading clients and you have to be in the position to understand the technology and the challenges they want you to accept,” states Samuels, 53, a 2007 inductee into the Printing Impressions/RIT Printing Industry Hall of Fame (HOF).

“We’ve always led the way and tried to be on the bleeding edge of technology—from being the first commercial printer to use a (Goss) Sunday press, or the first printer to accept a MAN Roland unitized sheetfed press. To grow your company, stay competitive and remain a low-cost producer while still offering quality, you have to extend yourself to the cutting edge.”

Gary Samuels joins his brother, Donald, a 2005 HOF inductee, in being honored. Along with Lester—who is receiving the Franklin Award later this month—the trio have played a pivotal role in growing Pictorial Offset from 28 employees and $1 million in annual sales to its current level of 250-plus employees and more than $85 million in revenues.

As for Gary Samuels, life began quietly enough. He spent his formative years on Long Island, NY, where he enjoyed playing high school sports and spent his summers life-guarding on the Atlantic Ocean. Samuels graduated from New York University in 1976, where he earned degrees in marketing and business administration.

While he appeared to be pre-ordained to enter the printing industry—after all, his father Jay owned Pictorial Offset, which was founded by grandfather Harry—this third-generation Samuels actually pondered being a partner in a ski shop business. But the genetic tug was too great to ignore.
 

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