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Hall of Famers Embody Work, Family, Service --Michelson

October 2008
WE'RE ALL human beings--displaying courage, steadfastness and humility at times during our lives; but also succumbing to selfishness, lethargy and a lack of empathy for others. Knowing the right thing to do doesn't always mean we'll do the right thing. However, there are those among us, although still human, who seem to rise above any shortcomings they may have and lead by setting a positive example. Such surely seems to be the case with this year's class of Printing Impressions/RIT Printing Industry Hall of Fame inductees.

Take 78-year-old Ralph Johnson, who has spent the past 32 years of his career at Lake County Press (LCP). A true optimist, Johnson takes special pride in instilling that same positive attitude among his employees, and relishes the fact that many long-time staff members have encouraged their own children to come work for the company.

He has shown that same enthusiasm for embracing technology over the years to help give LCP a leg up on its competition when it comes to innovation and building long-term customer relationships, all in the highly competitive northern Illinois industry marketplace. Johnson, like our other honorees, doesn't sit in an ivory tower; he stays immersed on the sales front with clients.

Or just look at the accomplishments of Jim Andersen, who has guided IWCO Direct to become a direct marketing powerhouse. More importantly, he has helped the cause of all printers, publishers and direct mailers that rely on the postal stream. His tireless lobbying efforts culminated with recent legislation passed by Congress to drive efficiencies, modernize the business practices and institute price controls within the U.S. Postal Service. Admitting to being a workaholic in his early working life, Andersen is also a testament that people can alter their priorities in realizing that family should come first over one's time devoted to climbing the corporate ladder.

Giving of one's time to better the industry as a whole and building reputations based on integrity are key principles shared by ColorCraft of Virginia's Jim Mayes and Michael Keene, of The John Roberts Co. Both 2008 Hall of Fame honorees have found great benefit for themselves and their companies through active involvement with industry associations at the state and national levels. They realize that the educational, information sharing and networking opportunities are priceless. They also understand the immeasurable value of establishing a good name for themselves and for the way they run their businesses.

Joining the ranks of those honored for the past 23 years before them, these four individuals' names will be inscribed on a plaque at the Rochester Institute of Technology's School of Print Media to help inspire future industry leaders. As our country and industry continue
to face a cloudy future, it's important for all of us to follow life's paths lit so brightly by their shining examples.

Mark T. Michelson



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