2006 PRINTING INDUSTRY HALL OF FAME — SUCCESS, THE HARD WAYOctober 2006
Hopkins serves as president and CEO of Hopkins Printing, a general commercial printer based in Columbus, OH, that does $16 million a year in business. His voyage into the world of printing seems to be an accident of time and space or, to be more specific, a pleasant set of circumstances. And Hopkins can thank his wife for helping the stars to align just right.
Still, make no mistake about it. Hard work, a willingness to learn the business world without the aid of a college degree and the desire to seek out industry experts has enabled Hopkins to build his own printing empire and gain entrance into the 2006 PRINTING IMPRESSIONS/RIT Printing Industry Hall of Fame.
Unlike many Hall of Famers, there were no bloodlines connecting Hopkins to the industry. Born in Virginia, Hopkins’ parents separated when he was young. His mother remarried, and the family moved to Pittsburgh, which proved to be a trying period for Hopkins.
“I basically came from a blue- collar family,” says Hopkins, who as a boy used to enjoy peering inside a wide-open print shop, which had no air conditioning and kept its doors open. “I had a wonderful mother who instilled a great work ethic in me. I’ve always tried to do the best I could with who I was and what I had.”
Upon graduating high school in 1959, Hopkins entered the U.S. Air Force. Following his training, he moved on to a manufacturing job with a roller bearing company, then went to drafting school for two years. Hopkins never followed a path into architecture but, wanting to do more than manufacturing-type work, he entered the world of sales.
Entering the Industry
In the end, Hopkins discovered his professional destiny rather accidentally in the early 1970s. His wife, Arnie, was performing typing work for a number of customers, including a local printer named Esley McCloud. Hopkins would personally deliver the finished work to McCloud and—as he studied the printer’s shop, its equipment and the work being performed—he developed more and more interest in joining the profession.
“When I visited McCloud’s plant, I began to realize that several of my talents and abilities were encapsulated in printing,” he says. “I could do some layout work, though I was by no means an artist, but I knew how to lay things out straight and work with art boards. I had a hobby as a photographer, which was really the core of offset printing back then because of the use of film. My mechanical aptitude helped because one needs to be a reasonably good mechanic to work on printing equipment. And I also had sales experience.