2011 Hall of Fame: Joel Quadracci – The Next Generation

Joel Quadracci (left) is presented with his 10-year employee anniversary ring by his father, the late Harry V. Quadracci. (Double click photos to enlarge.)

Much like his father, Quad/Graphics head honcho Joel Quadracci feels most at home when wearing the company-issue blue shirt and interacting with rank-and-file employees.

Quadracci chauffeurs his mother, Betty, who is a major influence on the Wisconsin publishing scene in her own right.

“The last thing I want to try to do is become my father, because they broke the mold with him,” says Quadracci, a 2011 Printing Impressions/RIT Printing Industry Hall of Fame inductee. “The company is in a different stage, and it’s about empowering more people to do more. I give people the leeway to take the ball and run with it. Having the level of talent that we do and not having a big ego is an asset.”

A Mover and Shaker

Joel Quadracci’s reign has lasted less than seven years (he became president in January 2005), but he has added his signature to Quad’s legend during that time. In 2010 alone, he helped engineer the biggest acquisition in the history of the U.S. printing industry with the addition of the Worldcolor/Quebecor World franchise. Simultaneously, he took the company public to avoid levering it up with debt, while maintaining voting control through ownership of high-value stock.

Quad/Graphics is quite literally not his father’s printing company; it nearly tripled in size, expanded its reach in Latin America and is in the midst of an ongoing platform restructuring. The younger Quadracci didn’t simply take the torch when his uncle, Thomas (a 2006 HOF inductee), retired from the helm. Joel Quadracci rekindled a still-growing flame.

Make no mistake about it: The challenge facing Quadracci is immense.

“The world is changing so quickly, and the printing world is changing,” he says. “You get a little fearful of how slow the economy is growing, because print seems to be a negative GDP-growth industry. It becomes difficult to manage under tight pricing pressures. You think you’ve pulled out all of the cost you can, but we continue to see pricing pressures. Even so, it’s still fun to look at this Rubik’s Cube and try to figure out the next step to take.”

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