Ripon Printers : A Midwestern DelightAugust 2012 By Erik Cagle, Senior Editor
Good luck trying to find Andy Lyke's ego. He probably keeps it at home, in a file cabinet, along with those other documents most people hang on to but know they will never need.
Perhaps it is a Midwestern phenomenon, that work ethic of German immigrant descendants. Lyke serves as president and CEO of Ripon Printers, headquartered in the Wisconsin city that bears its name. The family-owned firm, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, was spun off from its roots as a newspaper. That weekly paper, Ripon Commonwealth Press, has been in business since 1854 and has been named the top weekly paper in the state three of the past 10 years by the Wisconsin Newspaper Association.
Lyke's mother and Ripon co-founder, Audrey, serves as vice president of finance emeritus, and brother Tim leads its publishing division as publisher of the Ripon Commonwealth Press, a 17,000-circulation shopper called The Express, a 128-page annual community guide and the Green Laker summer vacation tabloid newspaper. Andy's wife, Jeanne, is a practicing pediatrician.
Wisconsin loves its printing and is home to some of the most respected firms in the industry, including Quad/Graphics. It's a wonder that the image of Quad founder Harry V. Quadracci wasn't chosen for the back of the state quarter. Herein lies the rub: Midwesterners aren't noted for their braggadocio or self-promotion. Pride is something you have in others, not one's self. If this notion is not taught, it's engrained in folks from the Badger State.
Thus, the irony was more than evident this past spring when Andy Lyke was named the 2012 recipient of the Harry V. Quadracci VISION Award by the Printing Industries of America's Web Offset Association. The honor is presented to industry executives who reach an unsurpassed level of excellence and achievement through hard work and determination.
The mere mention of the VISION Award virtually embarrasses Lyke, a man whose economy of words is generally spent on others. "My first reaction was disbelief. It's very humbling to win an award named after someone like Harry Quadracci, a giant in our industry," he says. "I think it reflects well on our employee base and what we've accomplished as a team, starting with my parents and all the other people who have worked with the Lyke family over the years."