Ripon Printers: A Midwestern Delight

Andy Lyke (left), president and CEO of Ripon Printers, sits alongside his brother, Tim Lyke, who serves as the publisher of Ripon Commonwealth Press.

Pressmen Jim Prellwitz (left) and Jim Paulus inspect covers printed on a Heidelberg Speedmaster 74 at Ripon Printers.

Rhonda Schwandt uses a bundle clamp to transfer bundles in Ripon’s plant.

Ed Duarte (left) and Bob Cauley attend to a manroland web press run in Ripon’s pressroom.

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.”

This is as close to a touchdown dance as one will see from Lyke. Humility hasn’t robbed him of a sense of humor, however. “I’m suffering from a detached retina and cataract…it was kind of ironic to win a ‘VISION’ award,” he adds.

Lyke has reason to be in great spirits, as 2012 has been kind to Ripon Printers. In addition to Lyke’s award, the printer of catalogs, directories, manuals and soft-cover educational products acquired certain assets of Sells Printing, based in New Berlin, WI. Among the assets: a digital division in Milwaukee—Traxion—powered by two Xerox iGen4 presses; along with a 10-color, 40˝ Heidelberg Speedmaster SM 102 sheetfed perfector equipped with a CutStar roll sheeter.

A Perfect Match

The two companies were kindred spirits; both bolstered sterling reputations within the industry, combining top-drawer customer care with unparalleled printing quality. When Sells intimated that it was looking for a capable partner to move forward and serve its clients with the same caliber work, Lyke pounced on the opportunity.

Lyke began due diligence in August of 2011, and talks with Sells ownership became serious last December. The deal closed in late March and, thus far, Ripon’s chief exec still finds himself in the honeymoon phase.

“A catalog (Sells) printed digitally on its iGen4 won Best of Show in 2009 at the Wisconsin printing awards,” Lyke points out. “So, their printing quality has always been tops and their customer relationships are tremendous.”

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