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.

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.

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