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Simon Printing Is True Calling

October 2002
BY ERIK CAGLE


The way Michael Simon sees it, retirement is not a light at the end of the tunnel. The executive vice president and co-owner of Publishers Press is already there, so to speak.

He's 42 years of age, enjoying the best that retirement has to offer without being retired.

"I was blessed with the opportunity to do something I love," says Simon, who is one of the youngest executives elected into the Printing Impressions/RIT Printing Industry Hall of Fame as part of the 2002 class. "When you truly enjoy what you do, work is less a challenge and more like a hobby."

Simon is the custodian, along with his brother, Nick, of the fifth generation of family owned Publishers Press of Shepherdsville, KY, a projected $160 million printer that debuted in 1866 under the guidance of his great-great grandfather, Nicholas, a German immigrant who published newspapers in his native language. Michael's contribution to the company started at the age of nine, when he earned $5 a day stripping pasteup flats. When he wasn't working, Simon enjoyed hunting, fishing and baseball.

Simon grew up in Louisville as the youngest of four children. The family lived off modest means; his father, Frank, invested much of his time and finances in helping to build the business. Frank's hard work and dedication would soon pay dividends for Publishers Press, which specializes in printing short- to medium-run business and special interest publications.

"By the time I reached college, the business was doing pretty well," Simon notes. "We had 300 employees and were doing $30 million in annual sales. It was a people business, both on the management and sales sides. It involved interacting with people, and I really enjoyed that. It was an obvious choice for me to join the company.

"I've always kind of known I was going to become a printer, which is nice," he adds. "When you set your sights on something early in life, you have a good advantage over a lot of other folks."

With that in mind, Simon obtained a bachelor's degree in printing management from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1983. He had worked in the prepress department at Publishers Press during the summer for most of his teenage years before transitioning into sales and customer service.

"Initially, I did estimating and production planning," Simon remarks. "I managed most of the front-end operations, the customer service department, prepress services and the sales effort. (Those departments) still report to me directly."
 

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