Southeastern Shines In Uncertain Times –Michelson

Southeastern rebranded to ensure that its employees are united in terms of corporate direction.

With credit markets still tight and apprehension about the future of our industry, many print shop executives have hunkered down—reducing overheads, avoiding capex expenditures that require them to assume more debt, and not expanding into new service offerings to help them escape the commodity trap. Their retrenchment, though, also means they’re falling further behind those businesses still investing in automation, new products/services and expanded footprints.

Case in point is our cover story on Southeastern. At just 42 years old, Southeastern CEO Don Mader possesses a vision, charisma and M&A deal-making intuition far beyond his age. With 230 employees working out of five locations, Southeastern is on track to achieve $60 million in sales this year, up from $47 million in 2012. Yes, much of this recent sales growth resulted from opportunistic acquisitions of a rollfed beverage label manufacturing operation and SCP Graphics, a commercial printing specialist. It’s also come organically with the opening of a fine arts gallery coupled with a creative wide-format digital printing studio.

But, with those M&A transactions and internal growth also come an integration process that requires managerial leadership to get the entire Southeastern workforce rowing in the same direction and embracing the same values. Here, too, it appears Mader has risen to the task by staying grounded, approachable and committed to a caring workplace environment that makes employees want to come to work every day.

Although Southeastern as a company will soon celebrate its 90th anniversary, its journey is far from over. Mader has ambitious goals to grow the company further, and to build on its track record of 12 consecutive years of profitability since he came on board as president. There is no magic sauce why this enterprise continues to shine. Rather, it’s the result of Mader’s winning recipe to invest in the right equipment, the right people and to pounce on growth opportunities as they arise.

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