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SPECIAL REPORT -- The State of Web Printing - A Web Offset Visionary

April 2005
By Kristen E. Monte

The Harry V. Quadracci VISION Award, presented by the Web Offset Association (WOA), is awarded to a heatset web offset industry executive who has become a dominant force in shaping the business of heatset printing. William F. Hogg Jr., this year's VISION Award winner, has gone far beyond executive-level duties to make significant changes, not only with his company Valassis Communications, but for the web offset industry as a whole.

William F. Hogg Jr.
Hogg is executive vice president of manufacturing and operations for Valassis, headquartered in Livonia, MI, and a member of Valassis' executive committee. He began his career in the graphic arts industry while in college, working for a small sheetfed printer. Hogg graduated from Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI, in the 1960s with a degree in the graphic arts, and went on to teach graphic arts at the high school level for the next couple of years.

A Marketing Mindset

In the 1970s, he went to work for a marketing company, Marketing Corporation of America, Westport, CT, which is where he had his first exposure to web offset printing. The company had a business relationship with Valassis and, in 1979, Hogg joined Valassis in the sales support department. During his 26-year tenure with Valassis, he moved from sales to operations to manufacturing, culminating with his present-day position as executive vice president for the company.

"I have worked in all areas of the business, but I most enjoy the operations and manufacturing end," says Hogg. "We've grown from a 120 employee, two press, single plant operation to a three plant, 4,100 employee company with operations in eight countries."

Valassis, which ranked number 10 on the 2004 Printing Impressions 400, reported an estimated $1.04 billion in annual revenues for its most recent fiscal year. This is a long way from Valassis' annual sales of $26 million when Hogg first joined the company. Hogg attributes much of the company's success to its break from traditional operating practices.

"Valassis started using robotics in the 1980s to palletize products and for automated delivery of paper. We continue to use it in our facilities every day," Hogg says.

The processes of robotics and automated wire-guided vehicles for paper roll delivery were introduced after he helped establish Valassis' second printing division in 1983 in Durham, NC. He notes that it changed the way traditional staffing on the presses was handled, adding that it brings the manufacturing and operations process together, creating more efficient usage of its workforce.

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