THE LEHIGH PRESS -- The Midas Touch. . . Again!
Ray Frick's latest formula for rebuilding another printing company heavyweight is getting back to nature—organic growth. Not an easy task in a consolidating industry.
BY ERIK CAGLE
There is little doubt that Ray Frick enjoys a challenge, and no doubt in regards to his ability to conquer one.
The CEO and president of The Lehigh Press, headquartered in Pennsauken, NJ, finds himself in familiar territory. For the third consecutive time in his career, Frick has orchestrated a commercial printer into the position of market leader.
After a highly successful career progression with major, blue chip corporations, including DuPont and Donnelley, Frick built Banta into the nation's leading direct marketing printer in 1993 and 1994 as president of its Direct Marketing Group.
Frick then weaved similar magic with Quebecor USA, where he was president and COO of the Commercial, Book and New Market Groups. He grew the Quebecor Direct Group from ground zero to more than $300 million in sales during 1995 to 1998, by spearheading a number of acquisitions—including Petty Co., Sayers Communications Group and Eagle Lithographers—as well as the reconfiguration of existing Quebecor facilities. This feat once again catapulted a Frick-led direct marketing printing enterprise to the top of the marketplace mountain.
Frick arguably found his greatest challenge to date with The Lehigh Press, a venerable, independent company that, at the time of his recruitment, was less than a year away from its 75th anniversary, but hardly in a celebrating mood given recent operating performance. Now, three years later, the champagne is flowing freely at Lehigh.
"The bottom line is up dramatically," notes Bill Love, CFO and a veteran of 27 years at Lehigh. "What we've also seen is a terrific increase in revenue generation. There's been a huge change in company spirit and the overall morale. We've had incredible improvements in the past three years and have invested very aggressively in capital...it's been literally a rebirth of our 77-year-old company," he adds. "You simply wouldn't recognize this company from three years ago. John D. DePaul, majority owner of The Lehigh Press, deserves a lot of credit for somehow attracting Ray Frick to Lehigh as CEO and president."