Think Patented : Leading a Revolution

Think Patented’s employee team has grown considerably during the past 10 years. (Double click photo to enlarge.)

Think Patented press operators Joe Herman (left) and Matt Davis produce work on a six-color, 40˝ Komori Lithrone.

Think Patented pressman Gary Blakeman inspects a proof.

Kodak Digimaster operators Rich Downing (left) and Bill Albert keep the digital department at Think Patented rolling along. Variable data printing is just one aspect
of the firm’s role as a cross-media services provider.

One of the primary elements of any successful revolution is the ability to change how people think. In the case of the printing industry, the revolution afoot is one of survival, of technology and redefining and reinvention. This revolution emanates from the corner 
office, and it protects those who are brave and humble enough to admit that some time-tested traditions are highly prone to failure tomorrow.

It’s really about keeping one’s feet moving, and that has certainly been the case with Dayton, OH-based Think Patented. The firm had been happily doing business as a sheetfed business—Patented Printing—through the turn of the millennium. The world of commercial printing was changing all around the 80-employee operation and, like most small- to medium-sized firms, it was in danger of following a path to irrelevance, if not obsolescence. But once the paths of two industry veterans crossed in 2005, the crystal ball became less cloudy.

Ken McNerney had joined the company in 2003, having logged 32 years in the graphic arts industry. Niels Winther had been a well-known executive on the supply side of the industry for many years, and aspired to garner a seat in the captain’s chair of a printing company. They met in late 2005 and, by the following March 31, an acquisition deal was in place for the new co-owners that would continue to reshape, and grow, the southwestern Ohio printer.

Wait…printer? Not exactly.

“We always strive to be different, to stay ahead of the curve,” observes Ken McNerney, company CEO. “We don’t believe that print is dying, but solely ink-on-paper companies are dying. When I came on board, we were a commercial printer. Then, we became a graphic communications company, then a solutions provider, then a marketing services provider. I’m not sure we even know what that is, but we became one. Today, we’ve become a cross-media services provider.

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