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Cathedral Corp. : Leading by Good Example

March 2012 By Erik Cagle, Senior Editor
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Marianne Gaige may have played follow the leader when she was a little girl, but the president and CEO of Rome, NY-based Cathedral Corp. is more concerned about being at the head of the line and guiding her customers as they navigate the ever-changing world of print-based tools that can deliver personalized messages quickly, economically and impressively.

The secret to her success? No fear. Apprehension certainly crosses the minds of all printing executives at some point as they're constantly bombarded with news about the thinning of their industry's herd. But worrying isn't going to do Gaige, or Cathedral, any good. "We have to keep moving with technology without creating too much risk," Gaige notes. "We do think about the economy and the future of printing, but we can't be afraid of where print is going. Instead, we need to anticipate customer needs and lead with innovation."

Cathedral is demonstrating the ability to lead by example. This $25 million provider of direct mail and transactional/promotional (transpromo) printing is looking to grow through acquisition. It has engaged an M&A firm to find a perfect match or two, targeting firms that can build upon Cathedral's offerings or complement them.

Gaige has ample female representation in the executive offices—Mary Keating, Donna Eychner and Kimberley Waltz are all vice presidents—and more than 60 percent of the firm's stock is held by women.

Gaige is also clearing off a spot on the manufacturing floor (the firm has a sister plant with redundancies in Lincoln, RI) for a new Xerox CiPress 500 waterless inkjet production press. The longtime Xerox customer is excited for the opportunities the continuous-feed, full-color printer will afford, especially as its transpromo business continues to blossom. And, the ability to go waterless and open up more possibilities for coated and uncoated substrates made it an easy call for Gaige & Co.

Speaking of the chief exec, Gaige has presided over considerable growth since taking the reins in 1993, when the firm was almost exclusively a $3 million per year envelope printer for the Catholic church. Now, Cathedral stretches a bit higher in the sky with roughly 5,000 clients within a diverse mix of client verticals. In addition to the religious set, Cathedral serves industries ranging from financial services to health care, higher education, utilities, nonprofits and government entities.

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