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Wisconsin Printers — Printing Capital of the USA

October 2007 By Erik Cagle
Senior Editor
LADIES AND gentlemen, your attention please. PRINTING IMPRESSIONS magazine is about to announce it has anointed a state as the printing capital of the United States.

This decision was not arrived at easily. In determining which of our 50 was deserving of such rich accolades, we compiled a cracker jack team of experts: Sales and M&A guru Harris DeWese pored over 10 years’ worth of financial statements and cross-checked them using various sorting criteria. Chris Colville, a recently retired Consolidated Graphics senior executive, provided full analysis based on company balance sheets.

The research team was a Who’s Who of the printing industry. Jim Andersen, head honcho at IWCO Direct, provided in-depth statistics on which states earned the best postal discounts. Cenveo king Bob Burton pointed out the states that suffer from excess capacity and which companies have the leanest production processes. Roy Grossman at Sandy Alexander identified the companies and states that are the greenest in terms of energy consumption. And Jeff Sweetman of Trend Offset Printing determined which companies enjoyed the most effective national distribution centers.

Why Wisconsin?

Economists were consulted. National labor statistics were scanned and cross-referenced. We ranked the states by sales, used proper adjustments to account for certain disparities in state economy sizes, factored in the sales per employee, and divided that by employee sales figures for all manufacturing sectors in their respective states. This gave us a printing industry percentage of the state’s overall manufacturing economy.

Not wanting the study to be merely based on cold calculations, we randomly selected 1,000 chambers of commerce and asked them about the perception of printing in their community and state. We read select works of Walt Whitman poetry and James Michener fiction, and found printing references. Then, it was on to the Guinness Book of World Records to see which states had garnered the most bizarre distinctions, like the most tattoos for a six-worker third shift. We even listened to every Three Dog Night and Uriah Heep album, but found their music to be less than timeless. So there were some dead ends.

When all was said and done, one state stood out as the clear choice to represent our union. First runner-up, should our champion be unable to perform the duties required as “Printing Capital of the USA,” is Illinois. And the winner is...
 

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