2004 HALL OF FAME John Bell -- Ethics Really Matter
Once the necessary capital was in place, The Ovid Bell Press enjoyed a technological growth spurt during the 1970s. Its sheetfed offset capabilities were then augmented in 1994, in the face of dwindling market share to its web brethren.
"During the recessionary period in the late '80s and early '90s, the market softened rather dramatically and many web printers, in desperation, were taking all the web work they could get," Bell recalls. "Therefore, we lost many of our larger customers in that soft period. We very quickly recognized, from a competitive standpoint, that we had to defend ourselves and make ourselves more marketable at the same time."
Bell became president of the company in 1989 and continued to grow the business with his father and mentor, Ovid, at his side. They endured the growing pains and changing technologies, adapting and learning together, until the elder Bell passed away in 1998.
Since they experienced the printing revolution together, it wasn't the X's and O's of printing that Ovid passed along to his son. What the younger Bell learned could be applied from one generation to the next without fear of antiquation.
"My father and I were blessed with a very good, solid relationship, which is uncommon in many family businesses. What he taught me about printing was not substantial...what he really taught me was how to conduct myself, how to conduct business and how to be honest and fair, not only with customers, but employees, as well.
"Honor is really the most important part of business and knowing, when you walk out the door, that you have done your best to serve your customers honestly and fairly. There is no greater reward than that feeling," he says.
This high degree of ethics is particularly apparent to those who do business with Bell, including Tom Fascetti, national account manager for paper vendor Unisource. "John brings great leadership, vision and ethics to the table," he explains. "John is one of the few still in the business to whom these words really mean something—he's that kind of guy."