2004 HALL OF FAME John Bell -- Ethics Really Matter
Steve DiGiulio, vice president and general manager for fellow paper vendor Shaughnessy Kniep Hawe, sees Bell as a tough businessman, as well as a gentleman of high integrity.
"John's not a pushover. He gives you the information you need, but if you can't make it happen for him, he'll take his business elsewhere," DiGiulio remarks. "I like doing business with him because he's fair, but firm. He says what he's going to do and does what he says—and you can take it to the bank. He knows the true sense of partnership, where all parties profit."
Bell is quite fond of the people behind his success: the employees of The Ovid Bell Press. His favorite day is the monthly employee meetings, where the shift workers are divided into groups to sit down with their boss and discuss what's happening in the company.
Aside from kinship, Bell takes his obligation to make the right decisions seriously, as those decisions affect each of the 120 people that make up the company. But it's not just an issue of right and wrong or ethics. It's more a question of making the right equipment decisions, and the potential for dark paths down which printers can be led.
Smaller printers, Bell notes, cannot afford the type of mistakes that can be compensated for by their larger, national colleagues. "In the printing industry, technology is everything," he says. "I experienced what it was like to be technologically outdated when I began my career. That's the shortest route to disaster available to us in this industry. But, in today's industry, there are many different avenues that are available, and selecting that right avenue is critical. Smaller printers cannot afford mistakes; they must pick the right directions."
Bell is active within his local PIA affiliate, the Printing Industries of St. Louis. A golfer in what meager spare time Bell can find, he and his wife Jerrie have been married for 12 years. He has five children; a son and his future son-in-law already work within the family business.