2006 PRINTING INDUSTRY HALL OF FAME — A HOUSEHOLD NAME
A leading figure for the Printing Industries of America and Web Offset Association, Jesse Williamson is a household name in the industry. Yet, he is at once humble and self-deprecating, a man who doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously.
Still, Williamson, 58, takes his business and love for printing to heart, an aspect borne through working with his brother and father, Bowen, who purchased the Dorsey Co. in the early 1960s. Williamson grew up in McKinney, TX, about 30 miles north of Dallas. Bowen commuted into the city for 30 years, wanting his children to grow up in a small community.
“I started coming into work with dad around the age of six or seven,” Williamson recalls. “I’d get in everyone’s way and ask questions.”
Upon graduating high school, he enrolled at Southern Methodist University (SMU). He played football and baseball in high school and took to the gridiron at SMU his freshman year, where he lined up as an offensive tackle. An ankle injury derailed any hopes of playing in the NFL, though. “I had no aspirations, really; it was too much work,” Williamson chuckles.
After Bowen purchased the Dorsey Co., his son saw friends going into real estate and investment banking. But Jesse Williamson knew that his true calling was ink on paper. He worked at the plant from an early age, and garnered a wealth of knowledge there during summers while still in high school. Jesse started out in shipping, then migrated to the bindery, pressroom, plate making and stripping.
“I always enjoyed the creativity. It was just a neat business,” Williamson says. “I was lucky that I had the exposure to printing at a young age. I was making sales calls with my dad when I was around 10 or 12. And I was really lucky that my dad and my brother were not only partners, but also my best friends.”
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