2006 PRINTING INDUSTRY HALL OF FAME — A HOUSEHOLD NAME
Embracing technology was more than a philosophy for the Williamsons, as much of the printing equipment inherited after the acquisition was antiquated. Bowen immediately moved the company out of its downtown location into a single-story building and replaced a lion’s share of the press gear in the process. New two- and four-color sheetfed presses were obtained and, in the mid-1970s, the company was one of the first in the country to acquire half-web iron.
“It was a gamble back then because not many printers were going with half-webs,” he says. “The half-size really complemented sheetfed and gave us added momentum.”
Williamson has always looked toward the future. About 10 years ago, Heidelberg gave him a toy 13-unit press made out of building blocks, with an inscription that read, “Jesse’s Dream.” Sometimes reality exceeds dreams, as Williamson Printing is in the process of installing a 16-unit Heidelberg sheetfed press.
The company has not only taken advantage of the latest technology being offered, it also has created some of its own, including a patent for integrating metallics with process that allows in-line flexo- graphic printing in front of offset. Other patents include the manufacturing of a wooden puzzle and a magazine insert.
In recent years, however, the most daunting challenges haven’t revolved around keeping pace with equipment. The scourge of commodity pricing and offshore printing have proved viable threats. Williamson won’t back down from this challenge.
“We’re not a commodity printer; we’re a commercial, boutique shop,” he says. “We’ve invested in R&D and have reaped the rewards of the success with various patents. It’s given us a number of unique products that we’re able to sell to our customers, offering things that other printers can’t or won’t do.
“In other industries, even in advertising, they have to fight not to be a commodity. We’re partnering with these people, and we try to meet or exceed their needs. We strive to offer as good, or a better, printing product. And service has to be superior to our competition.”
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