2006 PRINTING INDUSTRY HALL OF FAME — KEEPER OF THE FLAME
Quadracci experienced what he termed an uneventful childhood. He was by far the youngest of three boys—13 years separated him and Harry, and the gap was 10 years with middle child Len. “I came on as somewhat of a surprise,” he laughs.
He enjoyed individual sports as a youth, competing on his high school swimming team, as well as skiing whenever the opportunity presented itself. He also liked going to work with his father at W.A. Krueger on Saturdays.
“Dad would go to Krueger to check how things were going at the plant,” Quadracci says. “When he went in for color OKs, he would sit me on the pressman’s table and the press operator would feed me ice cream while dad did the approvals.
“The smell of the printing plant back then really sticks with me. I can still remember the smell of deep etch plates, the alcohol and fountain solutions, all the unique smells that printing companies had in those days.”
Impressions from Youth
W.A. Krueger proved to wield a great influence over Tom Quadracci, as well as helping to shape the kind of printing establishment Quad/Graphics was to become. Quadracci picked up a great deal of experience in his time there, performing the role of lead pressman during a labor dispute and strike.
He eventually became familiar with every aspect of the operation. W.A. Krueger, he says, was highly innovative when it came to embracing new technologies—a mantra that was picked up and incorporated into the Quad/Graphics fabric. But although it was also a family owned operation, W.A. Krueger’s management style was somewhat dated—even for the era—and the labor strife only served to polarize management and shop floor workers.
“When we started Quad/Graphics, we decided we never wanted to see that happen to a company that we worked for ever again,” Quadracci says. “The management style that we developed here is very egalitarian—everyone’s job is important. We do our best not to build up walls between any departments, certainly not between supervisors and those on the shop floor.”
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