2013 Hall of Fame : Bill Fitzgerald - It Was Love at First Sight
Thought to Distribution
Today, the company boasts five production facilities in Massachusetts: one sheetfed plant, two web facilities, a digital printing plant and a very large fulfillment and mail facility. Westwood, the corporate headquarters, also houses the award-winning Wilde Agency, which focuses soley on direct response marketing. These acquisitions, combined with strong production disciplines at Universal Wilde, have enabled Fitzgerald to fully realize the "Thought to Distribution" motto from a product and capability standpoint.
"No one in the industry is more customer-centric than we are, and the fact that I've always thought about our customers' businesses rather than just the transaction has helped Universal Wilde become a true partner with our clients and not just a vendor," Fitzgerald notes. "I've also always been a believer in new technology and have embraced change rather than fight it."
One of the greatest challenges to come Fitzgerald's way came during the recession in 2009. The recession caused some customers to pull back on what they considered discretional spending, which included printing. This accelerated the change away from ink on paper and a move toward electronic alternatives. When combined with the decision by its biggest client to procure its print overseas, Universal Wilde saw 36 percent of its top line sales eroded.
Fitzgerald acted quickly, consolidating plants, reducing pay and laying off employees. As painful a move as it was, it was necessary to ensure the long-term viability of Universal Wilde. Fitzgerald also sank more dollars into the business, investing in areas such as IT and strategic acquisitions.
"I became a bigger proponent in my early beliefs that you must not just look at the transaction but how we can help our clients from 'Thought to Distribution.' These moves ultimately did prove out as Universal Wilde did emerge a winner. Our offering today is very broad around information distribution," he notes.