2013 Hall of Fame : David Pilcher Sr. - Inspiration and Reclamation
But, it was under Beddor that Pilcher truly flourished. He spent time working with all of the Beddor plants, including two of Beddor's latest acquisitions: Danner Press (Canton, OH) and Brookshore Lithographers (Chicago), before being named president and CEO of The Press of Ohio.
When Beddor sold eight of his companies to Banta Corp., Pilcher joined that organization. It wasn't a good fit as he struggled with the "uniqueness of the culture" during his 24 months with Banta. He was recruited by North American Directory Corp. (NADCO)—a joint venture between Bell Canada and Courier Corp.—which wanted to construct a coldset web directory printing plant in Hazleton, PA, and was intrigued by Pilcher's experience in greenfields. Pilcher jumped at the opportunity and dusted off his hard hat to help assemble a 250,000-square-foot plant that boasted two Harris 9000Ds and a KBA Commander web press.
Trying the M&A Game
During the plant's first year of operation, it turned in $50 million in volume, but when it was sold to Quebecor a few years later, Pilcher felt it was time to move on. He found a partner and tried his hand in the M&A business. Pilcher performed due diligence, but found that his build-from-the-bottom-up mantra diverged from his partner's desire to buy and flip.
It was an educational experience for Pilcher, and he enjoyed turning around troubled businesses. He did a workout of a seized asset, a Pittsburgh-based company called Interform Corp. The $30 million business forms manufacturer and distributorship performed an about-face within five years and was sold to Champion Industries.
Opportunities seem to find Pilcher. One day, he was contacted by the owners of Freeport Press, which was struggling mightily and looking for a buyer.
"The company was upside down in serious financial trouble and was facing a bank foreclosure," Pilcher remarks. "I started doing some due diligence on it and liked what I saw. It had been in continuous operation since 1880, and had loyal customers and dedicated employees—some of whom had worked there for more than 40 years. And it had been profitable. But the owners were taking money out and not investing in it, so there was a lot of old equipment, some of it 30 years behind the times."