2013 Hall of Fame : Frank Defino Sr. - Printing's Heavy Hitter
"Frank Defino is a true pioneer," Landa says. "...not only because he was one of my first Indigo customers 19 years ago, but because Frank has been at the forefront of the digital printing revolution ever since. He and his super-creative team at Tukaiz were at the cutting edge of personalized printing and were the very first to produce many of the individually-targeted, digitally printed products that have become commonplace today.
"I recently visited Tukaiz and was surprised, though I shouldn't have been, to find that nothing has changed, by which I mean of course that everything has changed," Landa adds. "Frank is still the first to try the newest thing—today Scodix, tomorrow...who knows? But Frank Defino's pioneering legacy goes far beyond technology. Tukaiz itself is a testament to Frank's avant-garde management philosophy: people first, second and third. That's why employees at Tukaiz talk about themselves belonging to the Tukaiz family. As do I. And what a privilege."
Barbara Pellow, group director for InfoTrends, adds that true visionaries are few and far between, and notes that Defino exemplifies a person with phenomenal market insight and vision. "His entire career has been one of always being the person with the big idea that would transform his business," she notes. "Whether it was being the first company to get into digital color, adding large-format, providing cross-media and mobile apps or blending in video, Frank was always ahead of the curve. Clearly, he has been a driving force in making Tukaiz into one of the leading marketing services companies in our industry."
Tukaiz implemented a multimedia division and began adding six-color UV in-line commercial sheetfed presses from Heidelberg in the mid-to-late '90s. After the turn of the millennium, the company began populating its floor with wide-format digital flatbed and rollfed devices for generating point-of-sale and point-of-purchase printing. In recent years, Tukaiz developed its own proprietary Web-to-print software, called Backstage, and now employs a crew of 30 solely for the purpose of database management and software development.