20-40 Visionaries — Young Turks Set the Pace
“I’m the fourth generation to run Lawton Printing,” she notes. “We’ve got almost 100 families depending on the success of this business, and I’ve got a huge responsibility to our employees and their families to make this succeed. I can’t do it on my own, but I can be a driving force to make sure we’re doing everything we can to make this a successful business.”
Taking the reins of the general commercial printer wasn’t always in the cards for Lawton-Forsyth. Upon graduating high school in Spokane, she set out for the University of Denver as a business major, considering a future in hotel/restaurant management.
Two years later, Lawton-Forsyth felt she wanted to give the commercial printing industry a try, so she transferred to Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, CA, where she attained a degree in graphic communications with a concentration in print management.
Lawton-Forsyth worked in the company’s File-EZ business full-time after graduating, tending to customer service for the producer of report covers, portfolios and the like for office supply and back to school markets. She switched over to Lawton as a scheduler in the commercial printing division, which does chamber of commerce directories, then eventually oversaw the publications division. She became company president in 2000.
“Growing up in the business enabled me to know a fair amount about it coming in,” says Lawton-Forsyth, who worked at the company while in high school and college. “I worked in the bindery, all different areas, so I knew how things worked. Cal Poly was a very hands-on school; they had us run presses, work in the bindery and do conventional stripping, back when it was still done. So when you’re talking to production people, you have a good concept of how things are physically done.