20-40 Visionaries — Young Turks Set the Pace
Such was the atmosphere Joel Quadracci was born into; consider the pressure he must have felt upon entering the family business after graduating from Skidmore College in 1991. He earned a degree in philosophy and assumed a role as the next generation to carry on the company’s fine tradition.
“I fully recognize that I was born into a unique situation,” he says. “From an early age I was exposed to people, experiences and opportunities not afforded every person. And because of that, I recognize I have an obligation to give back to others, starting with the employees of Quad/Graphics.
I’m most motivated by seeing people live up to their full potential.”
He worked in a number of production and administration roles throughout high school and college. After graduating from Skidmore, he entered the company’s Administrative Training Program, then carved out a sales niche.
Like his father and grandfather before him, Joel Quadracci is an ardent believer in the power of ink on paper. “I love the printing industry,” he says. “Putting ink on paper is a fascinating process because the technology is always changing. Furthermore, the products we produce are dynamic. No two product lines are ever alike, and I find it extremely rewarding to help find solutions that build on ink on paper’s viability as a medium.”
In 1999, Quadracci was recognized by the Milwaukee Business Journal as one of its top “40 Under 40” young executives across the entire business sector. It comes as no surprise that his father molded his core value beliefs and insights into managing a company.
“My father was gifted at business because he was gifted at interacting with people and building relationships,” he says. “If there’s one piece of his wisdom that remains with me today, it is this: Have fun, make money and don’t do business with anybody you don’t like. He would always say, ‘When you know people, you can trust people and trust is the foundation of successful business. If you don’t like somebody, it’s probably because you don’t trust them.’ ”