Consolidated Graphics: The Dukes of Digital
Commercial printing is alive and well. Sure, it doesn't look exactly the way it did 10 to 15 years ago, and technology has stretched its definition like Silly Putty. But, perhaps the industry has gotten too wrapped up in definitions; after all, some companies have taken great pains to hide their printing roots with nebulous monikers that are meant to conjure up the visage of a single-source solution provider. And printing just happens to be part of that solution.
Printing is still part of the solution at Consolidated Graphics (CGX), the $1.2 billion commercial kingpin based in Houston. But people are an even bigger part.
Joe Davis, president and CEO of the 10th largest printing enterprise in North America (based on the 2009 Printing Impressions 400 rankings), likes to surround himself with energetic, enthusiastic and intelligent folks. It bothers Davis that he doesn't know every employee, of which there are about 5,500 at CGX. But, he knows the quality of people in his employ thanks to the due diligence performed by his M&A staff over the years—previously Chris Colville, and now Jim Cohen.
Saying that people are the most important asset at a printing company reeks of trite indulgence. But not for a firm that invests in a Leadership Development Program, an initiative that seeks out the brightest and hardest-working young men and women from American campuses nationwide to mold them into future CGX executives.
And if the "people first" mantra was merely lip service, then the company's second annual emerge technologies conference—which attracted upward of 750 customers and was complemented with displays provided by 30 industry suppliers (including HP, Kodak and Adobe)—was unnecessary.
But it is at the intersection of people and technology that you will find the kingdom of Consolidated Graphics, and emerge was just one way in which the company is building on its empire.