Hall of Fame--A Major Leaguer
"Frankly, we weren't very competitive," Bracken states. "Both the union and the company went through some tough negotiations, and both sides gave in a lot."
While Danner Press was able to right itself, another challenge was ready to rear its head. The company's primary market, the education niche—where inventory was being held in check more than ever—was moving more and more toward short runs. Danner Press was designed as a long-run company, which did not bode well for Bracken and his associates. A decision was made to build a facility that could handle the short runs while leaving Danner Press to tend to longer runs.
Enter fellow 2000 Printing Industry Hall of Fame inductee Oscar Carlson, then the CEO of the Beddor Group under owner Frank Beddor, himself a former Hall of Fame inductee. Bracken and Carlson began negotiating the sale of Danner Press to the Beddor Group, and the sale was completed in 1983. That paved the way for Bracken, in tandem with the Beddor Group, to construct The Press of Ohio. The company was sold to Hess Management Co. in 1991 along with Danner Press and the D.B. Hess Co.
"Where we used to have 100,000, 200,000 and 300,000 print runs, almost all at once they became runs of 25,000, 15,000 and 10,000," Bracken comments. "We didn't have the necessary equipment and our people weren't trained to handle these shorter runs. That's how The Press of Ohio was developed."
Secret of Success
And what has enabled The Press of Ohio to grow so quickly? The Hess management team invested in construction and equipment to support Bracken's vision for growth in the company, as they have with Danner Press and D.B. Hess Co.
"I've been a part of two great companies that are both still growing today," Bracken notes. "Employees are number one in the scheme of things. Buildings are important, but nothing's more important than your employees and your management team."