Hall of Fame--A Major Leaguer
One person who fully appreciates how much Bracken cares about people is Steve Carson, president of Carson-Dellosa Publishing in Greensboro, NC. It was Bracken who took Carson under his wing when the latter was getting into the supplemental education business; the production and distribution of elementary school aids for teachers.
"He's been a great mentor to me and I look up to him, call him for advice when I need it," Carson says. "His greatest asset is his ability to deal with people. He's known for his honesty and forthrightness. He's not only our biggest and best supplier, but he's one of my best friends and someone I have great respect for.
"He's also a lot better than me at golf," Carson adds.
Bracken has been a longtime member of the Web Offset Association, and in recent years has held several executive posts, including vice president and president. Along the way, his company was an early adopter of automatic splicers and was among the first companies to welcome one-shot hotmelt applicators and ink-jet printers. Keeping up with these innovations, Bracken believes, has allowed his companies to remain competitive.
Bracken is drawn to the numerous and varied challenges he faces on a daily basis. Obviously he has already weathered a storm or two, but as it translates into baseball-speak, Bracken just took it one game at a time. (Golf, not baseball, is now his present and future recreation of choice.) It helps that Bracken genuinely enjoys his work.
"I can't wait to get to work every day," he says. "When you have almost 500 employees, you have a collage of issues and challenges you deal with every day. I get up every day for the competition—it gets tougher all the time, but it changes all the time. That's what drives me."