Honoring Pursuit of Excellence, Quality
I always look forward to this special issue that pays tribute to the Printing Impressions/RIT Printing Industry Hall of Fame inductees and the Gold Ink Award winners. It acknowledges both individual career achievement, as well as the total group effort that’s typically required for a printing company to produce an award-winning piece.
Hall of Fame honorees look back to the mentors who helped shape their careers and to those talented staff members who have, and continue to, contribute to their ongoing business success. Likewise, the creation of a Gold Ink Award-winning piece requires the pursuit of excellence by all departments within a printing company.
A similar, unwavering pursuit of product innovation, high-quality print production and leadership by example, have remained common attributes among all Hall of Fame honorees for the past 32 years that we’ve been recognizing and inducting them. So, too, has their ability to overcome various forms of adversity. This year’s class is no different.
Take Laura Lawton-Forsyth — the fourth generation to lead Lawton Printing — who had the misfortune to take over the reins as president of her company just one month after 9/11. Losing half of its sales in the aftermath and forced to lay off workers, she learned valuable business lessons such as making hard choices, when needed, sooner vs. later.
Similary, Andy Lyke had to overcome the business challenges of leading Ripon Printers through the “Great Recession” that followed the stock and housing markets crash. Sales dropped, while company health care premiums soared more than $1 million in a three-year span.
Tom Metzger has also propelled Metzgers to success, despite overcoming personal tragedy. Tom’s brother, Joe —who served as president and was himself a 2010 Hall of Fame inductee — died in 2014 at age 50 following a long battle with cancer. Their older brother, Dick, succumbed to cancer in 2004 at age 50, as well. Tom admits to still feeling their loss, but credits a strong support system at home and at work in helping him battle through the grief and remaining focused.
Zarik Megerdichian faced hardship at an early age. When he was just 12, his family relocated in Iran to flee the Iran-Iraq conflict. Zarik eventually immigrated to the U.S. at age 26 with only a high school diploma. Starting out as a driver for a messenger company, he has built 4over into a $200 million trade printing powerhouse. That’s what I call overcoming extreme odds and adversity to personify the American Dream.