Industry Up-and-Comer: Tony Cotrupi, Kirkwood Printing
Tony Cotrupi, an account executive at Wilmington, Mass.-based Kirkwood Printing, was exposed to the industry from a young age. His father worked in printing before moving into advertising, and he has memories of spending time in the print shop as a child. “I remember always being fascinated by how many moving parts were involved — the smell of ink, paper rolling through the press, etc. For me, a finished press sheet was like magic.”
Fast forward to when it was time to decide what Cotrupi wanted to do for a living. He notes that he tried a few different professions, before landing at a local commercial print shop that a friend’s father owned. “I think growing up around the industry made it somewhat feel like home,” the 29-year-old says.
“I fell in love with taking ideas and turning them into tangible marketing tools. There is something about being able to touch a piece of communication that’s becoming even more impactful in this age of digital everything,” he points out. “The power of print is truly remarkable in how it can communicate a brand’s message, and that is something that always keeps me coming back for more.”
One of the things Cotrupi enjoys most about being part of the graphic arts industry is that every day is a new challenge, with new people and something new to learn. “At any given point in the day I could be researching new leads, closing a deal, quoting a project, meeting with new clients/existing clients, being on-press, making prototypes, writing proposals or responding to RFPs and even, at times, printing or delivering a job. I aim to stay as nimble as possible throughout the day, so I can properly assist clients’ needs and ensure every project is a success.”
Cotrupi also loves that he gets to work on the “sexy stuff” in print, with a wide range of unique projects for some discerning brands. “With this type of work, my clients call me from the very beginning of each project and it allows me to be part of not only the production process, but the creative as well. Being involved at that level has really created some meaningful and trusted partnerships over the years.”
Looking forward, Cotrupi hopes to either move into a management position or start his own print shop in the next 10-15 years. He also sees several areas of the industry he would like to change, a big one being the need for more platforms to educate people and build more interest in print as a career.
“I’ve seen a rapid decrease in trade schools offering printing and, when you walk into a pressroom, it becomes clear there are not many young adults in the room. If our industry is going to continue to grow, there is going to have to be a work force to support it,” he says.
To discover other industry up-and-comers and read their stories, read Industry Up-and-Comers: Foundation for Succession from the April issue of Printing Impressions.