John Berthelsen, President of Suttle-Straus to Retire, Ted Straus to Take the Helm
WAUNAKEE, WI—October 10, 2014—Suttle-Straus, a regional marketing solutions provider, announced today that the company’s president, John Berthelsen, will be retiring at the end of the year, bringing to an end a remarkable career of over 35 years of company and industry leadership.
Berthelsen joined Suttle-Straus (formerly Suttle Press) in 1979 as general manager. "To say it was a poorly organized, cramped and demoralized operation is putting it mildly," he said of the then $375,000 revenue commercial printing company. Under Berthelsen’s leadership, the company has grown revenues to $37 million, been profitable every year; and has won "The Best Workplace in America" award 14 times, most recently in 2013.
During Berthelsen’s long tenure with Suttle-Straus, the printing industry has experienced huge changes, and in recent years major challenges from competing industries. However, the company has continued to grow, be profitable, and produce printed materials of outstanding quality, winning a North American Printer of the Year award, among many others. Suttle-Straus’ aggressive utilization of Web-to-print technology advances have substantially enhanced its capabilities and client relationships, positioning the company as a top marketing solutions provider in the region.
"No matter how much John and his team accomplished, there was always more to do; more to learn," noted Joe Truncale, president of the National Association for Printing Leadership. "Knowing that self-improvement ends at the onset of self-satisfaction, John worked to imbed a culture of continuous improvement which ran throughout his entire company. And when it comes to selfless industry service, it is difficult to imagine anyone as involved and invested in industry organizations, education and causes than John."
"I’m very proud of the team and organization that has been so successful over these past many years," added Berthelsen, "It has been a very gratifying and fulfilling journey, and now it is time to move on to a new phase, and let the next generation take the reins."
In addition to Suttle-Straus success, Berthelsen has been committed to community, industry, education and economic development. Organizations nationwide have recognized him for the excellent service and guidance he has provided them. Notable recognition of Berthelsen’s accomplishments in this area include these awards: Graphic Arts Leader of America, Edgewood College Leadership Award, and Lifetime Achievement Award. Berthelsen has also been inducted into the 2014 Printing Impressions/RIT Printing Industry Hall of Fame.
"John is a true visionary leader whose contributions to the printing industry are immeasurable," explained Michael Makin, president and CEO of Printing Industries of America. "Dedicated, principled and pragmatic, his influence was unparalleled. A true champion of champions."
Berthelsen will become the chairman of Suttle-Straus and serve in an advisory capacity to the management team. Ted Straus, 43, current executive vice president and COO, will transition to the president of the company on January 1, 2015.
During his tenure in this position, Straus transitioned the company from a commercial print provider to a dynamic marketing solutions company, with leading technology applications.
"I’m very pleased to have Ted lead our organization," explained Berthelsen. "He has been a visionary and an astute business leader, effectively integrating state-of-the-art technology into our organization. These qualities, along with his energetic, collaborative management style have enabled Ted to play a key role in establishing Suttle-Straus as a leading marketing solutions provider."
Straus is a 21-year veteran of the industry. After graduating from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1993, he joined Straus Printing, his family’s business, with the goal of transitioning the organization into the digital age. He led the implementation of an end-to-end digital workflow solution along with the area’s first computer-to-plate system.
When Straus Printing was sold to Suttle Press in 2001, and renamed named Suttle-Straus, Straus joined the company’s senior management team as vice president of technology. He focused on several major initiatives including the development of Suttle-Straus’s e-commerce system and management information system. Under Straus’ leadership, the company became an industry pioneer offering web-to-print systems that reduced turn times by more than 80 percent. In 2007 Straus launched a companywide continuous improvement program that focused on enhancing the customer experience. Nearly 90 percent of the company’s team members have participated in at least one process improvement initiative during the past two years.
"Ted Straus is a well-respected contributor to the industry and the community," said Matthew Gonnering, CEO of Widen Enterprises. "His leadership has propelled Suttle-Straus into consistently meeting increasingly dynamic customer demands. Widen and Suttle-Straus offer complimentary technologies and customers have benefited from that connection. The market looks forward to accelerated technology progression and continuous customer focus from Suttle-Straus under Ted's leadership."
Straus commented on his new position: "To lead Suttle-Straus has been my longtime dream and is a true privilege. Suttle-Straus has and will continue to be an organization that listens to its clients. Through our operational excellence, passion for continuous improvement, and outstanding team members, we will continue to deliver customized, easy-to-use marketing solutions. I couldn’t imagine a better time to lead this organization."
In 2012, Straus received his MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business. Straus is an active participant in the Madison community serving on the boards of both the Oakwood Foundation and the UW Carbone Cancer Center. He has also served on the PIA Continuous Improvement Board and is a member of the NAPL Soderstrom Society.
Straus will be the fourth-generation Straus family member to lead the organization.
Suttle-Straus is a marketing solutions provider serving the Midwest markets with bundled packages of services, from creative development and technology through print and distribution. Specifically, e-commerce Web-to-print solutions, one through six-color sheetfed and web printing, variable data imaging, digital printing, grand imaging and distribution. The company specializes in corporate communications, direct mail, and advertising materials.