2012 Hall of Fame: Mike Graff - Answering Print's 911 Call
Perhaps one of the toughest parts of Graff's job is reconciling the optimistic salesman side of his persona with that of the cold realist manager. "Sometimes, you have to shift from being an optimist to a realist, because what you see isn't pretty," he notes. "You can't just say, 'We're going to sell our way through it.' "
The realist in Graff is also mindful of the impact his decisions have on the lives of his employees, as well as their families. But, that's not necessarily a bad thing, either. He feels indebted to them on many levels.
"Nothing makes me happier than when we have a family event at the company," he says. "Picnics, barbecues, cleanup events around town. When I see the kids and spouses of the people who work with us…it means everything to me to know that we can make their lives enjoyable. But, that responsibility also keeps you up at night; you carry it with you, even on weekends or on vacation."
Tim Fischer, a senior vice president with NAPL who has known Graff for nearly 10 years, feels it's easy to be a fan of the Sandy Alexander executive, given his infectious enthusiasm for the industry.
"Mike is one of the smartest people I know in terms of his knowledge of print, and his ability to bring creative solutions to customers and prospects," Fischer relates. "His enthusiasm and passion for the business is infectious. Mike is respected as a thought leader among his peers, and is considered a fair and thoughtful leader among his colleagues."
Aside from his work with Hutcheson/G7, Graff is involved with the Web Offset Association and serves on the board of New York University's graduate program for graphic communications. He's also a familiar face on the trade show and conference circuit as a speaker. "If they ask, I usually volunteer," Graff admits.