NEW EXECUTIVES - At the Helm
Thomas earned his undergraduate degree at Kenyon College (OH) before obtaining a law degree from the University of North Carolina. He says his idea of an effective executive requires someone who is determined and externally focused.
"In our business the pace of change is absolutely unbelievable," he stresses. "The one question I am constantly asked is, 'Where are we heading and what are we going to be when we grow up?' In a leadership position, you are the one person who can provide a destination or a clarity of purpose that your customers can understand and that your internal associates can understand."
Barbara J. Wolak
Robot Printing & Communications, Redford, MI
Barbara Wolak's business strategy is best described as pedal to the medal. That foot on the floor aggressiveness has helped her company see an increase in sales from $13 million in fiscal 1998 to $18 million in 1999.
In October of this year, Wolak led Robot Printing & Communications' acquisition of Trade Graphics, and the company is looking to expand even further. It has already broken ground on a 70,000-square-foot plant that will open in the spring and hopes to reach its sales goal of $50 million within two years.
Not bad for someone who readily admits she doesn't have ink in her blood.
"I had to become mechanically inclined over the years," laughs the 49-year-old, Dearborn, MI, native. "You don't find too many women with machinery like we have here."
Nor men, for that matter. Robot Printing recently purchased a 10-color, 40˝ Heidelberg Speedmaster 102 perfector and a six-color, 40˝ Speedmaster 102 CD LX with in-line coater. The sheetfed presses are part of Robot Printing's desire to be a one-stop destination for its customers.
"Anything you want to communicate, we can do," Wolak points out. "We can print it, we can put it on a CD, we can put it on their Website and we can e-mail it. We also do a lot of programming and offer a cross media workflow for our clients."