2007 Printing Industry Hall of Fame —Fearlessly Embracing Technology - Gary Samuels
As for Gary Samuels, life began quietly enough. He spent his formative years on Long Island, NY, where he enjoyed playing high school sports and spent his summers life-guarding on the Atlantic Ocean. Samuels graduated from New York University in 1976, where he earned degrees in marketing and business administration.
While he appeared to be pre-ordained to enter the printing industry—after all, his father Jay owned Pictorial Offset, which was founded by grandfather Harry—this third-generation Samuels actually pondered being a partner in a ski shop business. But the genetic tug was too great to ignore.
“I’d always wanted to go to college and follow in the family business,” says Samuels, who remembers sitting in his grandfather’s lap at the office as a child. “Plus, I had a very motivational father.”
Knee Deep in Adversity
It wouldn’t take long for the Samuels boys to find themselves knee deep in adversity. Their father’s passing came only a year after the company had moved from New York. Compounding matters was a dog of a press installation that was crippling Pictorial Offset. The lemon-flavored hardware installation caused two major accounts to look elsewhere for their printing needs.
In a very short time, the Samuels mourned the loss of their dad, fought to make a name for themselves with a skeptical client base, took the press manufacturer to court and learned how to run a printing establishment. Those first three years at the helm, according to Samuels, were quite tumultuous.
“Our clients all said, due to our inexperience, that as long as we delivered on time with a quality product, they would continue to support us,” he says. “Our entire family is extremely grateful to the loyalty that was exhibited by our customers.”
By handling adversity early on, including dealing with labor relations issues, Samuels developed the executive skills needed to thrive in the hotly contested New York Metropolitan market. When the fear of bankruptcy subsided, he was able to focus attention on technology and the parallel learning curves for both the shop floor and the clients.
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