PRINTING INDUSTRY VETERANS — LASTING IMPRESSIONS
Unfortunately, as Yogi Berra might say, not all progress has been progressive.
“To me, the workers were more dedicated years ago. They had more interest in their job and were more conscientious,” he says. “They do a lot more moving around today. That’s probably an old-fashioned point of view.”
Ed Webb, 56
Vice President/Sales Manager
The Kelly Companies
Ed Webb earned printing technology and management degrees from Montgomery College and West Virginia Tech. But his education has come from a variety of resources.
Webb has spent 39 years working in and around the Baltimore-Washington, DC, area, beginning with a stint at Jarboe Printing in the District, where he worked the camera and helped with stripping and platemaking. Upon finishing school, he served a seven-year stint at Merkle Press, another DC shop, before venturing to Peake Printers (now Peake DeLancey) in nearby Cheverly, MD. It was there that Webb was exposed to the world of mergers and acquisitions.
“They wanted to explore opportunities…I got to know people like Harris DeWese and Ronnie Bray, who exposed me to what was going on in the industry,” Webb notes. “They showed me more about the printing business in five years than I had learned in the first 25.”
Webb had the opportunity to move on to French-Bray in Baltimore, where he spent four years as president, before taking on his latest challenge as vice president of sales for The Kelly Companies in Cheverly. It’s been an interesting (and educational) run for Webb, who has learned about what not to do as much as what should be done.
“It was a good idea not managed well,” Webb says of the M&A revolution. “It was the right idea, but it was done too fast and created too much debt.”
He can’t complain, however, having had the chance to work in lithography, negotiate labor contracts and sit in on arbitration hearings. And it wasn’t without a little courage that Webb addressed a room full of union members at their meeting and told them that cuts were being made to staff.