2009 Printing Industry Hall of Fame: A Forward Thinker
"We traveled as far as our bikes would take us," he recalls. "You were lucky to have a car and nobody had two. You mostly took the street car or the bus. Everything was located within a two-block area, and that's where we stuck around."
Hayes' earliest memories in relation to printing include watching a parade in downtown Omaha; passing through the fourth floor pressroom to enjoy a bird's eye view of the festivities. But printing as a career...well, Hayes never ruled it out, but he didn't give it much consideration. In fact, he hadn't given any vocation much thought at all. Sure, the idea of law school was intriguing, but after attending the University of Northern Colorado (on a football scholarship; the team went undefeated in 1969), Hayes was ready to go to work.
Not Quite as Planned
"My father was more interested in finding me a career than I was, which is why he put me to work in the basement, filling office supply orders and melting old linotype slugs," Hayes says. "My famous line to him: 'I'm only going to work at Omaha Print until I find a better job.' Well, I've been here 37 years, and I've got a pretty good one now."
Most of Hayes' early work involved office outfitting. The supplies division was more sophisticated, and offered more sales and better margins. The printing end was relegated to business cards, business collateral and letterhead. But, around the mid-1980s, the big box superstores started to spread their wings and try to penetrate big retail office supply companies and national concerns.
When Hayes took the helm of Omaha Print in 1991, he decided it was time to re-evaluate the company's business model. The firm exited the office products business and sold off some of its continuous business forms equipment. It moved some of its collators, opting for roll-to-sheet.
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