These 20-Under-40 Up-and-Coming Printing Industry Executives Share Their Success Stories
Kowa-Morelli counts her father, Thomas—Huston Patterson's chairman and CEO—as having a great influence on her from a business acumen standpoint. Steve Frantz, the company's COO and a 50-year veteran of the printing industry, has served as a repository for a remarkable volume of knowledge.
"There are a lot of mentors in the packaging side of the printing world," she says. "I try to take away pieces of what everybody says. There are some amazing people in the industry who are just a phone call away."
Her efforts have not gone unnoticed. In 2012, the Label Printing Industries of America (LPIA) honored Kowa-Morelli with its LPIA Emerging Leader Award. The Business Journal of Mid-Central Illinois also chose her for its list of "20 people under 40 who make a difference in Central Illinois."
Family ties run deep at Huston Patterson. In addition to working with her father and brother, Kowa-Morelli's husband, Joseph, is the firm's vice president of sales. The couple has two daughters, Josephine (5) and Gabriella (3), and a newborn son, Gianluca.
John Sommers Jr., 28
President and CEO
Printing is, in the words of John Sommers Jr., located at the inflection point between art and science. It deals with the subjectivity of color, devising solutions and working with creative marketers. Printing also entails the limitations of physics and the substrates that are being employed. It's where the manufacturing process meets the artistic flair of its creators. And Sommers is fully engaged in this world.
A 2009 cum laude graduate of Stonehill College in North Easton, MA, Sommers worked in the plant since the age of seven. In his younger years, he mowed the lawn and did some painting and hand work. Sommers worked his way through the plant as a prepress and press operator, then in estimating, production planning and marketing. A four-year stint in sales preceded his elevation to president and CEO.