Walsworth Celebrates Its 85th Anniversary With Series of Events
Walsworth CEO Don O. Walsworth and President Don Walsworth announced that their family-owned company would be spending the rest of this year celebrating its 85th anniversary. Walsworth, one of the top book, magazine and catalog printing companies in the U.S., unveiled plans for a series of events commemorating the company’s history, celebrating employees and looking forward to a bright future.
For the rest of 2022, Walsworth will be celebrating its 85 years of excellence by giving back through employee appreciation and civic investment, while continuing to encourage employees to also give back to their communities.
Current and former employees will gather at each of the company’s printing facilities for an employee event later in the year. Starting in March, the company plans to feature weekly employee spotlights on its websites and social media, showcase customer spotlights and encourage community service to build on their success and prioritize their future to show that the first 85 years are just the beginning.
As a printer with a rich history of working with schools and education, Walsworth’s focus for giving back will be on programs that promote literacy and reading, working with local programs in each of the company’s six locations, and encouraging employees to give a few hours of their time to work with a literacy program or volunteer to read.
“I’m glad to have been part of the growth that has taken us to where we are, employing more than 1,200 people and working with customers from all over the country,” CEO Don O. Walsworth said. “Our ongoing success is because of our people who go above and beyond every day, and this anniversary year is the perfect time to show them how much we value them and to show our communities as well.”
Walsworth prints millions of yearbooks, catalogs, magazines, books and more that make their way across the country and globe. The company is now:
- A top 3 yearbook printer in the U.S.
- The No. 3 book printer in the U.S. and Canada*
- The No. 4 magazine printer in the U.S. and Canada*
- The No. 31 largest printer in the U.S. and Canada*
*2021 Printing Impressions 300, Printing Impressions Magazine
Through all the growth under the Walsworth family’s continuous leadership, the focus has always remained on the people who make the company great.
“It’s the people who are part of Walsworth – employees, customers and suppliers – who make our company truly exceptional,” President Don Walsworth said. “It’s about more than the printed product for us. My grandfather’s vision has woven its way throughout our company, and we all strive to live up to the incredible legacy he created.”
Walsworth founder Don Walsworth, father to Don O. Walsworth, knew from his company’s inception that the work he was doing was more than just a job. His work, which started with printing playbills on a mimeograph and borrowed typewriter in 1937 in the railroad hub of Marceline, Missouri, was a direct extension of his values, drive and commitment to his family and community. That same commitment is still present today.
Over the decades, Walsworth has grown into a powerhouse of print, spanning locations in Marceline, Missouri; Brookfield, Missouri; Fulton, Missouri; Overland Park, Kansas; St. Joseph, Michigan and Ripon, Wisconsin, and employing thousands of individuals over the years. It changed the economic landscape of Marceline and nearby Brookfield, and the company has kept many in the area employed. The corporate offices are still located where it all began, in downtown Marceline.
The company legacy includes prioritizing community investment. Don O. Walsworth likes to say, “Our people make the difference.” That’s why multiple generations of families have worked for Walsworth, and more than 400 current employees have worked for the company for more than 20 years. They’ve seen the value Walsworth adds to their communities.
When the Marceline community proposed creation of a community center and had challenges raising enough funds, Don O. Walsworth donated money, and the Walsworth Family Foundation continues to provide ongoing financial support to keep the center running. The Walsworth Community Center ties the community together as a place for kids to go after school and for local community events, such as weddings, banquets, blood drives, flu shot clinics and more.
In Brookfield, Walsworth donated the money needed to revitalize the eastern half of Twin Parks. This park, which is a source of pride in the Brookfield community, is located in the town center and divided by Main Street. The company donation covered the construction of an events pavilion, which bears the Walsworth name. Since being revitalized, the park hosts many special events and is a regular gathering point for children and families to enjoy outdoor activities.
In Marceline and Brookfield, Walsworth also matches employee contributions to the local Marceline Community Chest and Brookfield Community Chest each year. The Community Chest organizations were set up by each town for the purpose of coordinating local organizations’ fundraising into one yearly campaign.
“The overarching mission of this organization is to create a higher quality of life, stronger business environment and greater economic opportunity locally,” Brookfield Community Chest President and Walsworth press manager Drew Elliott said. “Walsworth has always been very supportive of both the Brookfield and Marceline Community Chests over the years. The company matches each employee’s contribution dollar for dollar, which doubles the amount of each gift.”
All money stays local, and most of the organizations are geared towards helping the youth, elderly, lower income and at-need individuals. As an additional incentive, for every $5 an employee contributes, they are entered into a drawing for a bonus day of vacation. This year, 21 bonus days were awarded.
Walsworth works with organizations like Cornerstone of Care through the Overland Park office, which provides fostering, adoption and family services assistance. The office donates money and gifts to help provide Christmas gifts to children affiliated with Cornerstones of Care.
Walsworth’s Director of Strategy and Innovation, John Burgess, sits on the board of directors for Cornerstones of Care. “I am so glad that two important facets of my life can intersect in this way. The work Cornerstones of Care does is vital to the children and families in our community. That the Walsworth – Overland Park office is involved with this organization that means so much to me really cements how much Walsworth values the communities it works in,” Burgess said.
The Fulton location has donated to the YMCA Fulton to aid in building an indoor swimming pool for the community and works with their local SERVE, Inc., which provides food, clothes and transportation to those inneed.
“Over the years we have had a lot of fun coming up with ways to challenge ourselves and each other to continue or better our donation efforts to SERVE. However, each year our most treasured food drive is in honor of a longtime employee, Beverly Lepley. Bev’s generosity lives on in the annual food drive that her co-workers organize each year,” customer service manager Sara Baysinger said.
Lepley was a beloved Fulton employee who was known for her kindness and friendly demeanor. She succumbed to cancer in 2013.
Walsworth – Saint Joseph’s partnership with United Way of Southwest Michigan is 40 years strong. UWSM hosts events such as Summer Stock Up Food Drive, School Supply Spectacular Backpack Giveaway, Rake A Difference Day of Action for Seniors, Operation Thanksgiving and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance.
“Our friends, families and neighbors receive support through food assistance, mental health counseling, in-home cancer health care, early education programming, job training programs, emergency shelter services and more,” Walsworth customer service representative Kim Poole said.
Walsworth – Ripon sponsors the Ripon Summer Concert Series, which is a main fundraiser for Main Street Ripon, a revitalization effort that has been very effective in Ripon’s downtown. They also donate to the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation for upgrades to the football field in Ripon used by the high school and Ripon College.
“In Ripon we value being together as a community. Our summer concerts are free events in our downtown green space and include community members of all generations coming together regardless of the style of music or the temperature. Some of our oldest Riponites even sit in their cars and watch the concert. Our employees are both participants and volunteers whether it’s for our Walsworth-sponsored concert or the other concerts sponsored by their family or friends. Listening to music, talking and laughing together is an important part of our summers here in Ripon,” human resources manager Kelly Mundell said.
In addition to the commitments made in each community, Walsworth also sponsors a scholarship program for the children or grandchildren of employees. It’s an investment that is changing future generations, and, to date, Walsworth has awarded 210 scholarships worth over $2,382,000.
“When [Walsworth] presented us the scholarship of $16,000, we were taken aback. This scholarship will be lifechanging for our son. With the COVID-19 pandemic going on and the economy not so good, Walworth could have very well not offered these scholarships. But they stayed true to being a family business and caring for their employees’ families and offered scholarships in these trying times,” Walsworth perfect bind operator Jon Stellmacher said.
Bindery supervisor John Bell agreed with Stellmacher’s sentiments. Three of Bell’s children have received Walsworth scholarships.
“When our children received the Walsworth scholarship, it was exhilarating and provided a great sense of relief knowing that part of their college education is funded. This is an extremely competitive scholarship and tremendously generous of the Walsworth family. We hope they know how much it is appreciated,” Bell said.
The preceding press release was provided by a company unaffiliated with Printing Impressions. The views expressed within do not directly reflect the thoughts or opinions of the staff of Printing Impressions.