Wisconsin Printers — Serious ’Bout Their Printing
“These schools have provided the state’s printing companies with a great talent pool of highly educated employees trained specifically for our industry,” he says. “I believe the schools within our education system...truly help bring quality minds to our companies. These students leave school understanding the technology that is driving our industry and are excited about being part of this new digital age.”
Chris Carpenter, president and CEO of Sun Prairie-based Royle Printing, echoes Marek’s sentiments, noting that printing has become a family heritage. “Choosing a career in printing was and continues to be generational, sometimes spanning across three or four generations,” he says. “Yes, our industry and the technology we employ have advanced greatly, but we still rely on the experience and passion of our employees to delight our customers.”
One advantage printers enjoy here is the recognition by the state government of the industry’s importance to Wisconsin’s economy. Joel Quadracci, president and CEO of Quad/Graphics, sees a strong public-private partnership between the printers and Gov. Jim Doyle. The printer has invested more than $300 million in equipment and a new plant in Wisconsin in the past three years. In turn, the state provided Quad with up to $3 million in tax credits for creating as many as 750 jobs related to investments made since 2004.
Another perk offered by the state is an initiative for promoting lean manufacturing, according to Quadracci. Roughly half of the $1.5 million that has been earmarked for the 2007-09 budget is for the Manufacturing Extension Program, which will provide support services to companies getting started in lean manufacturing, according to Quadracci.
“Having a state government that recognizes the importance of printing and the need for economic growth is very important to our long-term success,” he adds.
On the topic of state government, Gregg Davies—president of Action Printing in Fond du Lac—notes that Wisconsin’s business taxes are among the lowest in the nation due to property tax exemptions for manufacturing machinery, computers, inventories and pollution control equipment. The state also offers tax credits for reduced energy usage in manufacturing and R&D expenditures, Davies reports.