WOA 04 -- No Signs of Slowing Down
By Erik Cagle
At the age of 82, you would think that a day at the office for F. Edward Treis would be a weekly drop-by around 10 a.m. for a cup of coffee and some handshakes with the sales force before returning home shortly after noon.
But the chairman of the board for Menomonee Falls, WI-based Arandell Corp. is hardly a figurehead. Sixty years after friends on a sailing holiday convinced him to give commercial printing a try, he is still involved with the day-to-day operations of the company.
Suffice to say, the ship has long since sailed on Treis ever retiring.
"I liked anything that needed creativity, and I have a weakness for searching for newer and faster ways of doing things," states Treis, chosen the 2004 winner of the Harry V. Quadracci VISION award by the Web Offset Association (WOA) and Printing Industries of America (PIA). "It used to be that technology would change in a 10-year time period. Now it seems like you have new changes monthly, or in a six-month period."
The VISION award is given to a heatset web offset industry executive, printer or supplier who has "reached an unsurpassed level of excellence and achievement in the industry—a leader who has gone far beyond the standard obligations to become a dominant force in shaping the business of heatset printing."
Past recipients of the award are Harry V. Quadracci, president and founder of Quad/Graphics, the inaugural winner in 1999; Roger Perry, former owner of Perry Printing (now Perry Judd's) in 2000; John Frautschi, chairman of Webcrafters (2001); Metroweb founder Thomas Brinkman Sr. and Sun Chemical Group Chairman Edward Barr were co-winners of the 2002 award; and Jerry Williamson, chairman of Williamson Printing, garnered the 2003 award.
The award was renamed in 2002 in honor of Quadracci following his untimely death earlier that year.
A 1995 Printing Impressions/RIT Printing Industry Hall of Fame inductee, Treis joined the sales department at R&L (later modified to the single word, phonetic match Arandell). Five years later, when the owner of the company returned from vacation and announced he had found a place to retire in California, a golden opportunity opened for Treis to purchase the company.
"He said I had a month to get it together," Treis recalls of the tight time frame.
Treis grew his business while embracing any form of technology that he thought would advance print quality. By 1981, the company had grown to become one of the largest lithographic sheetfed printers in Wisconsin, producing annual reports, brochures, inserts, labels and small publications.
He decided to expand the company's offering by purchasing the E.F. Schmidt Co., which gave Arandell four-color web offset capability. The business was also relocated to a 250,000-square-foot facility, a figure that now stands at 415,000 square feet.
The move allowed Arandell to build up to its current position as one of the leading four-color catalog printers in the United States.
Treis notes that his company has been fortunate over the years to work with major suppliers on their research and development projects. It was almost impossible to avoid forging a close relationship with Heidelberg as it gained a greater share of the market.
"The big project we're working on now is a new press," Treis remarks of a Heidelberg (soon to be Goss) M-3000 web press he expects to have installed by June. "It will increase productivity by one-third, but not increase labor costs."
His industry service, among other things, has included serving on the board of the then-National Association of Printers and Lithographers (NAPL). Treis also had a passion for advancing print education, and developed a strong relationship with the graphic arts co-op program at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. He has supported the Stout program with financial gifts, as well as the donation of materials, particularly paper.
For more than three decades, Arandell has hired students from Stout's program. And Treis must have liked the initial Stout hire because it was current company president and COO, Jim Giencke.
Giencke has become like a son to Treis, who already has three sons who have taken the business torch: Donald, company CEO; James, executive vice president of sales and marketing; and David, vice president and general manager.
"My father is an innovator who always pushed the envelope with technology," states Jim Treis. "One of the reasons for our success is that he always made sure that our operations were state-of-the-art. Not just the equipment, but also the people. Because without good people, you can forget about the equipment.
"With our changing marketplace, we always need to be one step ahead and that's something he's always strived for."