This year’s recipient of the Web Offset Association’s Harry V. Quadracci VISION Award might seem like an obvious choice, due to some family connections. Yet, it’s been hard work, determination and technological innovation that propelled Thomas A. Quadracci to the top of America’s largest privately held printer, not his last name.
Quadracci will be presented with the eighth annual VISION Award on May 22 during the WOA conference. The honor was named after Quad/Graphics’ late founder and Thomas’ older brother, Harry Quadracci, who was the inaugural recipient in 1999.
The timing of the award also couldn’t be better. Currently, chairman and CEO of Quad/Graphics, Tom Quadracci has decided to retire at the end of this year—a date coinciding with the company’s and his 35th year employment anniversary. “I believe it is the appropriate time to transition leadership to the next generation,” he says.
Harry’s Quadracci’s son, Joel Quadracci, assumes the president and CEO post effective July 1. Tom Quadracci will serve as executive chairman of the board of directors until fully retiring from the company on December 31.
As the son of a printer, Tom Quadracci grew up surrounded by the graphic arts industry. His father started a small business in his family’s garage, which became the W.A. Krueger company, a leader in the early days of web offset.
“I really got some ink in my blood during a strike that the company went through while I was in college in the late ’60s,” says Quadracci. “I was enlisted to work in the pressroom and, after a few weeks, became a first pressman on a six-color ATF web press.”
But it was marine biology, not printing, as the career path Quadracci had envisioned. He graduated from Regis University in Denver, with a B.S. degree in biology and psychology, and then moved to California to study organic chemistry at Stanford University.