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The Best & Brightest

Sep 1, 2006 12:00 AM

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At a special banquet on March 2, 2005, the National Assn. for Printing Leadership (NAPL) (Paramus, NJ) presented 20 graphic communications companies with 2005 Management Plus awards. The event was held during NAPL's Top Management Conference in Orlando, FL. Awards include the William K. Marrinan Hall of Fame award, as well as Gold, Silver and Merit awards.

Management Plus allows graphic communications companies to analyze specific areas of their operations, as a tool to judge individual management performance against industry standards. After completing a self-analysis, companies may choose to enter the awards competition based on their results. The Management Plus program is sponsored by AMERICAN PRINTER, MAN Roland and Compass Capital Partners.

In part I of II, AMERICAN PRINTER spoke with the recipient of the William K. Marrinan Hall of Fame award and a Gold award. Next month, we will share three more Gold award winners' stories.

Something to crow about

These “Change champions” are still on top. (See “They came, they managed, they conquered,” August 2004.) Continuing to tackle the challenge of change, president and COO Joan Davidson added a title (chairman of NAPL) and continued to lead The Sheridan Press (Hanover, PA) through a consolidation, sales growth, hiring new employees and installing new equipment. It's been a busy year.

After an extensive run at the Management Plus awards and several winning years, the William K. Marrinan Hall of Fame award is the ultimate honor in the competition. Davidson, however, continues to look ahead: “If there is one thing you learn about this program, it is that no one should let their guard down on believing they have accomplished or achieved the ultimate success. Every year you must exceed your prior year's results, and this takes continued analysis and effort. The program guidelines provide the structure and discipline that we will continue to follow, year after year.”

Why did the chicken need a press?

In 1915, The Sheridan Press was called Everybody's Press and published Everybody's Poultry Magazine, about show chickens. In the 1960s Champ Sheridan purchased the company and shifted focus to printing scientific, technical and medial and scholarly journals, the company's current specialization. Sheridan Reprints, the article reprint division, was launched in 1984. Sheridan Digital was created in 2003 and has expanded each year.

Primarily, the 200,000-sq.-ft. Sheridan Press is a MAN Roland shop. Recently the company purchased two Roland 700s as well as a Komori eight-color press. The company also uses a Heidelberg DI press for article reprints. Its digital division, started in 2003, runs two black-and-white Heidelberg (now Kodak) Digimasters and a Xerox iGen.

The newest addition to the equipment lineup is a recently installed Kolbus binder. “We already had one,” notes Davidson, “but this new one is 80 percent faster, and we purchased one just a couple years ago!”

November will bring a Timson black-and-white web press that will be used for journals that are either all or mostly monochrome, Davidson notes the company's current equipment can handle paper only down to a certain weight. “This new web press opens a market for high page count, all black, high run lengths and lower weight basis paper.” The press is expected to be up and running in December 2006.

Party like it's 1915!

Last year marked The Sheridan Press' 90th birthday. As part of the celebration, the company had a party for its employees and their families. It published a 12-page piece giving the history of the company and its employees. It also located old magazines from the early days of Everybody's Poultry Magazine, along with photos of employees from the past 90 years. These finds now decorate the halls of the recently completed 50,000-sq.-ft. administrative expansion.

Coping with consolidation

As Davidson mentioned last year, one of the greatest challenges is continuing sales growth year to year (her personal goal is a five to 10 percent growth per year), and this year was no exception. The company grew 2005 sales by five percent and already 2006 sales are up 25 percent.

With the consolidation of Sheridan's sister company, reaching that goal was even more pressing. The two companies served the same market, had a joint sales force and shared some of the same customers. “You're not creating the wheel two times,” Davidson explains. “From a business sense, we needed to consolidate and put it all under one roof so all our customers can benefit from our technologies.”

The consolidation was announced January 3 and all the customers, many of whom were long-term partners dating back 10-20 years, were transferred in 60-90 days. Davidson admits it was a busy few months. “Nobody ever likes to have a plant close, but the customers were very supportive and helpful with the transition.”

The biggest challenge has been to hire additional employees. The $60 million company has grown from 450 to more than 500 employees in just a few months. “I believe our ability to handle this challenge shows the strength and depth of our organization,” says Davidson. “Some organizations would have crumbled with this consolidation — we've focused on what is important and kept the employees updated on our progress and what we needed to do. Constant learning must continue so that our success continues. Once the consolidation was completed, we identified the ‘lessons learned’ so that our team understands what we did well in planning and executing this major challenge, but also where we need to improve our procedures for the future. There is always room for improvement.”


Carrie Cleaveland is assistant editor for AMERICAN PRINTER. Contact her at

Where's your inner leader?

Joan Davidson has a management book club to rival Oprah's. Every year, she chooses a business book and she, along with 50 supervisors and managers, will read it and meet for discussion.

They've already covered several of John Maxwell's books, and in a continuing theme, they're tackling “Developing the Leader Within You.” The book examines different leadership styles, and it outlines principles for motivating and inspiring others in your organization, a trait Davidson describes as “critical in management.”

2005 NAPL Management Plus award winners

William K. Marrinan Hall of Fame Award

The Sheridan Press, Hanover, PA; Joan Davidson, president and COO (over $25 million in sales)

Gold awards

Z3 Graphix, Lenexa, KS; Kelly Schoen, CEO ($1 - $5 million in sales)

Action Printing, Fond du Lac, WI; Robert Carew, president, ($10 - $25 million in sales)

Daily Printing, Inc., Plymouth, MN; Don Bergeron, vice president of operations ($10 - $25 million in sales)

Patented Printing Co., Inc., Dayton, OH; Dick Westfall, CEO ($10 - $25 million in sales)

Nies/Artcraft Companies, St. Louis, MO; James Finger, II, president and CEO (over $25 million in sales)

Silver awards

Bradford & Bigelow, Inc., Danvers, MA; John Galligan, president ($10 - $25 million in sales)

Bloomington Offset Process, Inc., Bloomington, IL; Thomas Mercier, president and CEO ($10 - $25 million in sales)

Classic Graphics, Charlotte, NC; David Pitts, president and owner ($10 - $25 million in sales)

The EPI Companies, Marietta, GA; William Woods, president and CEO ($10 - $25 million in sales)

Harding Poorman Group, Indianapolis, IN; David Harding, CEO and president ($10 - $25 million in sales)

Western Graphics, Inc., St. Paul, MN; Tim Keran, president and owner ($10 - $25 million in sales)

All-State Legal, Cranford, NJ; Robert Busch, president and CEO (over $25 million in sales)

ColorDynamics, Allen, TX; Charles Chalifoux, president (over $25 million in sales)

Hammer Packaging, Rochester, NY; James Hammer, president and CEO (over $25 million in sales)

McArdle Printing Co., Inc., Upper Marlboro, MD; Lisa Arsenault, president (over $25 million in sales)

Merit awards

Wordsprint Inc., Wytheville, VA; Bill Gilmer, president ($1 - $5 million in sales)

Dome Printing, Sacramento, CA; Tim Poole, president (over $25 million in sales)

Omaha Print, Omaha, NE; Steven Hayes, president and CEO (over $25 million in sales)

The Johnson Group, Rockford, IL; Tonya Meister, vice president (over $25 million in sales)

All about Management Plus

Honoring executive excellence for more than 20 years, NAPL's (Paramus, NJ) Management Plus program helps participating graphic arts companies evaluate themselves against their peers. The two-part program requires entrants to first complete a comprehensive self-evaluation form, which requests details on the company's financial performance, internal control systems, marketing/sales plan, vendor relations, business planning, human resources, environmental concerns, quality control and community/industry affairs.

The second, optional part of the program involves submitting the results to the annual Management Plus competition. Entries are judged on how well they rate in the above areas compared to companies of similar size. Merit, Silver and Gold winners are selected based on their scores. The William K. Marrinan Hall of Fame award is bestowed on companies that have won several Management Plus awards over successive years.

In addition to the award, the Hall of Fame inductee and the top Gold award winners in each category (there are five categories based on sales volume and one for in-plant printers) will present scholarships to the graphic communications schools of their choice. The scholarships are funded by NAPL and the Management Plus sponsors.

The deadline for entering this year's competition is November 3, 2006.

For more information, see