Friday, February 27, 2009

My background information (more than anyone would ever want to know)

A former associate who visited my blog today (after I threatened to smack him upside his head if he did not visit my blog) suggested to me that I should provide at least some of my background information for visitors who visit my blog, just so they will know that I'm a real crackpot, not just a pretend crackpot.

Fast Facts:

Graduate of the University of Maryland, B.S. 1970, Accounting major.
Earned my C.P.A. certification in 1975.

First reprographics company I worked with (Rowley-Scher Reprographics*, which is now part of ARC's MBCPI "division") - 1970-1988 - I joined the company when our annual sales revenues were $90,000. I retired from the company when our annual sales revenues were $26.8 million. And, yes, I worked in virtually every position in that company; my last position was Chairman/CEO. In late 1985, we took our company public (we traded on Nasdaq National Market System), and in 1988 we sold the company in a LBO (my partners and I cashed-out and I retired not too long after we sold the company; Citi-Corp Venture Capital funded the LBO acquisition of Rowley-Scher.) During my tenure with the company, we completed approximately 14 different (mostly small) acquisitions, mergers and dispositions. At my first company, our FM (On-Site) business segment was quite considerable. Our first 24 FM's (On-Site programs) were all "staffed" FM's. [*Actually, I began my career with Silver Spring Blueprinting; name was changed to Allied Reproduction Service, then was merged into Rowley's Blueprint Service, a couple of years after Rowley's merged with Max Scher Blueprints.]

Second reprographics company I worked with (National Graphic Imaging - NGI) - 1997-2007 - I joined the company when our annual sales revenues were approximately $5.5 million. By bequest of the company's CEO (Martha, our guiding light), my title was Senior Vice President and my informal title was "Chief Business Strategist".) Our last reported annual sales revenues [as reported by the public company (ARC) that purchased our company) were $23.0 million. NGI's growth was purely "organic" (i.e., no acquisitions; we simply never got around to doing any.) Like at my first company, NGI's FM (On-Site) business segment was quite considerable. I "cashed-out" and "retired" from NGI when we sold the company in December 2007. TGWSNGIWWD!

In between my two "extended" careers in the reprographics business:

I was, for a period of about 16 months, the Director of Business Development for a "national" company that offered only "large-format digital color printing and finishing services." That position gave me great exposure to the then developing large-format color services business segment. That company had 8 locations around the U.S (literally, from the east coast to the west coast.)

And, I was, from Jan 1997 until I joined NGI in Oct 1997, the Chief Operating Officer of T-Square, a very well established company that operates in South Florida (purchased by ARC a couple of years ago.) I enjoyed my time at T-Square - Jeff, Rusty and Jose are great people - but when Martha Korman of NGI recruited me to join NGI, how could I possibly have resisted?

And, prior to getting back into the reprographics world, I spent about 18 months screwing around in the contract textile screen printing business as the hired President and COO of a small public company that provided apparel screen printing services to companies you've all heard of - including Disney Theme Parks, Disney Stores, The Gap, Banana Republic, Bugle Boy, Gotcha, Mossimo, Redsand, OP, Quicksilver and several companies who distributed T-shirts in the music industry in support of traveling rock concerts. We also printed T-shirts for licensees who had licenses for entertainment properties, such as Batman and The Simpsons. We were, at the time, the largest volume contract textile screen printing operation in the U.S. Altogether, our plants in Georgia, Alabama and California had the capacity to produce (we we often did produce) 50,000 dozen printed T-shirts per week. Quite a nasty, cutthroat business, IMHO.

I'm a native of Washington, DC. But, I've also been fortunate to live in other places, including Corona del Mar, CA (Newport Beach area), Nashville, TN, Tampa, FL and St Petersburg, FL. I've had the opportunity to travel a lot over the years; I've been to 47 of our 50 states (not yet made it to Montana, ND or SD.) I've also traveled to most of the countries in Europe, including several eastern European countries.

My only hobby? Well, that would be the reprographics business and industry. I don't play golf or tennis. While all of you were out playing, I was studying the business and industry! Having been fortunate to cash out of the buisness not just once, but twice, I can tell you, first-hand, that hard-work, commitment, passion and homework do pay off, provided you get a little bit of luck (and have partners and key associates who are smarter than you.)

My mentors in the reprographics industry include the following people:
Gerson ("Gus") Nadell (b.1917-d.2007). Gus was my first "professor" in the reprographics business and had a major impact on my career in the reprographics business.
My ex-partner John Zeller. I have yet to meet, in 39 years in business, a person who was more devoted to superior customer service (and dedicated, reliable performance) than John was.
My ex-partner Gary Rowley. He was a "master" at marketing and sales. I feel blessed to have had the privilege to learn from Gary.
Bryan Dyer, who recently retired from Lellyett & Rogers. L&R is based in Nashville, TN. When I reflect back over my career(s) in the reprographics industry, Bryan's name stands out, for he is one of the smartest people I've ever met.
My ex-partner Martha Korman. Martha was NGI's secret weapon (at least, that's how I referred to Martha.) Martha's natural ability to network and develop relationships at the highest levels, opened doors to us, creating significant selling opportunities.
Some of my friends in the reprographics business were also mentors, even though they may not be aware that I consider them to be among my mentors - Bill Thomas of Thomas Reprographics, Sol Magid of National Reprographics (NRI), Paul Koze, formerly of Blueprint Service Co (San Fran), Jack Cushing, formerly of Cushing & Co. (Chicago), Tog Rogers, the "older" one, formerly of Ridgway's (Houston). And, last, but certainly not least, Mark DiPasquale, former CEO of Service Point US Operations and now CEO of Archimedia Solutions Group (Mark is more than 20 years younger than me; have you ever heard that old saying, "one is never too old to learn?" Well, I learned a lot from Mark, who is young enough to be my son.)

Industry Associations:
Our first company was a member of MiniMax. Our membership in MiniMax gave me great exposure to leaders of businesses in the reprographics industry, country-wide.
Our first company was a co-founder of ReproCAD (which, after merging with MiniMax, is now ReproMax.) At one point in time, my first company owned 20% of ReproCAD's stock (3 shares out of 15.) ReproCAD's first real President, Mark Sirangelo, left ReproCAD to join Rowley-Scher. What an amazingly smart young man.
Both of the reprographics companies I was with were members of the IRGA. If you are not an IRGA member, you're not just a fool, but a complete idiot. I can't possibly tell you how much I learned from being a member of the IRGA. The networking experiences are truly invaluable.

Okay, that's more about me than anyone would ever want to know.

1 comment:

  1. Joel-I am flattered to be included amongst so distinguished group. I also learned a great deal from your mentors.