1. Tell us a little about your company, the segment of the market it serves, and who you consider to be your “core” users.
Fujifilm Graphic Systems is a division of FUJIFILM North America Corp. and is the nation’s largest distributor of equipment, consumables, and technical service for the graphic communications industry. We have created a comprehensive portfolio of products and provide solutions for workflow, process control, remote monitoring, color standardization, prepress and pressroom products, CTP and plates, proofing, digital printing, and wide-format and we’re uniquely able to bring these products and services together.
We view our “core” users as both offset and screen printers as well as sign, display, and packaging printers and have developed a wide range of solutions.
2. How did you get involved with the company? What is your background before that?
Before joining Fujifilm in August 2006, I spent 23 years at Kodak in various sales and sales management positions for graphic communications products in the US and abroad. My most recent role prior to coming to Fujifilm was director of strategic partnerships, where I was responsible for building and managing business relationships with industry leaders.
3. What do you consider your greatest achievement in this market to be?
In the mid-1990s, I was involved with the introduction of one of the industry’s first thermal CTP plates. I worked with the team on virtually every aspect—from the development of the plate to the creation of the sales strategy to launching the plate into the marketplace.
In our work, we were tasked with understanding what our customers’ requirements were, how this new technology fit with those requirements—and into the industry as a whole. Over time, our efforts helped establish thermal technology as the standard for the industry and I was really proud to have been a part of that.
I feel like I have that opportunity again, as Fujifilm readies for the US launch of the new Fujifilm Digital Inkjet J Press 720. It’s a new technology. It defines and fills a new niche and is something that’s going to change the way printers do business. We know what our customers’ requirements are and know that this new device will meet those requirements and we’re looking forward to the J Press 720 making its debut at Graph Expo 2010 in October.
4. If there was anything you could change, either about your career in regards to the print industry, your company, or the market as a whole, what would it be and why?
There are two things that come to mind. Several years ago, I was fortunate enough to work outside of the US, overseeing the graphic arts business for Kodak in Stockholm, Sweden, as general manager of Nordic Region. After that assignment ended, I had the opportunity to come back to the US or to work in another part of the world on another assignment. I opted to come back to the States. But, given the expansion of our business into a more global market, I think I could have benefited from some additional experience and time abroad.
Secondly, I wish I could’ve stayed more involved in the education side of the graphic arts. My background is in education and I taught graphic arts at both the high school and college levels. While I enjoyed that, I eventually opted to take a sales position with an industry manufacturer. I’ve missed being in the classroom from time to time; it was both exciting and rewarding knowing that I was playing a part in helping students build the right skill set, explaining to them why our industry is such an important one, and preparing them for their future careers.
5. What do you consider the greatest challenge to be for the industry now? Why?
Without a doubt, the greatest challenge for the industry is the economy. The effects of the current economic storm are being felt by manufacturers, printers, and end users alike and everyone is focused on working as efficiently and effectively as possible in an effort to weather this current climate.