NAQP Printer of the Year: Keith Kemp

Keith Kemp, president of Xerographic Digital Printing in Orlando, FL, is the National Association of Quick Printers (NAQP) 2009 Printer of the Year. He was selected by the NAQP Awards Committee, which solicited nominations from members. The committee was chaired by Dennis Trump of Trump Direct in Decatur, IL, and met by conference call September 1.

Kemp entered the printing world straight out of the University of Texas when he landed a sales position with Kodak. After five years in the corporate world, he decided he would prefer working for himself. He had moved to Orlando through his job with Kodak and eventually became a partner in Xerographic, which had been one of his largest clients and was the leading copy provider in the Orlando area. When he joined the company in 1994, it had nine employees and was an all Kodak shop.

At that time, Xerographic was mainly providing copy services to law firms and doing overflow office copying. It began to branch out in 1994 with the purchase of its first Xerox DocuTech. That purchase was the first move in a process that would eventually make Xerographics an all Xerox shop. Today, the company has three iGens, two Nuveras, and two 6135s. It is an all-digital operation with a full compliment of bindery and finishing equipment. It also provides wide-format services, which it began offering some 10 years ago. The shop uses a PDF workflow and also does variable data, database management, and mailing services. Sales for the 32-person operation are expected to be around $5 million for 2009.

Early on, Kemp realized the benefits of association support and joined NAQP. After volunteering for various projects and positions, he was selected to the association’s board and worked his way up the ladder until he was named NAQP Chairman at the 2004-2005 Owners Conference in Chicago.

It was during this time that NAQP was exploring a merger with the National Association of Printing Leadership (NAPL), which finally culminated in 2007. Under the merger agreement there would be five NAQP members on NAPL’s 33 member board and one on its Executive Planning committee. That same year, Kemp was inducted into NAPL’s Walter E. Soderstrom Society, which honors and recognizes individuals in the printing industry who have significantly contributed to the development and progress of the graphic arts. This year, Kemp takes over as NAPL Chairman.

The NAQP Printer of the Year award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated the ability to operate a successful printing business, demonstrated the vision to embrace new technologies and services, exhibited a commitment to community groups and industry organizations, and served as a role model for future generations of printers.

Honorary Lifetime Member

Jim Colt of Colt Print Services in Boulder, CO, was selected as an Honorary Lifetime Member. Colt founded the company as Colt Reproduction Center in 1974 after an eight year career with Xerox. The operation started out with one press and one copier and has grown to a full service digital print provider, which is consistently ranked in the Quick Printing Top 100 and has been in the forefront of the adoption of digital technology.

During the 33-year history of his company, Colt has been an active member of NAQP and has unhesitatingly offered to share his knowledge with his fellow printers. In 2006, he offered ownership of the company to four key employees. That transition will be complete in 2011 when they will become full owners of the company.

Recently, the company changed its name to Colt Print Services to better reflect the services it provides. While he is not active in the day-to-day operations, Colt remains the majority owner and works closely with the new partners. He also has shared his experience and methods of transitioning the business with other NAQP members who are interested in eventually turning over operations to their employees or family members.

The NAQP Honorary Lifetime Member is awarded for consistent contributions and demonstrated leadership both within the association and the industry at large.

Industry Award of Distinction

Mike Stevens, former owner of Express Press in Fargo, ND, has been selected for the 2009 Industry Award of Distinction for contributions to the printing industry by a non-printer. He is the founder of the Ink, Inc. newsletter and runs WebsitesForPrinters.com and MaretingIdeasForPrinters.com. He recently bought the Printowners listserve, which he currently oversees.

Supplier of the Year

Konica Minolta Business Solutions has been named 2009 NAQP Supplier of the Year. The award goes to a member supplier company which has demonstrated consistent and outstanding products, service, and/or support to the quick and small commercial printing industry during the previous year.

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