Craig Dellinger, president of New Haven Print in Fort Wayne, IN, has been named 2011 Printer of the Year by NAPL/NAQP. The company, which has 18 full-time and eight part-time employees, has long been a bastion of cutting edge technology in the Heartland.
Dellinger’s interest in printing first emerged in 1976 when he took a graphic arts class in high school. The class led to a part-time job at a local printing company and weekly newspaper. After working his way through college at the shop, Dellinger graduated with a degree in Electronic Communications, but by then the ink was in his blood.
In 1982, the printshop and newspaper were sold and Dellinger went to work for Jack Butcher at Budget Print. Six months later, the previous company closed and Butcher changed the name of his company to New Haven Print & Copy, which was shortened to New Haven Print in 2010. Over the years, Dellinger’s talents grew and developed until he gained the position of general manager.
“About 10 years ago, Jack’s two sons Randy and Steve and I started acquiring stock in the company. Jack retired soon afterwards,” Dellinger explains. “Randy manages the bindery and press department, Steve is the vice president and HR manager, and I took the role of president and focused on technology and sales.”
That role is a good fit because Dellinger seems to have an innate understanding of the kind of technology that will help the company move forward profitably. “In 2002, after we built up our process work, we purchased a Ryobi 525hxx with an aqueous coater. That completely changed our world. Then, when we purchased our Xerox iGen3 about four years ago, the digital world took off. We’re actually doing more digital than offset work now,” he observes. “We have always tried to be on top of any new technology that hits our industry,” he points out. “We had Macintosh computers before they were cool; CTP before anybody was sure it was a good idea. We’ve always kept up with innovations in our industry, and a lot of that information came from being involved in the NAQP.”
Dellinger started attending NAQP conferences in the early 1990s. “Membership in the NAQP, and now NAPL, has always been very important,” he states. “It wasn’t as easy to figure things out before the Internet took hold, so you relied on personal contacts with other people in the industry. Even with the Internet, listserves, and email we have today, I still value the friendships that have come from being a member of the association. You can’t compare talking with somebody via email with sitting across from them in a hotel lobby, laughing and crying about our industry. There have been a lot of really special people involved with the association over the past 30 years and I feel privileged to have met a lot of them.”
Never content to sit on the sidelines, Dellinger felt the need to give back to the association and to the industry. “I was elected to the NAQP board about eight years ago,” he says. “Soon afterwards, we started negotiations with NAPL to merge. As part of the merger agreement, I was also placed on the NAPL board of directors. I just started my third three-year term this summer. I also still serve on the NAQP board of governors.” He was inducted into NAPL’s Soderstrom Society four years ago.
Dellinger also gets involved on a local level. He has served on the board of the Fort Wayne Advertising Federation for the past seven years, including a stint as president. In May, he was honored with the American Advertising Federation Silver Medal Award. He serves on several boards and commissions in local city government and is a board member of the New Haven Chamber of Commerce.