Craig Dellinger, NAPL/NAQP Printer of the Year
A 5C Ryobi press at New Haven Print
Craig Dellinger, NAPL/NAQP Printer of the Year
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.
Speaking about the industry around which he has built his professional life, Dellinger notes: “I’ve seen very major changes in our industry over the past 35 years. It’s hard to believe it’s even the same industry. We can’t just be commodity printers anymore; we have to offer services that other shops in town aren’t pushing. I fully expect to keep growing our company. I can’t say for sure what we’ll look like in five years, but I’m sure it will involve even more digital and less offset. We plan to take advantage of any technology that can help our customers and maintain market share for us.
“We’re doing more and more variable work and fulfillment type work. We’re building Web storefronts for national companies to furnish marketing materials for all their dealerships. Those types of customers are great because once you own the websites, materials, and experience, it’s hard for somebody else to come and eat your lunch. I’m sure that will continue to grow and evolve. We develop PURL campaigns and websites for customers.
“Another important service we provide is education for our customers. We try to be the go-to guys when they have a problem and need help figuring it out. We hold yearly Adobe software seminars and are part of the Adobe Influencer’s group. We hold lunch-and-learns on various topics, recently including how to use QR codes.
“Our main focus with sales is in identifying companies that fit our capabilities and developing relationships with them. I think, to have a future in our business, we have to build relationships with customers, not just sell the cheapest copies.”
Lifetime Membership: Charlene Sims
Charlene Sims owns The Master’s Press in Dallas, TX. Her company was founded in 1976 out of a desire to better serve clients’ needs. The same ebullient spirit that built a successful 35-year-old company spills over into her service to NAQP, and now NAPL. Active in the association for many years, including a stint as president, she is currently the immediate past chairman of the NAQP board of governors and a member of the NAPL board of directors.
Industry Award of Distinction: Chuck Slaughter
Chuck Slaughter is Key Accounts manager for Konica Minolta Business Solutions USA who focuses on the small commercial and franchise printing segment. In that position, he has been instrumental in facilitating special pricing and equipment package deals for members of NAPL/NAQP. He has been a tireless advocate for the small commercial printing community.
Supplier of the Year: WebsitesforPrinters.com
WebsitesforPrinters.com provides full service website design and maintenance created specifically for quick and small commercial printing companies.