Awards Gala Pays Tribute to Industry Excellence

More than 230 people attended the annual Hall of Fame & Gold Ink Awards Gala Monday night. Celebrating its 29th year, inductees into the 2013 Printing Impressions/RIT Printing Industry Hall of Fame included:

Frank Defino Sr., Founder and CEO, Tukaiz, Franklin Park, IL

Defino is recognized by his peers as a pioneer in building a successful, multi-faceted media production business. He is dedicated to providing clients with the best talent, innovative ideas, and the latest advancements in technology. With this approach he has turned Tukaiz into a nine-building, 200-employee campus.

William Fitzgerald, Partner and CEO, Universal Wilde, Westwood, MA

In 1998, Fitzgerald started his own company, Graphic Services, which acquired Universal Press from Quebecor in 2005. A year later, Fitzgerald bought United Lithograph from Cenveo. In 2007, the company merged with Millennium Printing, which had acquired Daniels Printing from Merrill Corp. In 2011, he bought Wilde, a full-service agency and mailing company. Today, Universal Wilde posts $150 million in sales.

Robert Lothenbach, Founder and President, Imagine! Print Solutions, Minneapolis, MN

Lothenbach is one of the most amazing success stories in the printing industry. He started his own company in a garage with one borrowed press and $1,800. The business grew rapidly, and during the past 25 years, Imagine! has become nationally known as one of the most progressive and fastest-growing printing companies. It now generates $200 million in sales and employs 850 people.

David Pilcher Sr., Owner and President, Freeport Press, Freeport, OH

In 1998, Dave Pilcher Sr. purchased a near bankrupt company, the Freeport Press. Joined by his two sons, David Jr. and James, the company has grown into a high-quality web offset producer generating $35 million in annual sales and heralded for its lean manufacturing practices.

Also honored were the 2013 winners of the annual Gold Ink Awards printing contest. With nearly 1,000 entries received among 48 different categories, the Gold Ink Awards has gained international prominence. As voted on by the banquet attendees, who were able to peruse each of the top Gold Award-winning pieces, the People’s Choice Award winner was announced.

A special tribute was also made by Mark Michelson, editor-in-chief, in the memory of longtime Printing Impressions Technology Editor Mark Smith, who died last January from cancer following a lengthy career as an accomplished journalist covering the graphic arts industry.