Paul Strack Named NAQP Printer of the Year

Paul Strack, owner of CustomXM in North Little Rock, AR, has been selected the 2013 NAQP Printer of the Year. Formerly known as the Quick Printer of the Year, this honor is presented annually to the quick or small commercial printer who exemplifies the best of the industry. It is the highest award the association can bestow. The award is presented in cooperation with Quick Printing and is based on business success, use of new technologies, service to community and industry organizations, and professional and business integrity.

Founded as Custom Printing in the early 1960s by Strack’s parents Ira and Mary Lee, the company has transitioned from a traditional offset printing company into a digital communications operation, Custom XM. According to Strack, over the years the company has undergone five expansions and, in the early 1970s, became the first commercial printer in the area to embrace the then-new “direct-to-plate” technology. A few years later the company became the first to install high-speed copiers. Stack joined the company in 1990 after a five-year career in public accounting and auditing, which he says gave him insights into how different individual businesses really are. “That has helped me better understand our individual customers’ needs and requirements,” he says. “That has contributed to our continuing growth in sales and profits, as has applying advances in printing technology while delivering value to our customers.” For several years the company watched as traditional printing was modified and reinvented by the digital revolution. “Instead of resisting these changes,” says Strack, “we embraced the new technologies to insure that we could continue to provide our clients with the communication tools they need to succeed. In short, to help our clients grow their business, we had to transform ours. So began our transition from Custom Printing Company to CustomXM.” Obviously, the integration of digital printing, database technology, and the Internet has forever changed the face of marketing, moving clients’ marketing needs beyond simple print jobs.

“We soon realized that our value to our customers was based on being able to offer them cutting edge technologies that enabled them to develop and track very sophisticated marketing campaigns,” says Strack. “We realized that our traditional role with our clients was changing. Instead of being seen as just a resource for commercial printing services, we are now a one-stop shop for cutting edge marketing solutions.”

Custom XM has invested in state of the art digital printing capabilities that position it as a regional leader in variable data printing and one-to-one marketing. The company has the capability to integrate online marketing with printed products, and its digital storefront allows customers to place orders, review proofs, send files, and manage their inventory from their desktop computers.

Strack is active in several community organizations and Custom XM has won a number of business and community awards. He has served several years on the NAQP Owners Conference Planning Committee, two years as chairman. His advice to fellow printers and business owners is basically “get involved.”

“You need to be active in the community and the industry,” he says. “You can’t just join. I know it sounds like a cliché, but to get back you have to give back.”

As far as NAQP is concerned, Strack sees the major benefits as the opportunity to network with other printers and the ability to learn from them. “That’s where I learned about variable data printing and becoming a marketing service provider,” he says. “Right now we are looking at signage and wide-format, which are areas where we’re a little behind. However, that is a natural progression and a good opportunity and I have learned a lot about it from my fellow NAQP members.”

Strack, who is married with four children, will receive his Printer of the Year Award during the 2013 NAQP Owners conference in Nashville, TN, November 7-10, 2013. Supplier of the Year, Product of the Year, and the Industry Award of Distinction will also be presented during the conference.


Industry Award of Distinction

John Foley, founder of interlinkONE and Grow Socially in Wilmington, MA, will be honored for his visionary approach in designing Internet business applications that meet the changing needs of the dynamic print and graphic communications industry. First presented in 1987, this award is bestowed to an educator, supplier, member of the trade press, author, or other non-printer who has supported and advanced the quick and small commercial printing industry.


Supplier of the Year

PrinterPresence by Firespring, Lincoln, NE, is a provider of website solutions for the printing industry with more than 3,000 clients on five continents and a continuing commitment to education within the association and in the graphic communications industry. The award is presented to a member supplier company demonstrating consistent and outstanding products, service and/or support to the quick and small commercial printing industry during the previous year.


Product of the Year

The OKI proColor Series by OKI Data Americas, Mt. Laurel, NJ, includes the new OKI pro910MP digital color envelope printing system for high volume and production quality output. The award is presented to a company that has produced a new or enhanced product during the past year that improves product offerings, profitability, or customer service in the quick and small commercial print market.