After 77 years in the print industry, Pauline Gindlesperger, 94, is retiring from e-LYNXX Corporation where she has been a key advisor and corporate officer since the firm was formed as ABC Advisors in 1975 by her son, William Gindlesperger, chairman and chief executive officer of e-LYNXX.
Prior to forming ABC Advisors, the Gindlespergers had grown their print firm to be the largest print supplier for the federal government. The name change to e-LYNXX from ABC Advisors occurred in 1999.
Today, e-LYNXX is recognized as a leader in procurement innovation. Supply & Demand Chain Executive magazine has named e-LYNXX one of the top 100 procurement firms in North America in 2009, 2010 and 2011 and William Gindlesperger as one of the most influential procurement leaders in the United States and Canada in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
"I am really proud of my son, our company and the e-LYNXX staff," Mrs. Gindlesperger said. "We are making a difference in a way that is helping others. We help our clients become more profitable. That, in turn, keeps them in business and provides jobs. That's really important in today's economy."
"My mother was supportive as I formed ABC Advisors and then e-LYNXX, and her advice has been invaluable as we have grown over the years," said William Gindlesperger. "She has been a key advisor as the company evolved from working with printers, assisting them to win work from the U. S. Government Printing Office, to the significant services that we now offer to assist print buyers in the United States and Canada to improve their print procurement process and reduce their costs for procured print at the same time."
Mrs. Gindlesperger remembers the print industry before the benefits of e-mail, the Internet, digital photography, digital printing or even photocopying. Less than a couple of decades back, she recalls how every proof had to be snail mailed, hand delivered or picked up. Communications was by landline phones or in person. Edits often required someone with a steady hand cutting out copy with an XACTO knife and then pasting down the correction. Photos were processed in darkrooms using chemicals. Faxes were sent using landline phones that required synchronization by the sender and the receiver. U. S. mail was the way to send and receive letters and packages.
She also recalls when the print industry embraced large rotary presses that could print millions of copies a day. The rotary press feeds a continuous stream of paper through drum-shaped cylinders and was much cheaper to operate than any of its predecessors. Printers also were beginning to use smaller jobbing presses – more agile, less cumbersome to set-up than the rotary press. Letter presses capable of printing small-format pieces such as letterheads, business cards and envelopes also became popular. Offset printing was not yet widely used and linotypes and hand-set type were called modern.
A true revolution for the print industry occurred with the introduction of the photocopier by Xerox in 1959, Mrs. Gindlesperger said. About 15 years later, in 1975, IBM came out with the first high-speed laser printer, the Model 3800, for the business market, and, Mrs. Gindlesperger said this had a real impact on small jobs that otherwise would have come to a professional printer. The first mass-market household model photocopier was the HP LaserJet, which was released in 1984, and that too cut into work that would have been brought to a print shop.
However, Mrs. Gindlesperger said photocopier and fax machine advances pale compared to what has happened since the Internet was introduced in the 1990s. "We are so use to instantaneous communications now, we think nothing of it," she said. "The speed with which we can send e-mails with attachments, like proofs, is mind boggling. The Internet era has hurt and helped the print industry. Printers are so much more efficient today because of it. However, so is everyone else and the need for printed documents is on the decline. Look at what has happened with the U. S. Post Office because it raised its prices and caused the drastic drop in direct mail pieces."
Mrs. Gindlesperger admitted that at first, she was very skeptical about computers. "Now, I have to be pulled away from mine," she quickly added. "The computer is like my lifeline to the rest of the world. Our business certainly has changed because of them."
Computerization makes it possible for e-LYNXX to provide the sophisticated and innovative services that it offers to printers and print buyers today – a business very different from the family's print business back in the 1960s and 1970s.