Bravo! Entrepreneur Award winners – 2007: Donald Krause, National Graphics Inc., Brookfield

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:43 pm

Donald Krause specialized in commercial art at the Milwaukee Trade & Technical High School before becoming a journeyman in prepress.

Krause was attracted to the printing industry because it reproduced commercial art.

“I’ve always had an interest in art,” he said.

After completing three apprenticeships and holding three journeymen cards as a lithoartist, lithostripper and cameraman, Krause entered the prepress industry. He worked for a prepress company before launching his first business, a hand-painted sign company.

“I thought I had some skills,” Krause said. “I left the prepress to learn a new skill. I’m always interested in learning something new.”

Krause then launched his own prepress company in 1976, National Graphics Inc. With only one other employee, Krause sold signs by day and did his prepress work by night.

However, working two full-time jobs and raising a family led Krause to dedicate his time to the prepress industry and leave his sign business behind.

Nine years after its founding, the company had grown to more than 50 employees. In 1985, Krause purchased a former school building in Brookfield to accommodate his rapidly growing company.

National Graphics was doing well. Then the Apple Macintosh computerarrived and moved color separating and pre-press craftsmen from working at tables to desktops.

Krause stayed on pace with the new trend and trained his craftsmen in the new technology. However, with the Mac’s arrival, prepress began to become obsolete. As requests for prepress declined, Krause began to look for a new direction for his company.

In the late 1980s, Krause re-focused his company on the emerging technology of lenticular production.

Lenticular images show depth or motion as the viewing angle changes

The move into a new specialty probably kept the company alive.

“In 1990, there were about 35 high-end prepress companies in Milwaukee,” Krause said. “Now there are two. Most of them have gone out of businesses or adapted their business to do something else.”

In March, Krause moved his company into a new 62,000-square-foot facility to accommodate in-house manufacturing.

 

Address: 12855 W. Lisbon Road, Brookfield
Web Site: www.extremevision.com
Industry: Lenticular imaging
Revenues: 10 percent growth in 2006
Employees: 25

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