Coffee Break with Karl Fritchen, President, QuadTech, Inc. a subsidiary of Quad/Graphics

Company address: N64 W23110 Main St., Sussex, WI 53089-5301
Company Web site:
Color and quality control systems for the commercial, newspaper and packaging printing industries
Number of employees:
507 worldwide (368 Americas/139 International)
Company’s annual revenues:
$93 million
Associate degree in electronics from Control Data Institute
Wife, Beth, and sons, Joshua and Matthew

What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year? 

“As an industry leader, we’re always looking for ways to improve ourselves and our offerings to our customers. In the last year, we saw there was an excellent opportunity to make an impact in the packaging marketplace which prompted us to make a strategic acquisition of a company based in Ireland. This acquisition brought to us an advanced technology that is a perfect compliment to our existing product lines and offerings. Also, more important than the technology are the people that came to us through the acquisition. They are a great group that has really helped to take our innovation position in our industry to a whole new level.”

What’s new at your company?

“As I mentioned, the addition of our Ireland operation has helped us to sharply ramp up our sales and presence in the packaging industry. While this isn’t an entirely new industry for us, QuadTech never had a deep footprint in packaging. As a result of our acquisition, in a very short time we have become a serious competitor. Our core competency as a business will continue to be the innovation of technologies associated with the printing industry to help ensure that our customers have greater quality control and increased print production. We felt that this was a time in our industry where we could separate ourselves from the pack with the depth of new product introductions.  As a result, we have been very focused on new product innovations and launches to help our customers during these economic times.”

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?

“As part of our recent acquisition, we will work to grow our Center for Packaging Excellence, which is in Limerick, Ireland. To accomplish this, we will be looking to add engineering talent to our facility there as well as creating an engineering support team for this business in our facility in Sussex. As far as investments go, we’re always open to opportunities that may be able to help us to responsibly grow our business. However, our first priority is to make sure that we continue to offer products and services that not only meet, but also exceed our customer’s expectations.”

What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?

“Our industry has not been immune to the challenges of our economy. We have customers that are struggling to find ways to keep their businesses financially viable. As a result, we have taken the attitude that this environment has created a unique opportunity for us to look for new ways to get closer to our customers and to help them through these tough times. Our success is based on the success of our customers; so we’ll do everything we can to help them in this current economic climate.”

What’s the hottest trend in your industry?

“To be honest, many areas of our industry have taken a ‘hunker-down’ approach to the economic challenges with which they are being faced. It is our responsibility to work with them to identify the opportunities for them to improve their financial performance or to market themselves differently and differentiate themselves in the market.”

Do you have a business mantra?

“Life is all about choices, and attitude is everything! I use this phrase in and out of work to help put things into perspective. There will always be new challenges, be they in our business or personal lives. The attitude you choose to approach that challenge is up to you as an individual. If you see the challenge as an opportunity to try something new and attack it in a positive manner, people get excited and follow that behavior.”

What was the best advice you ever received?

“Don’t chase money … let money chase you. The intent of the message my grandfather told me when I was 16 years old was to work hard, and that the rewards I earned would follow if I had done so.”

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