Just a Minute with Michael Wilson


Company address: 1918 MacArthur Road, Waukesha, WI 53188
Company Web site: www.graphics-factory.com
Industry: Commercial printing
Number of employees: 32
What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?
"We upgraded our offset printing technology and computerized our bindery equipment."
What’s new at your company?
"We installed a 30-pocket computerized saddle stitch that sets up in less then two minutes. A new 6 color 23"x29" offset press with aqueous coating and complete computer controls. Pre-flight software accessible via our Web site for customer file transfers, automatic pre-fighting and soft proofs, all in less then two minutes. Xerox DocuColor with variable data. "
Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?
"We have added three additional employees this year and plan to add two more in October. We plan on adding all new mailing equipment in 2005 and purchasing an 8,000-square-foot warehouse.
What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?
"I think the challenges that we face are the same for all printing companies today. To continue to upgrade all equipment to meet the customers’ demand for faster turnaround times and control costs. I think Graphics Factory accomplished that in 2004."
What’s the hottest trend in your industry?
"Variable data printing and mailing services."
Do you have a business mantra?
"Always be innovative."
From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?
"Two people. The first is my father. He was also in the printing business for 45 years. The second person is a friend’s father. I watched everything he did from the sidelines. He’s the one who inspired me to start my own printing company in 1977."
What was the best advice you ever received?
"My friend’s father told me to never work for an hourly rate and never be the producer. What he meant was, don’t put yourself in a situation where you produce the income, like a doctor or attorney who bills an hourly rate. He also told me to surround myself with the best people, which I have."
What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in your career?
"It was 1970’s and I was working for a printing company in downtown Milwaukee. The Performing Arts Center asked me to print some stage money – $5’s, $10’s and $20’s. I laid out one of each on an 8.5×11 sheet and printed 500 sheets of green bond in black ink. At the time, we were printing this project, in walks a FBI agent. This company produced business cards for the agents in Milwaukee. He asked what we were printing. I laughed and said, ‘Money, today. ‘ He said, ‘Let’s see one.’ He looked it over and stated that I wouldn’t fool a blind man. I told him it was just stage money, and he left. About 2 hours later, two FBI agents walk in with a warrant for my arrest for counterfeiting. It took me 15 minutes to convince them that I meant no harm."
What do you like to do in your free time?
"I would like to race Indy cars, skydive and do extreme mountain skiing, but I don’t. I play golf with my best friend and wife, Kathy. Next would be playing golf with my kids, and last thing would be playing golf with anyone that will play with me."

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