Graphic Technology

 

 

A Marriage Made in Heaven

 

The dot com explosion in the 90s had such a tremendous effect on the printing industry that people are still talking about it. While many smaller companies, particularly in the New York area, were struggling to find or maintain their facilities, many found it necessary to move or close their doors. This series of events was the impetus of Graphic Technology – the marriage of three cornerstone companies that felt the need to merge in order to maintain their standing in the New York metropolitan area.

 

“During the 90s, the dot com explosion hit New York City and suddenly, the landlords were more interested in renting office space over manufacturing space,” says Jim Altadonna, President of Graphic Technology. “We could have stayed where we were but since the landlords wanted to rent the buildings, we were priced out.” Faced with the same scenario as many other printers and manufacturers, three third generation printing companies decided to merge. “We all had a working relationship and we were all in the same boat,” says Altadonna. “So we sat down and worked out a structure for a new company.”

 

That’s how Albert H. Veal (est. 1928), Fenn & Fenn Unique Image (est. 1917) and Thomas A. Koppel (est. 1944) pooled their resources, picked up their companies and moved to Long Island City in 1999.

 

The Transition

 

The marriage of three companies, two plants and one pre-press facility, is not an easy task. “The city and state were great – they helped out a lot,” said Altadonna. “There were a lot of programs available to us, including an economic development area.  There were a lot of economic incentives.” A consultant was brought in to uncover what programs were right for Graphic Technology, making what might seem to be unmanageable amounts of red tape fade into a promising reality.

 

Considering that the three companies served a different market, there was no real overlap in services. This fact made the transition easier since all of the employees could be retained and the equipment could be consolidated and moved from previous locations to the new 36,000 square foot facility created to house Graphic Technology. The new company, operating two shifts per day, focuses on multi-color medium to large sheetfed projects. They also offer mailing and fulfillment with clients such as the financial, insurance and pharmaceutical industries.

 

Offering digital services often creates a learning curve but Altadonna sees it as a minor problem when considering the rewards. One addition to their repertoire was a computerized ink carousel, which takes the guesswork out of measuring and maintaining the proper amount of ink for any given job. “As much as an investment as it seems, the benefits, the quality of the product and service to the customer are paramount. If you’re a middle market, you have to invest in the technology – embrace the technology – in order to survive.”

 

Although Graphic Technology finds it important to keep up with the changing times, they choose to maintain a respect for artistic value and individuality. “I like to think that printing has an art to it,” said Altadonna. “No matter how advanced things become, I like to think that the pressmen, pre-press and color specialist put their own unique signature on the product.”

 

 

 

Operations

 

Combining forces to operate a new enterprise might seem like a daunting task. Graphic Technology has turned a potential disaster into a top-notch management team that oversees all operations. “The unique property of our business is that we have a full management team. We have four owners who come to work every day,” said Altadonna. “It honestly is management by committee. We check our egos at the door and do what’s best for the company.” Each owner oversees a specific area of the business. They include Ken MacDonald, Production; Richard Koppel, Pre-Press; Gene Fenn, Administration and Sales; and Jim Altadonna, Financial.

 

As a regional printer serving Fortune 500 companies, Graphic Technology hopes to build on their past successes and experience to further strengthen their enterprise. “I would like to see our company grow through acquisition (of other companies) or through general growth,” said Altadonna. “Through Graphic Technology, we have the experience to come in and fold another company into ours without changing the structure or compromising its boundaries.”

 

In addition to focusing on growth, Graphic Technology recognizes the value of loyalty to both employees and clients.  “We have a company here that the employees are hard working and dedicated – truly one of our biggest assets,” said Altadonna. “We’re large enough to serve the biggest client but small enough to keep a personal feel. Our clients work so hard. Everyone is oversized and understaffed these days that most are just trying to please their employers.” Altadonna and the rest of Graphic Technology take it upon themselves to help out those clients as best they can by making their tasks as easy as possible and brightening their days by dropping in to see them or whatever else it takes. And according to Altadonna, if that means going out and buying more donuts, so be it.