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Joe Davis of Consolidated Graphics - winner of the 2010 CEO of the Year Award

Published on October 4, 2010

Randy Davidson:  Randy Davidson, CEO of WhatTheyThink and we just completed at the University Club tonight our presentation of the CEO of the Year.  We had five finalists and the winner this year was Joe Davis, CEO of Consolidated Graphics.  And we’re going to publish this in the coming week and I wanted to get Joe while was still excited and ask him his thoughts about winning and being the 2010-2011 CEO of the Year for the industry. 

Joe Davis:  Well now, I would say this; I’m very, very excited and it’s a very big thing to me, quite frankly.  As I said tonight in the presentation that you’re being voted on by your fellow printing executives around the country; it’s really an honor and it’s humbled me actually to win this award.  So I’m very, very pleased about that. 

So you talked about legacy tonight a little bit.  At some point in your career you start thinking about what is your legacy going to be.  Paul Reilly asked me tonight, you know, “Joe, what keeps you going.  You’ve had a lot of success in the business financially, and what keeps you going?”  And I think I related two things in the acceptance tonight was that, the most important thing to me was developing people and developing young people in particular.  And our Leadership Development Program is something we started in 1987 in initially and I did it again in ’91.  But Mike was here tonight with another printer in Kansas City where he is the Executive there.  He was one of our first people in our training program.  And it gives you a lot of personal satisfaction to young people who have become successful in the industry. 

And today we have – we are recruiting actively, even in the downturn, we hired 78 people in January from college, we hired 99 in June, we have a total of 460 people in our Leadership and Development program today.  And I don’t think any other company, I don’t care what size you are, in the industry has anything comparable to that. 

Twenty-three of our 70 companies have Presidents that have come out of this program.  Some of them, like Gina George, 1991.  She’s been running the company, Courier Printing Company, in Nashville very successfully for, I don’t know how long, 10 years maybe; a long time.  And I remember when the opening became available, Gina as pregnant with her third child, I believe and I said, “I’m gonna wait until she delivers the baby before I mention it to her.”  And I mentioned it, and within two days, she’s in Nashville. 

So, I mean, we have a lot of opportunity in our company and I think, and I said tonight, I think the industry has a lot of opportunity.  The industry has done very, very good for a number of people, including myself.  So it’s a very rewarding industry I think it has a great future.  Yeah, our business is down; you name me one industry that is not down in the whole country.  We had a big recession, the largest recession since the Great Depression.  So, you know, our business if off – our business is off about 21% compared to the peak. 

But you know what?  We’ve been paying our bills and paying our debt, and you know, we’re getting by.  It’s not booming, but its working. 

The other thing I said tonight was, I’m delighted about the relationship I have with prior printing company owners.  I think I mentioned Kim Baccus in Rochester.  Herb Blackington in Seattle, Ben Keys in Greeneville, South Carolina.  There are a lot of people that have been very fortunate to have sold their companies to us, they’re name is still on the door, their companies are still there.  And so I’m very please about those sorts of things. 

Randy Davidson:  Well that – the passion that you have is evidence of your leadership in this industry, not just among your people, but the people that you’ve taken – that come off the bench and are in this industry, like Mike, that you talked about tonight.  And that will be your legacy is what is the business that you built up and I think it’s truly an honor to be giving the first Print CEO of the Year Award to Joe Davis. 

Joe Davis:  The first one? 

Randy Davidson:  The first one.  Thank you. 

Joe Davis:  Thank you. 

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