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RR Donnelly receives 25th Annual Prism Award

Published on June 23, 2011

Thomas Quinlan President and CEO of RR Donnelly chats with Pat Henry about receiving the Prism Award as well as what they look for in potential candidates graduating from graphic arts programs.

Pat Henry: This is Pat Henry at WhatTheyThink, and with us today is Thomas Quinlin, III, President and CEO of RR Donnelly, he’s here in New York City, the occasion is his receipt of the 25th Annual Prism Award from New York University School of Continuing and Professional Studies Graduate Program in Graphic Communications Management and Technology.  Mr. Quinlin, congratulations on your receipt of this important award.  

Thomas Quinlin:  Thank you Patrick.  It’s an award that I obviously have received today, but it’s also on behalf of RR Donnelly’s approximately 60,000 employees.  So we’re very excited.  

Pat:  RR Donnelly has a stake in and a perspective on industry education as few other companies do because of your size, your technology base.  And my question to you is; do you think that schools like New York University and others with graphic communications programs and in fact the industry as a whole is doing enough to foster graphic communications education?  Are you seeing the talent coming up that Donnelly and others are going to need?  What’s your take on the state of the professional education in this industry?  

Thomas:  Thank you for the question.  We do, we do see where the universities and colleges throughout the United States and even overseas are still spending value able resources in this area.  I think what we’re finding more and more exciting is the younger generation coming up who is more in tuned with social media and things that are taking place from that standpoint and how our customers, our clients can reach out to their customers and clients.  The days that are still needed of the skilled craftspeople that have been part of our industry for decades is still very, very valuable, but the new generation that’s coming in today into our industry is helping us further integrate through the technologies all of the communications that we can provide to our customers.  

Pat:  What skills do these folks need?  What are you looking for as a prospective employer?  

Thomas:  Quite frankly, presentation skills, think logically, and have an understanding of how to go ahead and present your ideas.  Those skills there, as simple as they may sound, combine that with their knowledge that they receive from a place like NYU or some of the other colleges and universities puts that person in a real good spot to be able to help an organization like ours work with our existing employees to go ahead and serve customers.  

Pat:  And technical skills, what technical skills would you prefer to see?  

Thomas:  Coming out today, the technical skills are pretty much, when you think about it, basic.  Again, can you… we have people that understand the new technologies that are out there.  We have people that understand the old technologies that exist as it relates to presses.  Understand how to take that and communicate that, your ideas as far as what the means for a customer and how that adds value in the supply chain.  Those are key areas that we look at when we look at someone coming aboard.  

Pat:  Well, Mr. Quinlin, again, congratulations on you receipt of the Prism Award and thank you for sharing your insights into the industry education.  

Thomas:  Thank you Patrick for taking the time to talk.  I appreciate it.  

Pat:  Pat Henry, WhatTheyThink, thanks for watching.

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