Log In | Become a Member | Contact Us


Market Intelligence for Printing and Publishing

Connect on Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

Featured:     PRINT 18     Production Inkjet     Installations and Placements Tracker

Thought Leadership Video Series

Joe O'Connor of Mohawk on Transforming a Four Generation Business

Published on August 2, 2012

Cary Sherburne speaks with Joe O'Connor, Mohawk's Senior VP of International Sales on the history of the company and how they've transformed a four generation company in the modern digital age.

Cary Sherburne: Hi, I’m Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at What They Think. And I’m here with Joe O’Connor who’s the Senior Vice President of International Sales for Mohawk, welcome.

Joe O’Connor: Thank you Cary very much, nice to be here.

Cary Sherburne: And you guys family owned business. You’re the third generation. I had the pleasure of knowing your father. I didn’t get to meet your grandfather, unfortunately, but I hear that Harvard really says that the third generation is the most likely to mess up a family business.

Joe O’Connor: Yeah we have an 11 percent chance of surviving the generation.

Cary Sherburne: But you’re going to break that mold?

Joe O’Connor: We’re going to try to break that mold. We have a lot of people depending on us for that, and we’ve put the fourth generation in there now too. So my nephew, Tommy, is part of that fourth generation, so we’ll see.

Cary Sherburne: That’s great, and I’ve met him too.

Joe O’Connor: Mm-hmm.

Cary Sherburne: So you work—you’ve got brothers that are in the business too.

Joe O’Connor: I do, three brothers. My brother, Tom, is our Chairman and CEO. And then three others and we all have very distinct responsibilities within the company. I am responsible for our international sales. And we now exist in about 62-63 countries around the world.

Cary Sherburne: Great, great.

Joe O’Connor: So we’re expanding outside of North America pretty aggressively.

Cary Sherburne: And Mohawk has really gone through a pretty significant transformation. I mean, obviously the printing industry itself is undergoing transformation. And we see a lot of that happening with the printers, the commercial printers. Also with the equipment suppliers, so the industry—I’m not sure that I’ve seen a lot of transformational activity in the paper industry. But I think you guys are an interesting model for that. So talk a little bit about what you’re doing with the business.

Joe O’Connor: Yeah, I mean, we’re certainly trying to do it. We have a new identity out, which was new for us. And—

Cary Sherburne: And the word paper’s not in it.

Joe O’Connor: And the word fine paper is not in it, so it’s just Mohawk, and that’s the brand right there.

Cary Sherburne: Oh there you go, yeah.

Joe O’Connor: So it’s kind of new and hip. And it’s a lot more about than just the brand. We do a lot of things as a collaborative partner with our customers, and users, designers, agencies. And, you know, we talk about communication solutions more than we just do about our product. We have very robust e-commerce platforms and they continue to grow as well. So we want to make our paper available to everybody anywhere when they want it. We’re making our own envelopes. We’re a consultant to the industry. We have, in our website, a portal that’s called MohawkMakeReady.com. And that’s kind of advice and—for all the channels within the industry that we serve.

Cary Sherburne: Educational videos and blogs and everything, yeah.

Joe O’Connor: Yeah, which is updated. We’re really spending a lot of time and have a department of people just handling the social media side of things. We’re looking at a company where the skillset needs to change for everybody. There’s a lot of young people. I mean, that department, nobody’s over 23-years-old. We pretend to get it, but I think we’re actually getting it. So a lot of change for Mohawk, first and foremost we’re a paper manufacturer, but we do a lot of other things.

Cary Sherburne: Well you’ve got a lot of software solutions.

Joe O’Connor: We do. We bought a software company that kind of feeds the photography business, both professional and semi-professional. And so we’re trying to control more ports of the channel a little bit, and the software, and the paper, and we have a consumer-facing site called Pinhole Press where we provide the software, provide the products, and that’s been a very difficult market, or is a difficult market to kind of succeed in. But in a very short period of time, Pinhole Press has really gathered a big following.

Cary Sherburne: Well we’ll be interested in continuing to follow the transformation, because it certainly isn’t a one-time thing.

Joe O’Connor: No, I mean, you know, we’re—our industry is in a state of change.

Cary Sherburne: Yeah.

Joe O’Connor: And we change to the day, not to the month or year. So it’s a very entrepreneurial spirit. Something my father built, and really my brother Tom has brought us along a long ways. And we’re excited about the future. I don’t think a lot of people are. I think they’re concerned about it, but we’re actually very excited.

Cary Sherburne: That’s great. We’ll stay in touch and see what’s happening as we go forward.

Joe O’Connor: Great, thanks Cary very much.

Cary Sherburne: Thanks.

         Email Icon Email    Reprint Icon Embed/Reprint

 

Post a Comment

To post a comment Log In or Become a Member, doing so is simple and free

 

 

Recent Videos

 

Video preview: Frank Visits the New England Author’s Expo

Frank Visits the New England Author’s Expo

Published: September 21, 2018

Frank attended the New England Author’s Expo, featuring more than 100 self-published authors. Frank opines that it was on-demand digital printing that made it all possible. He interviews Robert Uttaro, author of “To the Survivors.”

 

Video preview: United Mail Invests in a Canon i300

United Mail Invests in a Canon i300

Published: September 20, 2018

Casey Hendrick, President of Production for United Mail, talks about the company's offerings—predominantly in the health and financial industries—and the company's integration of the new Canon Océ VarioPrint i300.

 

Video preview: Inkjet Growth Continues to Make an Impact on the Market

Inkjet Growth Continues to Make an Impact on the Market

Published: September 19, 2018

Amy Machado of IDC Research talks about her recent inkjet forecast for the entire color market. Overall numbers show that the inkjet market is growing, thanks to quality improvements and the availability of more options.

 

Video preview: The Evolution of Color Management

The Evolution of Color Management

Published: September 18, 2018

Bob Barbera, Senior Manager of Production Solutions Marketing for Canon USA, discusses the challenges of color management, such as predictability, and how the technology is evolving.

 

Video preview: Core Publishing Solutions Switch to Production Inkjet for Book Publishing

Core Publishing Solutions Switch to Production Inkjet for Book Publishing

Published: September 17, 2018

Todd Roth, VP of Manufacturing and Distribution, Core Publishing Solutions, at Thomson Reuters, discusses the company's background in web press applications, their move into production inkjet, and their new venture selling book manufacturing for other publishers.

 

Video preview: Frank Visits Faneuil Hall’s Edes & Gill: An 18th-Century Print Shop

Frank Visits Faneuil Hall’s Edes & Gill: An 18th-Century Print Shop

Published: September 14, 2018

Frank plays with his newest toy: a model of an English common press, a design that improved upon Gutenberg’s original. He then takes a field trip to Boston’s Faneuil Hall Marketplace, location of Edes & Gill, an 18th-century print shop that has a life-size English common press as well as other period printing equipment. There, he talks with Gary Gregory, executive director and master printer, and his assistant Tyler Kerr.

 

View More Videos

 





Become a Member

Join the thousands of printing executives who are already part of the WhatTheyThink Community.

Copyright © 2018 WhatTheyThink. All Rights Reserved