Ed Marino has been President and CEO of Presstek since mid-April 2002, after serving on the company’s board of directors. A few months ago, after he had been in his new role for several months, WhatTheyThink.com interviewed him. In that interview he talked about his desire to make Presstek a market-oriented company by shifting the focus "away from technology for technology’s sake."
In this interview we wanted to check in with him and to see how his efforts have fared, and to find out what Presstek will be showing at Graph Expo.
WTT: Since you took over the role at President and CEO, what major challenges have you had to meet?
Ed Marino: As I’ve mentioned in my previous talks with WhatTheyThink.com, Presstek is a company with a tremendous amount of opportunity that needs to be turned into commercially successful products. The challenge for me, then, has been to help the company realign and refocus on what the market needs and expects from this rich array of Presstek products.
We have needs to manage our cash flow better and to develop more consistent financial performance as well. We’re getting there--at the end of the second quarter we had $12 million in the bank and a number of marketing programs that were beginning to bear fruit.
Right now, we are in a tough market economy, so we are working to make sure that the business is strong so it will be prepared for better times. We can do that by changing from a technology orientation to a market focus in which we understand how to help our customers use our existing products and to create products they need and will buy in the future.
Presstek has a solid future; the company has the benefit of a continuing, growing installed base, and high quality product with the best features available and that are also cost effective to operate.
WTT: In restructuring Presstek, you’ve created new business groups to address CTP and DI segments. Could you provide some details on why these changes have been necessary?
Ed Marino: We have set up new business groups to focus on those market segments. For example, with the DI presses we have worked hard to make it possible to operate the press with less skilled labor. We did that because printers had told us that it is difficult for them to get and keep skilled labor, to turn around work quickly, and to employ digital workflows that make it easier for the Content Originators to "Envision the Output, and Get the Result" the first time. In the CTP line of business, we have focused on chemistry-free systems that deliver consistency of work and streamline operations through digital workflows.
WTT: At Graph Expo, visitors will be able to see all the new digital color, toner-based printers. From your perspective, how does equipment like this affect DI and other offset press markets?
Ed Marino: They will co-exist with offset because there are applications for toner-based printing and applications for offset. It’s a price/performance issue in which quality is involved.
WTT: Tell us about Presstek at Graph Expo. Which new Presstek products will be shown? Are you using a theme for the show?
Ed Marino: We have our own booth (#4857) that is 40’ x 50’ and we have a presence in six others (including the Ryobi, Heidelberg, xpedx and Xerox booths). Several of our employees will be speaking during the conference. For example, on October 5, Mike Chadwick will speak on Emerging Technologies; other employees will appear on a variety of vendor panels.
Simply put, our message is "A Smarter Way to Print". This is how we demonstrate to our customers and our customers’ customer the value of our products and services.
In terms of new products, we will definitely be showing Applause, our new process-free plate that we previewed at IPEX. We plan to have it available next year, and once we have our channel support in place.
Our approach to the show is to demonstrate that companies deliver a printing experience and there’s more to that experience than stringing boxes together. In keeping with that idea, we will be showing how printers can use chemistry-free CTP with products such as our Anthem plate. We will also have presentations about chemistry-free CTP that will cover the benefits of such a process, including reduced cost and increased profitability.
WTT: Should people make appointments or can they drop in?
Ed Marino: Appointments are not required, but if someone wants to make one, that’s fine. They can drop by the booth during the show to make appointments or talk to a local dealer or representative to make an appointment before the show. Our demonstrations will be going on throughout the show and are open to anyone who stops by the booth. The Graph Expo show will be an opportunity for customers to see "A Smarter Way to Print" either Off-Press in the form of CTP, or On-Press in the form of our DI (Direct Imaging).
Thank you again Ed for spending time with our members.