by Cary Sherburne October 1, 2003 -- Sunday morning, as Graph Expo was getting ready to begin, the Rochester Institute of Technology's School of Print Media honored Presstek's Chairman of the Board, Richard A Williams, with the prestigious Cary Award for innovation in the graphic arts industry. Williams has held a number of roles at Presstek since he joined the company in 1987 as the technology innovator founder Bob Howard selected to bring a dream to reality: making a printing press as easy to use as a computer peripheral. In introducing Williams, Presstek's President and CEO, Ed Marino, described Williams as “…establishing for Presstek and the industry a culture of innovation.” In his remarks, Williams recounted the challenges associated with developing and introducing a breakthrough technology—a direct imaging (DI) press—including the lack of availability of components that could bring the product to market at a reasonable price point. In particular, laser diodes, used to image the plate on press, had a price point of $2,000 at the time. The challenge was ultimately overcome, and Williams credited Heidelberg's Wolfgang Pfizenmeier with playing a key role in enabling the Presstek/Heidelberg partnership to introduce the industry's first DI press at IPEX in 1993. Williams went on to say, “Today, a milestone has been reached at Presstek. I call it the Quest…the Holy Grail of printing plates—a plate you can image with a laser, a plate that requires no processing and goes right from the imager to the press… and it has to be environmentally friendly. I have been not-so-patiently waiting for this milestone to occur, and the with the commercialization of Applause, how close we are to the Holy Grail, only time will tell.” Presstek Presents A Smarter Way to Print at Graph Expo Williams concluded his remarks by saying, “Someday, a young printer will ask, ‘You mean to tell me they made printing presses without DI?' Probably aggressive, but someday it will happen …”