BOHEMIA, NY—FTA named Darrell L. Dochstader (1941-1997) the first inductee into the FTA Legacy Hall of Fame, a newly established distinction recognizing industry pioneers deserving of the highest honor bestowed by the Association. The announcement was made during the welcome dinner at Fall Conference 2021.
Dochstader’s contributions to flexography during his 30-year tenure shaped the industry, and his passion, determination and pursuit of excellence are still referenced to this day.
“Our dad loved this industry and I believe it’s because he loved the people in this industry,” said daughter Arial Dochstader Miller. “For him to be receiving this award and this recognition from you all would mean so much to him. Thank you for honoring him and the contributions he made.”
As co-founder of Gar-Doc Inc in Milford, NH, Dochstader was integral in helping the firm become a leader in narrow web converting. In 1996, he and his business partner, Gerry Gartner, were designated inaugural recipients of FTA’s Distinguished Achievement Award, recognizing their service to the association and industry over a protracted period. Under his co-leadership, Gar-Doc won 300 awards and seven Best of Show recognitions from FTA Excellence in Flexography Awards competitions.
He was actively involved with the association, serving as a member of the FTA Board of Directors for eight years before becoming president in 1979 and holding the post for two years. He also served as a judge in FTA awards competitions, team leader of a group that helped create FLEXO Magazine, chairman of the FTA Narrow Web Committee for three years, chairman of FTA’s FORUM 1979 in Atlanta, GA, and was a speaker at FORUM on more than 10 occasions.
“Even today, I continue to be amazed at the significant contributions that Darrell made to the flexographic printing industry throughout his career,” remembered FTA President Mark Cisternino. “I was fortunate enough to have spent some time working with him early on in my career. I will always remember his charisma and willingness to share his expertise with a young guy like me.”
Dochstader served as managing director of Gar-Doc Inc from its 1971 founding until his Aug. 4, 1997 death. In addition to his service to FTA, Dochstader led TLMI as its chairman of the Board of Directors from 1991-1992 and served on that board for a total of eight years. He was also named TLMI’s Converter of the Year in 1988. In other roles, he spent two years as a member of the TLMI/FINAT Advisory Board, and chaired Labelexpo in its early years.
“I worked with Darrell from 1982 until his passing in 1997. He left an impression on me from the day I met him,” said Doug Bartlett, a current member of FTA’s Board of Directors and FFTA’s Board of Trustees. “His passion for the business and people gave me a great example to follow. I still think of Darrell and the things he taught me about the business and about life frequently.”
Read a comprehensive profile of Dochstader’s career, with input from colleagues and family members, in the November issue of FLEXO Magazine.