(June 25, 2008) For one week in early May, Dr. Hans Bolza-Schünemann, retired company president and current deputy chairman of the supervisory board of Koenig & Bauer AG, visited major press installations and significant customers of KBA North America. Stops included visits to both sheetfed and web offset printers in New York, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Missouri.
On Monday, May 12, Bolza-Schünemann visited the Niles, Illinois, headquarters of The Garvey Group, a leading large-format printer with a bevy of large-format presses from KBA, including a Rapida 205 81-inch press.
Honored and thrilled
"It was an honor and a thrill to welcome Dr. Bolza-Schünemann to our facility," says Ed Garvey, president of The Garvey Group. "As longtime KBA press operators, we were anxious to show him our top-notch facility and the amazing type of work we produce on his KBA presses."
Welcoming Bolza-Schünemann was the entire employee staff of the Niles facility as well as all of the general managers from the other Garvey facilities. Banners flew outside the facility to greet the KBA deputy chairman.
During the tour, Garvey management showed off its entire headquarters facility, including its impressive lineup of three large-format KBA presses, its 200-plus well-trained employees, its newest technology, and its award-winning products. Bolza-Schünemann was impressed, says Ed Garvey, by the firm's transition from direct mail printing to large-format printing and by the multitude of awards and recognition it has won for its high-quality products, especially its 2007 Premier Print Award, otherwise known as a Benny Award, for its large-format printing.
An engineer at heart
"It was clear that, at his core, he is an engineer," says Ed Garvey. "He discussed some of the proprietary elements available on KBA presses and was interested in discovering how we utilized these advances."
Bolza-Schünemann also admired the organized layout of Garvey's facilities, its cleanliness, and its focus on producing a high-quality product. After seeing the variety of large-format work that Garvey produces, Bolza-Schünemann felt that Garvey's work is much more intricate and complicated than what is typically produced by German printers.
"This was the first time that I had met Dr. Bolza-Schünemann," says Ed Garvey. "He impressed me immensely! He is a very humble, yet remarkable man who has led his company from a sleepy presence in the United States to one that has the dominant share of the large-format press market. Throughout his visit, he demonstrated his very easygoing spirit along with a genuine interest in our company and our product."
Passionate about his customers
John Young III, president of Burd & Fletcher Company of Independence, Missouri, an innovative leader in commercial printing of dairy and frozen food packaging, equally enjoyed Bolza-Schünemann's two-and-a-half-hour visit to Burd & Fletcher's unique underground facility. "I found him to be very passionate about his KBA customers," says Young. "And he is very proud of his company and his family. We talked about how both of us are involved in family-run businesses; my brother Peter and I are fifth-generation owners of our company. During the tour of our good-sized facility, he was as spry as a teenager. And at 82 years of age, he has seen a lot of change in those years, in both the printing industry and the world in general."
Young remembers meeting Bolza-Schünemann for the first time at the 2001 Graph Expo in Chicago, one of Bolza-Schünemann's 200 trips to the United States. "His English is impeccable," says Young, "and he's a wonderful human being. He really is an inspiration to all of us."
New York's Daily News visit
Bolza-Schünemann also made stops at a number of major U.S. newspaper plants that are operating KBA Commander web offset presses. In New York City, he visited New York's Daily News, which recently purchased a 15-tower, 6-by-2 Commander CT web press configured as three sections. The 90,000-copy-an-hour machines, slated to go into production next year in an expanded facility at the Daily News' Jersey City, New Jersey, production site, will give the paper full color on every page, giving the tabloid a key competitive advantage in the New York marketplace. By the end of 2009, the Daily News will become the first major market daily newspaper in the United States to be produced in 100% color on new press equipment manufactured by KBA. The new Commander CT presses will help the Daily News reinforce its presence as the country's leading tabloid and enable its millions of readers to enjoy the city's first full-color newspaper.
KBA's Commander presses were also on view at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which operates a double-width Commander, and the Kansas City Star, which operates two Commander press lines with a total of 36 four-high towers, 216 printing couples, 40 reelstands, and four folders.
In addition to visiting key printing sites, Bolza-Schünemann was able to take time to enjoy the Metropolitan Opera in New York City and the Chicago Symphony.
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