Last night was a proud moment for all 2,465 members of the IWCO Direct team. Our CEO Jim Andersen was honored as the 2018 Graphic Arts Industry Leader of the Year by Printing Industry Midwest (PIM) at their annual Star of Excellence Awards banquet.
One of the attributes that makes Jim a great leader is his habit of deflecting praise away from himself and onto the team. Of course, he did that again last night, which reinforces our definition of exemplary leadership. Jim’s impact extends far beyond IWCO Direct. He is an active leader within the Minnesota business community, currently serving as a board advisor to MENTOR Minnesota, and holding a seat on the Executive Committee of the Minnesota Business Partnership. Anyone who knows Jim knows that golf is another focus for him. We were also very proud when, in addition to his CEO duties for IWCO Direct, he served as president of Hazeltine National Golf Club when it played host to the 2016 Ryder Cup.
Golf isn’t the only competitive activity Jim enjoys away from the office. He was a championship swimmer in high school and while a student at American University in Washington, DC, Jim taught swimming on the side to kids at a local country club. At the age of 20, Jim met the father of two of his swim students and first learned about the printing industry. That father, Jim Mayes, was a very successful printing executive who caused Jim to abandon his initial plan of attending law school after college. Fast forward a few decades and that choice was the catalyst for becoming CEO of the industry’s largest provider of direct marketing solutions.
Jim’s guidance and transformation of IWCO Direct has enabled us to grow from an $84-million-a-year business when he joined in 1999, to more than $470 million in annual revenue today. That growth is indicative of Jim’s ability to think about what our customers and the market needs and make it happen. From our Total Package supply chain solution for all aspects of direct mail production (including postal optimization and commingling) introduced in 2000, to the transformation brought by continuous inkjet printing in 2011, to the creation of our marketing services practice in 2014, Jim has the unique ability to lead a team that introduces disruptive-yet-efficient platforms that play a huge role in the success of our amazing customer base.
This is not the first industry award Jim has received, but it’s a special one because it’s based in our headquarters state of Minnesota. A native of Connecticut, Jim has called Minnesota home for almost three decades, and his efforts have kept the heart of printing beating strong here. IWCO Direct and the industry stand in awe of his achievements and his leadership. Thank you, Jim.
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