2020 Under 40: Brian Doppke, Admore Inc., a Div. of Ennis Inc.
BRIAN DOPPKE, 39
Customer Sales and Service Manager
Admore Inc., a Div. of Ennis Inc., Macomb, Mich.
Relationships take time to grow and develop, but when Brian Doppke was introduced to print, it was love at first sight. His 19-year history with the medium dates back to his freshman year of high school. The setting? An Introduction to Graphic Communication class. “This is when I first saw an offset press put ink on paper,” he recalled. “I also remember working in a darkroom, watching an image appear on a sheet of film while it was sitting in the developer tray. It seemed like magic, and I wanted to learn more about how it all worked, so I took more classes the following years in high school.” A teacher pointed Doppke toward Ferris State University, an institution known for its print management program. Before his freshman year ended, Doppke sent out dozens of résumés to printing companies throughout the metro Detroit area in hopes of securing a summer job. After all, college tuition and car payments needed to be paid. A few weeks later, he received a call from a print shop named Admore Inc. He began running the company’s small Heidelberg two-color press. On summer and winter breaks, Doppke returned to Admore, working in different areas of production, wherever needed—printing, die cutting, shipping, bindery, etc. As part of his college curriculum, he completed a management internship program at Admore during his junior year, and it was Admore that offered an assistant production manager role to the new graduate. Today, Doppke serves as the customer service and sales manager, responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations in customer service, estimating and order entry. He continues to be involved in production processes, quality control, information technology and inventory management.
Why he loves his job: Every day is different. I can come into work with a plan, but at any moment, a rush order can come in that must ship on time, or an issue in production occurs that poses a challenge to manufacturing. Customer service is everything from answering a call to having a high-quality product ship on time and everything in between. There’s always a lot happening, and that makes it exciting.
Age roadblocks and advantages: I still consider myself young in the industry and that is both my biggest challenge, as well as an advantage. The amount of products, imprint processes and types of industries involved in the promotion industry is overwhelming, and I’m constantly learning. I know coworkers and industry peers who have many more years of promotional products knowledge, and it feels like I’m constantly trying to learn more and catch up.
The advantage with my age is that I grew up on technology. Technology is changing faster every year, and both suppliers and distributors need to learn to adapt and change. Growing up in a time when personal computers, cellphones and the internet changed at such a fast past, puts me in a good position to easily adapt to future changes in technology.
His biggest career influence: The senior management team at Admore has been the most influential for me, but mostly, Bill Tignanelli, Admore’s general manager, and Lisa Goebel, Admore’s marketing manager. Both have been with Admore for 30+ years and are very focused on the customer. Both have shown me that taking care of our customers will ensure success for both Admore and our customer, because without them, Admore would not be the company it is today. It’s exciting to work with these two people on a daily basis and constantly learn from them.
His most meaningful accomplishment: Changing positions from production management to customer service management has been my most meaningful accomplishment so far. While in college, I worked on the college newspaper as the production manager, and my first 10 years at Admore were in production management, so going from manufacturing to customer service and sales seemed daunting. I didn’t know anything about customer service. I never made a sales call before; I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting myself into. This brought on many new challenges for myself. Luckily, I have a lot of talented coworkers who have helped me succeed in my current position.
Moving to my current position has helped me learn much more about Admore, our customers and the promotional products industry by attending trade shows. If asked 10 years ago where I would be in 10 years, I would not have guessed customer service and sales, but I’m happy to be where I’m at right now.
His differentiating factor: The most important thing I can do is ensure our customers have a great experience with Admore, or any company. Manufacturing processes can change, price and production time can increase or decrease, but in the end, it’s all about the customer’s experience with a business that will keep them coming back.
What he hopes to accomplish in the next year: I don’t typically make yearly goals for myself, but instead I hope to come across brand new opportunities that I have not even thought of yet, and that will make this year much more rewarding for me.
Why he believes the future is bright: For as long as I can remember, there have been conversations that print is dead. Print isn’t dead; it’s changing. Look around in any home or business, and you’ll see logos and information printed on many types of products like packaging, hats, pens, mugs or presentation folders. I don’t see this going away. Email marketing or social media only go so far, but I think having a physical promotional product in your hands will continue to have a much bigger impact.
How the industry can better recruit young talent: The print and promotional industry can recruit young talent by promoting the vast amount of job opportunities available, from manufacturing to social media marketing and e-commerce. Before working at Admore, I was unaware that this industry existed. Getting more involved in community job fairs or on college campuses will help promote our thriving industry.
What he does for fun: Things I do in my spare time depend on the time of year. Growing up in Michigan, the summers are great for camping and spending time outdoors with family. In the colder months, I prefer to stay indoors. A current project I’m working on is converting all of my old home videos from VHS to digital. It’s amazing to think 30-plus years ago, VHS was the best way for the average user to record moments in time. Now, we just pull out our phones. In 30 years from now, will there be a brand new technology that we will all be using for video? I hope so.
Read the complete list of Print+Promo Under 40 honorees here.
Elise Hacking Carr is editor-in-chief/content director for Print+Promo magazine.