Bob Ruzicka learned the art of promotion from one of the best: his father.
Ruzicka's father, a small business entrepreneur, used direct mail as his primary marketing tool. When his dad decided his company should handle all of its own printing and mailings, Ruzicka went to work at the in-house print shop as a copywriter and designer. He later managed the small print shop consisting of four employees.
Ruzicka eventually left the printing industry, but he always revisited this decision. "I left printing for a number of years, but always missed the satisfaction that I experienced in the printing and advertising," he said.
Ruzicka got his chance to return to the industry when one of his graphic artist friends told him the owner of St. Louis-based Compton & Sons wanted to sell the company. "My father was living the good life in Florida by this time, but when I told him of the opportunity, he quickly jumped at the chance and we bought Compton," he recalled.
The existing management remained onboard and Ruzicka assumed the role of marketing manager. Throughout the years, he advanced to COO and took over as CEO after his father passed away.
Here, Ruzicka talks more about the print industry.
Print Professional (PP): Tell us about your background—Where did you grow up, what school did you attend, your degree?
Bob Ruzicka (BR): I was born and raised in St. Louis [and I'm] one of 14 children. My father was a small business entrepreneur and growing up I always wanted to be like him. This led me to study business and economics in college where I graduated with a BS in Economics from Regis University, [located in] Denver.
PP: Describe your business style.
BR: I have to say that I learned a lot from my father and inherited much of his collaborative management style. Firm, fair and consistent are his words that are permanently engraved in my psyche. Beyond that, it is hard work, persistence, keeping up with industry trends and knowing your numbers.