executive perspectives: When Opportunity Knocks
The end of the 20th century was a mixed bag for many. As the ʼ90s prepared to make an exit, the mystery surrounding the new millennium intensified. Change was coming, though the details were uncertain.
E-commerce exploded thanks to big corporations like Amazon and eBay. This, coupled with the infiltration of other technologies, forced the print industry into an early revolution. While certain prepress and production jobs were eliminated, new opportunities emerged for digital typesetters, desktop publishers and other computer-related occupations. For Andrew Alford, the timing was perfect.
"When I joined the industry [in 1999], I wasn't necessarily looking for a job in print. I was looking for a ground floor opportunity in an industry that needed technology to survive," he recalled. "I had always been intrigued by the process of putting ink on paper, and entering this field was a way to apply my skills to this process."
Alford scored such an opportunity at Printegra, a manufacturer of short run checks and forms. He was commissioned to develop a "Web-2-Print" application that would allow users to customize and order checks and forms with a few keystrokes. Alford later found work at Cenveo, where he oversaw the company's e-commerce technology development.
Today, Alford continues to focus on innovation, serving as vice president, Information Technology, for Austell, Georgia-based Graphic Dimensions. As he put it, "We aren't playing catch up, we're raising the bar." Read on as Alford talks shop.
Print+Promo (P+P): How do you set goals for yourself? For your business?
Andrew Alford (AA): My grandmother had a saying: "Set your goals high and work hard, but never forget to live one day at a time." She followed that proverb each day until her last breath, and I try to use her wisdom to keep my personal and professional lives in proper balance. At home, it encourages personal growth and hard work, but also ensures I take time to live in the moment with my wife and children. At work, I can strive toward major change, yet continue to treat each customer on an individual basis—one order at a time.