Executive Perspectives: Kevin Mullaney of PDF Print Communications Inc.
As part of Print+Promo’s ongoing feature, Executive Perspectives, we get to know leading professionals in the print and promotional industry. This month, we interviewed Kevin Mullaney, president of PDF Print Communications Inc., Signal Hill, Calif. Here, he discusses striking a better balance between work obligations and personal goals, his company’s move toward a national footprint and why he’s optimistic about print’s future.
How did you first get started in this industry, and what path did you take to land in your current role?
Kevin Mullaney: I was born into the printing industry. My father started PDF [Print Communications] when I was only 2 years old, so it’s safe to say I grew up in the industry. I worked for the family business throughout high school and college. I started out in our bindery department, and over the years I’ve worked in just about every facet of the business. I assumed the role of president in January 2012.
How do you set goals for yourself? For your business?
KM: I set goals on a quarterly basis, as priorities change often. I write them down and have them visible on my desk, so I can stay focused. I make sure to include goals that are not always tied to financial performance, so I can achieve satisfaction from [reaching] success that is not monetary. For example, I help raise money for the charities I am involved in. [Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is one of the causes I’m passionate about.] I am also working on creating our own charity fund for indigent families in Guatemala. Recently, I have been focused on spending more time with my family.
How does the economy continue to affect the industry?
KM: In the business forms segment of printing, we are very transactional, so the economy is [closely] tied to our business. A downturn usually dictates a decrease in volume. I am very optimistic about the future of our industry. I feel the consolidation of companies (including both manufacturers and distributors) will result in a stronger industry that is more focused on service and quality and less on pricing. I have always been an optimistic person—sometimes to a fault—and I look for opportunities to grow even in an economic downturn. I have long had the goal to have a national footprint, and PDF Print Communications’ recent acquisition of Madison Forms, Madison, Wis., enables us to sell to the Midwest and East Coast.
What do you expect to be some of the biggest challenges the industry will face?
KM: One of the biggest challenges we all face is the lack of young talent entering the print industry. With the aging workforce moving out of the industry, we are facing a shortage of people entering the print industry. I think the best way to engage the younger generation is to visit the local colleges, especially if they have any graphic design courses, and look to hire from there.
What keeps you up at night?
KM: I take a lot of reports home at night. I feel it’s the best time for me to focus on them without the distractions that often occur during normal business hours.
What do you think is the most exciting, cutting-edge thing your company is doing right now? Why?
KM: PDF Print Communications is consistently looking to add new products to our [business]. We are currently working to add more products to our health care offerings. We also expect to have more integration in 2018 in order to allow more of our customers to communicate directly with us 24 hours a day.
What would people be surprised to learn about you—hobbies, special interests, etc.?
KM: I travel often for work, and while I enjoy it, I always miss the time with my family, so I try to include them whenever I can. I also enjoy fishing and boating and plan to spend a lot of time dedicated to both this summer.
Elise Hacking Carr is editor-in-chief/content director for Print+Promo magazine.