The Flesh Company Turns
P+P: Do you remember any stories your grandfather, your father or any other family members told you about the company's past? (What was it like during the Depression, WWII, etc.?)
RF2: One of my favorite stories my grandfather told me involved a sales representative he hired to work in Kansas City. Having a remote salesperson in those days was very forward-thinking, and he even included a company car, a Model T Ford. When the salesman left the company, RV took the train from St. Louis to Kansas City, and it took him two days to drive back in the Model T. I can guarantee that he wasn't texting or emailing during that 250-mile trip in 1922.
My dad (Scud) joined the company in 1946 after his service in WWII. In those days deliveries could take as long as six months due to material shortages. Scud stayed focused on the core values set by his father, but had a vision of expansion. He recognized an opportunity and moved the focus of the company from distribution to quality manufacturing. We began our first production facility by offering continuous imprinted business forms in the 1950s.
P+P: Modernization and looking toward the future have always been big things for you guys. What do you do to keep that kind of forward-looking perspective? Is it something that you and your father (or you and your grandfather) explicitly talked about, like "Son, always play the long game," or was it something you learned more by example? A mix of both?
RF2: R.V. was president from 1913 to 1956, 43 years. I was fortunate to be in the business a number of years before R.V. passed on, and there were many conversations on business practices and long-term planning. They all revolved around the three values I mentioned previously, and also on the value of good people. Dad was president from 1956 to 1976, when he brought in Carl Roesel as president. I assumed the position from 1986 to 2006. In 2006, I asked Bob Berardino to assume that role, which he continues today.