Thomas Koceja started his printing career when he was still a teenager.
"[I] grew into printing through a high school co-op program in [my] junior and senior years," Koceja said. "[I] worked for Roundy's food store's in-house print shop."
Today, Koceja is the e-business development manager for New Berlin, Wisconsin-based Imperial, a multi-color sheet-fed master printer specializing in commercial printing and point of purchase.
Here, Koceja talks about the industry, his accomplishments and himself.
Print Professional (PP): Tell us about your background. Where did you grow up, what school did you attend, etc.?
Thomas Koceja (TK): [I] grew up in New Berlin, Wis. [I graduated from] Nathan Hale High School in 1976 [and graduated from] the University of Wisconsin-Stout [with a degree in] graphic arts management with a minor in packaging in 1980.
PP: Describe your business style.
TK: My business style is to stay three steps ahead—10 years out when adjusting personal professional planning. [I've] made it a point to help everyone I meet improve their position or their outlook on print.
PP: What is the best business advice you ever received?
TK: [The] best business advice [I] ever received was from someone in the business for 40 years. He told me to move around when young and learn many industry trades from prepress to bindery at all different business types, for example, in-house, large commercial, union, quick print, etc. [I] even had my own business for seven years for the experience.
PP: What is your greatest business accomplishment and disappointment?
TK: One of my greatest business accomplishments was managing a rather large sheetfed department with four-40" presses. Then, when computer-to-plate came out some 20 years ago, I decided to skip that phase and go directly to digital and went all the way with black-and-white and color. [I] sold the equipment, studied ROI and designed a workflow including in-line and near-line bindery and a unique web to press scenario that went direct to press not stopping in the Que.