“When I got my driver’s license in 1969, I was handed a can of ink to deliver,” he recalled.
By 1973, Ray Jr. had joined Braden Sutphin on a full-time basis, and he has been a fixture in the Michigan graphic arts community ever since, representing the family ink company and serving as president for a number of local trade organizations. Now, more than four decades later, he is corporate VP of Braden Sutphin, and still leads the company’s Detroit operations. His brother Matt has been by his side at Braden Sutphin for more than 40 years on the technical side.
In honor of his 43-plus years of service to the printing industry, the Printing Industry of Michigan (PIM) named Ray Jr. as its Individual of the Year at its 2017 Ben Franklin Awards Dinner, held Jan. 17.
In 1973, Ray Sr. and Ray Jr. ran the Detroit operation. Ray Jr., part of the third generation of Sutphin family working in the company, was involved in many phases of the company, from mixing ink and matching colors to taking orders and delivering the ink. He became branch manager in 1980, and in 1984, was named technical sales representative.
“We are all so proud of Ray,” said Jim Leitch, Braden Sutphin’s CEO. “He works extremely hard on behalf of the printing industry and his customers. Ray is a true professional.”
Cal Sutphin, retired president of Braden Sutphin, noted that Ray Jr. has followed in his dad’s footsteps.
“Ray has the same hard working approach,” Sutphin said. “He is really personable, and takes care of the customer.”
Much like his father, Ray Jr. is dedicated to local trade associations, beginning in 1980, when he served as president of the Ann Arbor Litho Club. In 1990, Stoney served as president of the Detroit Litho Club, which honored him with the Litho Club member of the year award in 1993. Ray Jr. is active with the Ann Arbor, Toledo and Grand Rapids Litho Clubs as well as the Detroit Club of Printing House Craftsmen, where he also was president.
“I started at Braden Sutphin in 1973, and began attending printing clubs in 1974,” he recalled. “I’ve been part of graphic arts clubs pretty much since I started at Braden Sutphin. My dad did this. It is just in my blood. It is what I do. I was part of graphic arts clubs in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Toledo, Grand Rapids, Lansing and the Printing Industries of Michigan.”
Outside of work, Ray Jr. is a devoted Detroit sports fan, rooting for the Lions, Tigers and particularly the Red Wings.
“Hockey is still the best game in the world,” he said. “I play hockey in the Senior League every Wednesday with my brother Matt. He is a left winger and I a right winger, and we aren’t bad.”
Aside from hockey, Ray Jr. and his wife Donna also enjoy gardening and family time. “I love yard work,” he added. “We have a place up in Northern Michigan where we do a lot of entertaining. I also enjoy exercising. Donna and I have two children, Ray IV and Margaret, a wonderful daughter-in-law, Genevieve and a grandson, Ray V.”
Ray Jr. said that receiving the Individual of the Year award from PIM is a highlight of his career.
“I was pretty emotional,” said Stoney about receiving the prestigious award. “I was totally taken by surprise when I got the call. I thought it was great. Through these associations, I have met a lot of great people and made a lot of great friends.”