Mitsuo Matsuzawa Honored by NAPIM

By Kerry Pianoforte, Ink World Associate Editor | 10.15.09

INX International Ink Company's chairman receives Printing Ink Pioneer Award.

Mitsuo Matsuzawa, chairman of INX International Ink Co., was recently honored by the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers (NAPIM) for his many years of service to the ink industry.

Mr. Matsuzawa was first introduced to printing ink 37 years ago when, after graduating from college, he went to work for Sakata Inx Corporation in Japan. His first assignments were to develop his company’s overseas business, first in Southeast Asia, and then elsewhere.

“After finishing my university studies, I joined Sakata Inx Corporation,” said Mr. Matsuzawa. “I was drawn to the corporation and industry because Sakata represented one of Japan’s oldest ink corporations. I had the opportunity to meet the late Mr. Sakata before I entered the company, and I was very impressed that he was going to develop more international business in the future. At the time, Sakata Inx Corp. had two major businesses in Japan–ink and electronics. My first experience in the ink industry was in Hong Kong where I helped establish the Sakata Hong Kong branch. During the five years in Hong Kong, I was in charge of not only the ink business, but also the electronics business.”

In 1977 Mr. Matsuzawa moved to the U.S. to expand Sakata’s business. In 1987, he embarked on a major acquisition program, purchasing several ink companies including Acme Printing Ink, CPS, Midland and others to form INX International Ink Company, which has become the third largest printing ink company in North America.

“I came to the U.S. to develop the electronics division for Sakata Inx,” said Mr. Matsuzawa. “Then, in 1985, Sakata Inx asked me to reinforce the core business of ink, by helping develop the ink business in the U.S. in addition to my electronics business responsibilities. After acquiring Acme, Midland and CPS, I was asked to devote myself to the ink business.”

Mr. Matsuzawa enjoys the diversity of people at INX and credits this diversity with enabling him to learn so much about the ink industry throughout the years.

“Since I joined Sakata Inx, I have learned from everyone I have worked with in the ink industry,” said Mr. Matsuzawa. “It is difficult to single anybody out. In fact, the reason why I enjoy the ink industry and INX International is because I have the opportunity to learn from and interact with a diverse group of talented people. Since INX International has developed from combining and leveraging the capabilities of various backgrounds, there is a special and unique atmosphere/culture to learn.”

Mr. Matsuzawa credits two Japanese businessmen as leaders whom he admires. “I admire and respect everyone that I have worked with and who I work with today. Yet, if I were to highlight people that I have admired outside of this industry, I would select A. Morita, a pioneer at Sony, and S. Honda, founder of Honda. They were true leaders who created quality brands, cultures and value for the customer by combining the strengths of Japanese corporate practices and those that existed in the U.S. From the beginning of my assignment in 1977, I have tried to incorporate their method of diversifying business, thinking outside conventional thought processes and beyond borders/boundaries.”

‘A True Gentleman’

Clearly, Mr. Matsuzawa has been successful in his approach to business leadership. His colleagues consistently praise him for not only his ability to manage at a senior level, but also for his concern for all employees in the company.

“Mr. Matsuzawa is very respected in the industry and is loved by everyone in our company,” said Rick Clendenning, president, INX International Ink Co. “He has an extreme amount of integrity and is a true gentleman. His style of management and knowledge of our business makes him the great leader that he is today.”

“Mr. Matsuzawa is an accomplished senior executive, skilled in achieving superior performance levels and bottom line results,” said Charles Weinholzer, senior vice president, liquid division at INX International Ink Co. “He is a first-class gentleman and a stronger leader, always focused on improving customer satisfaction, developing human resources and strategic planning.”

His colleagues respect his leadership style and his ability to motivate his employees.

“He is a very wise person and can weigh many aspects of any situation
with apparent ease,” said Joe Cichon, senior vice president, product and manufacturing technology at INX International Ink Co. “His ability to plan future events would leave someone to believe that he has a crystal ball. “He has a strong belief in people and understands and encourages diversity in management. He is never afraid to challenge an idea that is unclear, and by doing so, helps everyone learn and grow. One of the characteristics that I admire is his belief in people and a great understanding of how placing the right people in the right places could grow a strong organization.”

“Mr. Matsuzawa has always placed our employees’ welfare, feelings and growth opportunities among his most significant concerns,” said John Carlson, senior vice president, general affairs administration at INX International Ink Co. “His interactions with everyone reflect the characteristics he has built his personal and business life upon–honesty, a spirit of cooperation, enthusiastic attitude and caring and respect for everyone.”

“I have worked with Mr. Matsuzawa throughout my 12 years of service at INX,” said Bryce Kristo, vice president, finance, corporate planning, marketing and special project functions. “Mr. Matsuzawa is a very intelligent and gracious man. His intelligence lends to his breadth and scope of his business acumen, giving him the ability to grasp the big picture while respecting the roles of the various elements of the organization. His intelligence is then complemented by his graciousness. Mr. Matsuzawa has a genuine sincerity in his management style. He is a strong listener and respects the opinions of all INX employees from executives to line personnel. These qualities help him where he is best at, balancing the objectives of the company with respect to its primary stakeholders: employees, customers and stockholders.”

“I have worked with Mr. Matsuzawa since the purchase of CPS Corporation in December 1989,” said George Polasik, senior vice president, offset at INX International Ink Co. “I have found him to be coaching in his management style, which over the years I have found extremely helpful to me personally, with my growth and the company’s involvement and growth. Mr. Matsuzawa’s approach to bring all the purchased companies together under the INX umbrella has been with patience and understanding with the desire to keep the personnel’s dignity in mind all along.”

With almost four decades in the ink industry, Mr. Matsuzawa has seen many changes. “New technology is always a key element of change in business and society,” he said. “As I reflect back, I am amazed at how technology has changed our customers’ needs so rapidly in the past 10 years. Today, we must strive to meet the customers’ needs by creating advanced technology, a price competitive and environmentally friendly product that can be delivered quickly. In the future, I believe the needs of the customer will continuously change as society and technology further advances.

“Yet, even with these changes, the fundamental beliefs in the ink industry by all ink companies, to harmoniously create value, have not changed. I hope these fundamentals will never undergo change.”

A strong supporter of NAPIM activities, Mr. Matsuzawa has always encouraged his company’s people to participate in both NAPIM and NPIRI affairs. True to his gracious manner, Mr. Matsuzawa was surprised when he received the award from NAPIM.

“It was an honor to have been selected,” he said. “Coming to the U.S., my goal was to create synergies between the U.S. and Japan. At the time I received the award, I accepted it on behalf of INX International and Sakata Inx. I am grateful and honored that I was able to accept this award on behalf of all of the previous and present employees for their endeavors and dedication.”

According to Mr. Clendenning, “it was truly an honor to witness Mr. Matsuzawa receiving the Pioneer Award. It was definitely well deserved and it meant so much to him and his wife that he was honored by the industry he loves. He was really surprised because he had no idea at all that he was going to receive the award and that made it even more special for him and for those of us who were with him that evening.

“On the personal side, I was lucky enough to start working with Mr. Matsuzawa in 1986 when Sakata signed a technology agreement with Acme Printing Ink, the company I was with at time, which they later acquired. Mr. Matsuzawa has been a great mentor and has taught me a lot about the business over the many years we have worked together since then. About 10 years ago, my working relationship with him became much closer when he asked me to become involved in international operations, which he was responsible for. His knowledge in the international business world is immense and he offered great help and advice as I started traveling the world for INX and Sakata.

“A little over three years ago, Mr. Matsuzawa, as our chairman, asked me to become president of INX International Ink Co.,” Mr. Clendenning added. “I was very honored and I am very grateful to him for giving me the opportunity of running the company I have been with my whole working life. I knew with Mr. Matsuzawa as chairman, I would get the support and guidance I needed take on the responsibilities of this new position. To Mr. Matsuzawa I would like to say, congratulations on your Pioneer Award and thank you for being my mentor and friend.”

In August, Mr. Matsuzawa will be moving back to Japan to take on a new management position for Sakata. “In Japan, I will be taking on new challenges in managing the newspaper ink business, electronic information systems and electrographic products,” said Mr. Matsuzawa. “I look forward to learning from the ink industry in Japan and hope to continue strengthening the bridge between the U.S. and Japan.”