To honor key suppliers to the ink industry, the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers (NAPIM) presents the Technical Associate Member (TAM) Service Award at its annual National Printing Ink Research Institute (NPIRI) Technical Conference.
The award is presented to an outstanding individual who, as a supplier to the industry, has played a major role in the progress of printing ink technology, or who has contributed outstanding service to NAPIM and the ink industry.
Richard Bradley of Carroll Scientific, the 2003 TAM Service Award recipient, fits both of those descriptions perfectly. The longtime technical leader of Carroll Scientific from its beginnings in 1982 prior to becoming its president in 2000, Mr. Bradley has been at the forefront of its technology innovations, while his record of service to NAPIM and NPIRI is exemplary.
A soft-spoken person, Mr. Bradley was genuinely surprised when he received the award.
“I was very, very surprised,” Mr. Bradley said. “It’s an honor to be chosen, because I was very fortunate to end up with a company that was so great to work for.”
Reactions to Award
Although Mr. Bradley didn’t expect the honor, his colleagues believe he is truly deserving of the award. John Carroll and Jim Carroll, the co-founders of Carroll Scientific, both speak highly of their friend and colleague.
“Rich is a great guy and a really nice human being,” said John Carroll, who has since retired from the company. “Customers trust Rich, and that’s really important. He doesn’t have an angle. He just wants to get the technology right.”
“I can’t say enough good things about him,” said Jim Carroll, who handles strategic accounts for the company. “He’s probably one of the sharpest, most articulate people I know, and he’s a genuinely nice guy.”
“It’s a well-deserved recognition,” said Don Bogus, vice president of Lubrizol. “Rich is a person who has grown up within the ink industry and understands it. He brings a tremendous wealth of knowledge and credibility.”
Rick Tolin, Carroll Scientific’s vice president of sales and marketing, spoke of Mr. Bradley’s dedication to his community and to his family. Mr. Bradley and his wife Debbie have three children: Tim, who is attending the University of Illinois; Allison in high school and Grace in sixth grade. Aside from business and playing golf: – “You can’t be at Carroll Scientific and not be involved in golf,” he says jokingly – Mr. Bradley most enjoys watching his children participate in sports and music events.
“I’ve known Rich for 16 years,” said Mr. Tolin. “He’s very optimistic and provides good leadership, guidance and counsel, which is essential in today’s business environment.”
Joining the Ink Industry
After graduating from Illinois Tech in 1979 with degrees in chemistry and biology, Mr. Bradley set out to find a research job in industry. He decided to join Dyall Products as a lab technician, where he would meet John Dyer, the founder of Dyall, and John and Jim Carroll, the founders of Carroll Scientific. Their emphasis on the customer made a lasting impression on him.
“I wanted to learn about the real world,” Mr. Bradley said. “John Dyer was there, and his philosophy was always on strong customer service. That has also been Carroll Scientific approach, and it’s been great.”
Lawter had acquired Dyall in 1978, and the Carroll brothers decided to go their separate ways in 1982, starting Carroll Scientific. Mr. Bradley was the lone person they asked to join them.
“They hired me to build the technical side of the company, which entailed everything from running the R&D labs to driving a forklift,” Mr. Bradley recalled. “It was tremendous to be associated with them, and it was such a high-quality organization. It grew and matured as a company.”
“Rich had worked with us at Dyall and Lawter, and he really loved working in the lab,” said John Carroll. “He assumed the responsibility of product development and he really took to it. He has a very natural aptitude for technology, and even early on, he had that really easy way about him that’s so important for technical people. He also has that sense of curiosity that is so important. He is very thorough in finding better ways to do things, and he is also great with our customers. As a result, he is one of, if not the foremost expert, in our field.” Mr. Bradley attributed the company’s growth to the emphasis on customer service. The Carroll brothers both started out in the ink industry, and they understood the problems facing their customers.
“Both John and Jim got their start on the ink side, and they felt it was really important to understand their customers’ business,” Mr. Bradley said. “For that reason, we always have people with us who understand the problems our customers have. Our technical side is the heart of our success. We really built our business on being a good resource.”
“Our approach to quality and customer service were always our major focus, and Rich is able to communicate that to our customers,” John Carroll added.
As the years went by, Mr. Bradley’s role at Carroll Scientific changed, becoming technical director, and in 1991, vice president of R&D. With the Carrolls’ backing, he built a state-of-the-art testing laboratory that most ink companies would envy.
“John Carroll always wanted us to be technical leaders in the industry, and to make it as much of a science as we can,” Mr. Bradley said. “We need to be able to reproduce what our customers do, because we don’t want to waste their time.”
In 1998, the Carrolls sold their company to Lubrizol Corporation, which quickly poured in resources for new facilities in Mountaintop, PA, Ritterhude, Germany and McCook, IL. Above all, Lubrizol had its own family tradition, and the company let the Carroll leadership continue doing what they do best.
“It’s been a very good relationship,” Mr. Bradley said. “Lubrizol’s leadership are very solid people who understand our business, and let us maintain what made us who we are – that our customers come first. Lubrizol has added resources for us and really left us alone to operate. They have trusted that we are experts in the ink industry.”
When John Carroll stepped down in 2000, Lubrizol named Mr. Bradley the new president as well as general manager for Lubrizol Ink Additives. It is a role for which he was well prepared.
“I was always heavily involved in business discussions from day one, and when I was vice president of R&D, I was very visible for our customers,” he said.
“Rich heads up Lubrizol’s worldwide ink operations, and he’s built a great team around him,” Mr. Bogus said. “Despite the changes occurring within the industry, Rich’s broad experience and historical perspective gives us great strength of continuity. With his direction, we are constantly moving forward and continue to build up our technical knowledge.”
Importance of Organizations
Mr. Bradley also learned about the importance of trade organizations from John Carroll, and has given great effort to local and national associations. Locally, he worked his way up through the ranks of the Chicago Printing Ink Production Club (CPIPC), serving as president in 1992. Carroll Scientific as an organization, and Mr. Bradley personally have assisted in teaching a course in printing ink formulation at the College of DuPage that was started in conjunction with the CPIPC.
As for NAPIM and NPIRI, Mr. Bradley has volunteered his services on a number of committees, including conference and symposium; training and education; health; conservation; offset; and raw materials. He has served as a moderator and speaker at NPIRI Technical Conferences, and sponsors on behalf of his company the honorariums awarded to the winners of the poster board program.
“We wanted our customers to know we were committed to them and our industry, and Rich got hooked,” John Carroll said. “He just liked being good at all of this.”
“John always wanted us to be cutting edge in the industry, and that being part of NAPIM and the CPIPC is essential to that effort,” Mr. Bradley said. “We have always felt that it is important to be on the cutting edge, and that means hearing what everyone is hearing and meeting with people in the industry. CPIPC is a great industry association, and NAPIM is a very important organization. It adds a lot of resources in areas like regulatory compliance that small companies can’t handle on their own.”
It is certainly clear that Mr. Bradley enjoys the industry he has grown up in, and he looks forward to the years ahead.
“The ink industry is a very hard working, stable group,” he said. “It’s amazing when you look at the technical problems that are being solved on a daily basis, and it’s a shame that ink is being bought as a commodity when it really is a wonderfully advanced technological system.
“The ink industry been a great group to be associated with,” Mr. Bradley added. “It is a very interesting industry from a people point of view. There is a family feel to the industry.”