2012 NAPIM Printing Ink Pioneer Award Recipients

By David Savastano, Ink World Editor | 06.04.12

This year, the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers (NAPIM) honored 11 industry leaders with the prestigious Printing Ink Pioneer Award.

Below are brief features on each of the award recipients; the complete articles will appear throughout the next few months on www.inkworldmagazine.com.

Rod Balmer, left, receives the Pioneer Award from NAPIM president George Sickinger.
Rod Balmer – Flint Group

From his beginning years at The Process Ink & Coating Company in the UK through his lengthy career at Flint Group, Rod Balmer has been a leader at his companies as well as the industry.

The recipient of NAPIM’s 2009 Technical Achievement Award, Mr. Balmer has received numerous patents, including the recently awarded patent on Arrowlith UV inks. He has served NAPIM as a co-moderator, presenter and chair of the 2005 NPIRI Technical Conference. His colleagues all agree he is most deserving of the Pioneer Award.

“The award symbolizes the value Rod has brought to the ink industry over his 25 years in the field,” said Diane Parisi, Flint Group’s vice president, supply chain management. “His expertise in UV, hybrid and electron beam technology sets Flint Group apart from our competitors. Rod’s work has given us a real competitive advantage.”

Mr. Balmer said he was “flattered” to receive the Pioneer Award.

“It is an honor to be recognized by the industry and peers, but I couldn’t have done it without the support of everyone else, and I don’t deserve it any more than others on my team,” Mr. Balmer said. “I am merely the more visible front person for a large and capable team in Ypsilanti, MI and Baranzate, Italy.”

Hixon Boyd, left, receives the Pioneer Award from NAPIM president George Sickinger.
Hixon Boyd – Color Resolutions International

Ever since he joined J.M. Huber in 1977, Hixon Boyd, vice president of national accounts for Color Resolutions International (CRI), has always focused his efforts on serving his customers with compassion and understanding.

“Serving several positions, including direct sales, product manager and district manager, I have gotten to meet and develop relationships with many people,” Mr. Boyd said. “I remain in contact with many of those people who I met on routine business, and who are no longer involved in printing.”

“Hixon has had the unique ability to balance the needs of the customer and the company, which is not always a very easy thing to do,” said George Sickinger, president and CEO of CRI. “He has always done this with the utmost of integrity and caring for the customer and our people who serve them. Hixon will always go the extra mile to insure that customers are getting what they need to be successful.”

Mr. Boyd said he is grateful for the opportunities the ink industry has given him, and is honored to receive the Pioneer Award.

“The Pioneer Award reminds me of how fortunate I have been in so many aspects of my life,” Mr. Boyd said. “It certainly is nice to be recognized by your peers as having been involved in such a great industry.”

Rich Bradley, left, receives the Pioneer Award from NAPIM president George Sickinger.
Rich Bradley – Lubrizol Advanced Materials

Since 1979, Rich Bradley, global market manager for Lubrizol Advanced Materials, has long been an active contributor in the ink industry, most notably at Carroll Scientific (CSI) and Lubrizol Advanced Materials.

At CSI, Mr. Bradley worked closely with John and Jim Carroll when they began their business, and then expanded his role when Lubrizol acquired the company in 1998.

“It was a great opportunity for a chance to work at a start-up with two great guys with a simple business model that ended up shaping my career,” Mr. Bradley said.“With the acquisition of CSI by Lubrizol in 1998, I had the opportunity to expand the business and become immersed in the marketing and business side of management. I have really had two great careers in the graphic arts industry.”

Mr. Bradley is a dedicated supporter of the industry as well as NAPIM; he received NAPIM’s prestigious Technical Associate Member Service Award in 2003.He said he feels “privileged” to receive the Pioneer Award.

“I was quite surprised and deeply honored to receive the Pioneer Award,” Mr. Bradley said. “To me, this is the foremost recognition of dedication to a career in this great industry. I feel privileged to be included in this group.”

Jonathan Ellaby, left, receives the Pioneer Award from NAPIM president George Sickinger.
Jonathan Ellaby – INX International Ink Co.

In 1979, Jonathan Ellaby joined the ink industry with Coates Brothers in the UK, before heading to the U.S. to join Acme Printing in 1982 to focus on the metal deco field. Now, more than 30 years later, Mr. Ellaby, vice president of international operations for INX International Ink Co., has had many highlights in his illustrious career.

“Having had the opportunity to work in the industry on three continents, Europe, America and Australia, has been a highlight,” Mr. Ellaby said. “Another would be joining Acme Printing Ink and being involved in the growth of the company in the 2-piece industry.”

His colleagues say that Mr. Ellaby’s Pioneer Award is richly deserved.

“Throughout his career at INX, Jonathan has thrived on traveling around the world and growing the business. Each time he was asked to take on bigger roles he succeeded,” said Rick Clendenning, president and CEO of INX International Ink Co. “He’s certainly very deserving of this prestigious award from NAPIM.”

“It is a great honor to be recognized by your peers,” Mr. Ellaby said. “I don’t think of myself as a pioneer, but after 40 years in the industry this award made me think back on what I had done an,d what developments I had been involved with. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in the development and growth in our industry.”

Michael Gerkin Sr., left, receives the Pioneer Award from NAPIM president George Sickinger.
Michael Gerkin Sr. – Kustom Group

In 1988, Michael Gerkin Sr. sold Ecovar, which he was president of, and founded Kustom Group, a customized vehicle and varnish company. Now, more than 23 years later, his emphasis on high-quality products and service has proved to be a successful model for the industry.

A longtime NAPIM supporter and former NAPIM Board member, Mr. Gerkin has long encouraged his co-workers to work with NAPIM, not worrying about losing employees to competitors.

“Mike worked to make the companies that he ran the best places to work so that employees would not consider leaving to go elsewhere,” said B. David Aynessazian, vice president sales and marketing, Kustom Group. “Then Mike encouraged the employees to interact with as many industry people that they could in an effort to make them the most well-rounded people possible when it came to our business.”

“Trade associations are more valuable today then ever. With limited resources and manpower, we all need NAPIM as our voice in the industry,” Mr. Gerkin said.

Mr. Gerkin previously received NAPIM’s prestigious Technical Associate Member (TAM) Service Award in 2004, and said he is both surprised and honored to receive the Pioneer Award.

“I was both surprised and honored to receive a Pioneer Award, especially when being named with the initial class of TAM industry leaders that received the award with me,”Mr. Gerkin added.

Tom Gwizdalski, left, receives the Pioneer Award from NAPIM president George Sickinger.
Tom Gwizdalski – Resolute Oil

The field of aromatic and hydrocarbon solvents is a challenging one, and Tom Gwizdalski, MaxSol business manager, Resolute Oil, LLC, is considered the “go-to-guy” in the field.

For more than 25 years, Mr. Gwizdalski has been a leader in the field, beginning at Magie Bros. as a lab manager in the late 1980s, and also with Bigler and now Resolute Oil.He has also been called upon to be a panelist on the subject of solvents at numerous NPIRI Conferences.

“Running the Magie business was a wonderful experience, where I got to travel around the world, working with so many great people and building lasting relationships with many of them,” Mr. Gwizdalski said, adding that he considers the challenge of building a business from the ground up first with Bigler and now Resolute Oil is another highlight in his career.

Mr. Gwizdalski said he is “truly honored” to receive the Pioneer Award.

“I am truly honored to have received this award, especially since there are so many other key suppliers worthy of recognition,” Mr. Gwizdalski said. “I feel very lucky to be associated with such a great industry and to have been recognized by my peers.It is very much appreciated.”

John Jilek Sr., left, receives the Pioneer Award from NAPIM president George Sickinger.
John Jilek Sr. – Inksolutions, LLC

From the start of his career at Day-Glo Color, John Jilek Sr. has been a strong supporter of the industry. After a lengthy career at Lawter International, which included stints as general manager of European operations, vice president sales North & South America and president, Mr. Jilek formed his own varnish company, Inksolutions, LLC, with Dan DeLegge.

“Dan DeLegge and I saw a need for a quality, service-oriented varnish company,” said Mr. Jilek, whose title is “President Again.” “We are very proud of Inksolutions. It’s a great team.”

A member of NAPIM’s Board of Directors, Mr. Jilek said he is honored to receive the Pioneer Award, and recommends that people get involved in NAPIM.

“This is a distinct honor, which I am very proud to receive,” Mr. Jilek said. “I believe that everyone should get more involved in our industry. I am constantly pushing to get new, people into this industry. I have brought my son

John into this industry, and am very proud of his accomplishments. NAPIM is an extremely important organization, which is the glue to keeping us together.”

Alan Kalmikoff, left, receives the Pioneer Award from NAPIM president George Sickinger.
Alan Kalmikoff – Keim Additec Surface USA

A 35-year industry leader, Alan Kalmikoff, president and CEO of Keim Additec Surface USA, has worked at a wide range of companies, including Roberts and Porter Printing Inks, Sun Chemical GPI, Shamrock Technologies, BF

Goodrich, Carroll Scientific, Lubrizol and Nicoat prior to joining Keim Additec eight years ago.

“When I worked for John Carroll, he counseled me to try and run my own business sometime, as the perspective from that side would be enlightening. He was absolutely right,” Mr. Kalmikoff said.

A strong supporter of NAPIM, Mr. Kalmikoff has served on the TAM Steering and Management Information committees, and is a member of the NAPIM Board of Directors.

“I think that especially in small and specialized industries such as in graphic arts, NAPIM, FTA, GAA, PIA, even CPIPC et al, play such a special and important role in representing folks who may not otherwise be heard.,” Mr. Kalmikoff said. “They provide a platform for communication among the members, their customers, their suppliers and their government and their relevance as a ‘voice’ should not ever be undervalued.”

He said he is honored to receive the Pioneer Award.

“I am very proud of my years of participation in NAPIM and the CPIPC in Chicago,” Mr. Kalmikoff said. “I think giving back is simply the way to say thanks to an industry that has been very good to me, and I am especially honored in being given a prestigious Pioneer Award. It’s humbling.”

Rick Krause, left, receives the Pioneer Award from NAPIM president George Sickinger.
Rick Krause – BASF

Growing up in the Midwest, Rick Krause saw the importance of the printing, paper and packaging industries. Now, 25 years layer, he has certainly made his mark in the field.

“Printing, paper, and packaging are important industries in the Midwest, and growing up among many of these companies intrigued me,” said Mr. Krause, who is business director, printing and packaging – North America for BASF.

Mr. Krause joined the Innochem division of SC Johnson, which would became Johnson Polymer.In 2006, BASF acquired Johnson Polymer.

“Becoming part of BASF has also allowed me to continue to be part of the printing and packaging industry; while sometimes big and daunting, BASF is a fascinating company where you never stop learning,” Mr. Krause said.

“Ultimately, we live in a world where communication is becoming faster, more universal, and yet more individualized. Printing and packaging has always been a vitally important part of this and always will,” Mr. Krause added.

Long an active member of NAPIM, Mr. Krause serves as a member of NAPIM’s Board of Directors and said that he never expected to receive the Pioneer Award, but added that he is certainly honored.

“It’s great that NAPIM is acknowledging the contributions of ink makers and suppliers alike – all of us play an important role in the success of our industry –and yet I was never expecting to receive one,” Mr. Krause said.

Gerald Napiecek, left, receives the Pioneer Award from NAPIM president George Sickinger.
Gerald Napiecek – Colorcon, No-Tox Products

There has been much interest in recent years in the field of FDA compliant inks and coatings, and Colorcon, No-Tox Products is very much involved in that discussion, as the company specializes in printing inks and coatings formulated for direct contact with food, medical and pharmaceutical products.

As manager of quality assurance and regulatory affairs for Colorcon, No-Tox Products, Gerald Napiecek played a key role in this field. He has been a major contributor in the development of FDA compliant inks and coatings, as well as a dedicated supporter of NAPIM, where he serves as vice president of the NPIRI Board of Directors and as an active member of many regulatory committees. He was recently promoted to area technical manager for Colorcon, No-Tox Products.

“He is very dedicated,” said Mike Gettis, general manager for Colorcon, No-Tox Products.“He moved to regulatory and quality assurance, and was recently promoted to area technical manager, where he will travel to customers and work with them on projects. He deserves the award, not only for his work in the industry but also his service to NAPIM and NPIRI, which he currently serves as vice president. He’s the kind of guy you want to see win the award because he is willing to spend time to help the association better serve our industry.”

Moe Rahmeh, left, receives the Pioneer Award from NAPIM president George Sickinger.
Moe Rahmeh – Sun Chemical

Providing excellent customer support is absolutely essential for the ink industry, and Moe Rahmeh, technical manager for Sun Chemical in the Dallas/Fort Worth region, embodies that ethic.

Mr. Rahmeh is responsible for the in-plant operations throughout the Central United States and at Sun Chemical’s Grand Prairie, TX location, where he has maintained outstanding safety records during his 25-year career.

He has also developed national ink systems and coatings, recruited and trained a team of service technicians in all printing processes to service all technical needs in the United States Central Region, and has developed Sun Chemical’s best practice standard operating procedures for duties, including batch loading, quality control and ink delivery. He is also the co-developer for the trouble-shooting module used in the NPIRI Summer Course, and has spoken at numerous associations.

“Moe is a man who has given his life to not just Sun Chemical but to the advancement and enhancement of this industry,” said Jarred Carter, director of customer technical service, North American Inks, Sun Chemical. “His commitment and his sacrifice make him more than worthy of this prestigious award.”

Mr. Rahmeh said he was surprised to receive the Pioneer Award. “I was extremely humbled and very surprised,” Mr. Rahmeh said.