The ink industry can be a close-knit industry, with generations of family members making their living in the field. The Dahleens are one such family, following in the footsteps of Wendel Dahleen, who was an ink salesman for Acme Printing Ink. Gregg Dahleen, a 32-year veteran of the graphic arts industry, has risen through the ranks from inplants and the lab to president of Central Ink Corporation, and his accomplishments have earned him a 2014 Printing Ink Pioneer Award.
“Gregg is a person who has worked his entire career within the ink/printing industry,” said his brother, Victor Dahleen, who is vice president strategic services for Central Ink. “He is extremely customer driven to ensure the products that we make meet the needs of today’s printer. He has acquired a tremendous amount of technical expertise over the years to develop and adapt to the technology advancement made within the printing and ink environment. He has worked his way from painting walls in an ink plant to inplant technician, lab technician, lab manager, sales representative to vice president of sales and marketing to president of one of the larger ink companies in North America. Gregg is truly an Inky.”
Gregg began his career painting walls at Acme Printing Ink in 1982, becoming an inplant technician, most notably at Fort Dearborn Litho in Niles, IL, and then lab technician at Acme. In every place, Gregg learned about putting ink on paper, working with great ink leaders such as Bernie Kelly, Lou Zink, Bob Alara and Joe Dichairo.
When INX International Ink was formed from Acme, in 1990 he became lab manager in Chicago. Gregg assisted Bill Tasker, then R&D director for INX International, with developing inks for printing alcohol-free, which was unheard of in those days.
In 1996, Gregg moved on to Central Ink Corporation (CIC), as lab manager/in-plant manager and technical service manager, working for Richard Breen, another pioneer in the ink business.
“What a most fortunate happening when I first became introduced to the Dahleen family,” said Breen. “The youngest brother Victor, preceded brothers Brad, Gregg, dad Wendel, and two cousins Brian and Paul Kats into the Central Ink employment rank. Gregg has not only been a great and valuable employee, but like a son to both my wife and myself. Where he might consider me a mentor, I consider him a strong and loyal friend and confidant. His father, Wendel, who unfortunately left us far too soon, would be justifiably proud of the afore mentioned group that he mentored into the ink industry, with a special kudos to his son Gregory for his achievements.”
Gregg was part of the team that committed to changing Central Ink Corporation to “Dry Grind” technology, putting CIC in a position to be independent of volatile raw material fluctuations. This changed Central Ink Corporation to a major player in the heatset and coldset printing market.
He was promoted to vice president of sales in 2000, and was named president of Central Ink in 2007. He helped managed CIC through the most difficult economic times in its long history. Gregg has been instrumental in helping Central Ink develop its state-of-the-art manufacturing.
Gregg has been a very loyal and dedicated member of NAPIM for many years. He has attended NPIRI Summer Course, as well as sent many other young lab technicians to the course. He has been a long and active member of the Chicago Printing Ink Production Club, and has been an active member of Printing Industries of America, Chicago Litho Club, and Great Lakes Graphics. Outside of work, Gregg enjoys hunting, sports, clay shooting and spending time with his three children.
Victor Dahleen said his brother is “humbled” to receive the Pioneer Award.
“Gregg is humbled and honored to be considered for such an award alongside so many deserving recipients in our industry,” said Victor Dahleen. “Gregg has been a great mentor to me. I’ve been very fortunate to work closely with my brother for most of my career. Of course, I’m very proud of my older brother’s achievements; he is truly deserving of this award and I know my father would be so proud of him.”