“Working with Sun Chemical’s Color Systems Group has been one of the highlights of my career,” Putney said. “We began working on using color control to influence consumer product companies and their associated printers to use standardized ‘ink on substrate’ prints produced by Sun Chemical.”
Putney has been instrumental in the expansion of color management, ink dispensing technology and pressroom consumables at Sun Chemical. On the customer side, he has dedicated himself to numerous accounts, which have ultimately added value and helped drive customer business.
In his nearly 30 years at Sun Chemical, Putney has spearheaded various projects for large national accounts in the operations, capital installations and cost reduction or efficiency improvement areas. He has enjoyed many highlights in his career, including being awarded the Edison Patent Award by the R&D Council of New Jersey for work he had done on patents.
“I was fortunate enough to share credit as an inventor on three of those patents,” he noted. “In 2008, we were awarded the Edison Patent Award by the R&D Council of New Jersey for that work. Eventually this series of patents became the under-pinning of what is now PantoneLIVE and the Sun Chemical Global Shade Library.
In 2009, as part of a supply agreement with Graphic Packaging International (GPI), Sun Chemical bought Handschy Ink, GPI’s in-house ink manufacturer, and Putney was selected to integrate Handschy’s operations into Sun Chemical.
“We built a hand-picked team of five or six experts in supply chain, technology and customer integration,” he recalled. “Our mandate was to integrate the manufacturing and associated technical resources of Handschy into Sun Chemical within 90 days and maintain a customer retention rate of 90%. This was an advance application of ‘project management,’ and as a team given the short time frame, we did exceptionally well.
“Another highlight was in July 2012, when I was promoted to Southeast regional manager for customer technical service,” Putney said. “This region supports a number of large national accounts, and the technical service team assists our customer base in getting the most from Sun Chemical’s products and working together to optimize their press operations. We are also responsible for on-site in-plant operations. In total, we have a team of about 50 people in SE Customer Technical Service.
“A few months into the job, I told our customer technical service director, Jarred Carter, that I felt I had spent my whole career training for this job,” Putney added. “I felt I was exactly where I belonged at exactly the right time.”
Outside of work, Putney plays some golf, reads and travels with his wife, Sunki.
“I play golf when I can and read quite a lot,” he said. “I like to read about history, military, science or politics. We also like to ride up to the mountains and walk trails, canoe or raft when the weather is nice. Lately we’ve been on a National Parks kick, trying to collect stamps in our passport booklet. Since last spring we’ve visited Devils Tower, Mt. Rushmore and the Gateway Arch monuments, as well as the Shenandoah, Great Smokey Mountains, Yellowstone, Arches, and Congaree National Parks.”
Receiving the Pioneer Award is a huge honor to Putney, who credits many at Sun Chemical for influencing and leading him throughout the years.
“I have had the great good fortune to have worked with great teams of people over the course of 28 years at Sun Chemical,” Putney said. “Early in my career, I was greatly influenced by the professionalism and ethic of the whole Cincinnati branch team, led by Rod Tell and Ed Wilking. It’s a testament to them when one sees how many outstanding technicians at Sun Chemical today came out of that branch. I’ve worked for a lot of good leaders, advocates, coaches and mentors. At least four of them also received the NAPIM Printing Ink Pioneer Award: Bob Lorenz, Mike Stone, Brad Bergey and Mike Murphy. I’m also grateful to our current leadership of Jarred Carter, Michel Bilodeau and Charlie Murray.
“I’m honored,” he said of receiving the Pioneer Award. “This award has been in existence for almost 60 years, and the list of those who have received the award is a veritable ‘Who’s Who’ of the printing ink industry. Many of the people who, literally, made Sun Chemical what it is today have received this award. To be on the same list as those people is humbling.”
Putney’s colleagues say he is an ideal choice for the Pioneer Award.
“We are so proud Jim was recognized by NAPIM with the 2014 Pioneer Award,” said Bilodeau, vice president and Customer Technical Service, North American Inks, Sun Chemical. “Jim continues to bring a high level of professionalism, discipline and product breath to our customers. He takes what is sometimes viewed as ‘art’ to ‘science’ in our business. I know our customers appreciate this perspective as their needs and those of their customers continue to expand and collectively push the technical envelope in printing. Having held many roles in our industry, Jim shares this breadth of knowledge both externally and also internally as we bring new folks into our industry. I thank Jim for all of his contributions to Sun Chemical and continuing to have a high impact on our industry.”
Carter said that Putney is a deep thinker who possesses a unique ability to distill complex matters into very basic components.
“Harnessing this capability, he is a mastermind when it comes to creating and monitoring value-based metrics,” Carter noted. “From Jim’s pioneering efforts in Sun Chemical’s Colors Group to his current assignment driving customer-focused, continuous improvement initiatives as a leader in our Customer Technical Service organization, Jim’s abilities in this area have taken form in a number of different applications spanning his 30-year career. In each and every instance, he has been able to both create and measure tremendous value for our customers, Sun Chemical, and the industry at large.
“At its very essence, the Pioneer Award recognizes those individuals whose contributions advance our industry as a whole,” Carter added. “On this fundamental premise, I cannot think of a more worthy recipient of this prestigious NAPIM award. We are very proud of Jim’s achievements and honored by his selection for the 2014 Printing Ink Pioneer Award.”