QP Magazine | August 2014
“I love printing. We should be proud to be in this industry. Printing has taken a lot of hits, but it has unbelievable opportunities for success. As technology evolves, even more opportunities present themselves; you just have to be open to recognizing those possibilities and have confidence in your instincts and your team.”
QP: Tell us a little about your company, the segment of the market it serves, and what you consider to be your “core” users.
JO: Ironmark is an image company serving the Washington DC / Baltimore / Northern VA markets from our brand new, state-of-the-art facility in Columbia, MD. We work with clients in a wide range of industries, including government, health care, education, franchises, and associations. We have a team of 140 talented people who support our clients’ goals through web development, creative services, digital printing, offset printing and large format printing, digital marketing, promotional items, e-commerce fulfillment and logistics.
QP: How did you get involved in the industry?
JO: My father [who founded the firm in 1955] offered me a job at his printing company after I graduated from high school. I started driving the delivery truck at his Annapolis location in 1986. I drove that truck for two years before moving inside to run a press. Driving that truck was my 'best education' because I saw first-hand the direct effect of excellent customer service. It’s satisfying to know that my father’s emphasis on customer service remains one of Ironmark’s core values.
QP: What do you consider your greatest achievement in this market to be?
JO: My goal has always been to grow a solid business. My biggest fear in life was failing at what my father had entrusted to me. This fear gets me out of bed each day to focus on our people and customers, to be the best company we can be. Over the past 10 years I have had the privilege to partner with six other companies that make up our team today. Each of these acquisitions has added its own spoke to our company wheel as well as the talent to execute those services. We’ve been able to grow our business through a very tough economy, while creating opportunity for our employees to grow. I’m very proud that the principals from each of these acquired companies still have a vested interest in Ironmark and that the company continues to stay true to our core values.
QP: If there was anything you could change, either about your career in regards to the print industry, your company, or the market as a whole, what would it be and why?
JO: I’ve had a wonderful opportunity to lead a company of great people, but our industry is constantly evolving. I wish more companies would realize that we must adapt to the market to be successful. Our industry is notorious for being set in its ways -- we need to keep an open mind, be willing to try and learn from any mistakes. If we stay engaged in the industry and listen to feedback from our team, we can best meet our customers’ needs. We are honored to have achieved many awards and continue to be listed in the top 10 of Printing news Top Printing Companies in the US.
QP: What do you consider the greatest challenge to be for the industry right now? Why?
JO: I’m a big believer in 'best value and quality.' When I shop for myself, the products that I buy need to feel good, look great, and last. The problem I see with our industry is not necessarily about delivering quality products. The technology these days has leveled that playing field considerably. At Ironmark, our customers find immeasurable added value in our partnership from our first meeting until the final product is delivered. Our tag line, “an image company,” stems from this idea -- we make our customers feel good, look great, and we go above and beyond to create a 'big impression' that lasts. The pace of change in the ways communications are delivered also is challenging. The industry needs to keep up with these changes and offer consumers forward-thinking solutions to deliver their 'image.' This requires a true partnership with consumers to better understand their markets.