A company with a soul

Quad is the embodiment of one man’s dream to find a better way.

We are a strong, healthy company. We have the best employees backed by the best management team in the industry.”

Joel Quadracci, Chairman, President & CEO

Company Founder Harry V. Quadracci Grew Up in Print

His father got his start running a small printing press behind the family’s Italian grocery in Racine, Wisconsin, and later co-founded the W.A. Krueger Company. Harry joined his father at Krueger in 1962.

Founder Harry V. Quadracci and team on production floor.
Our founder, Harry V. Quadracci and team on production floor.

Working in a variety of management capacities, including general counsel, Harry was delegated to handle negotiations in a 1969 labor dispute between the company and the union. Harry believed that Krueger’s top management and board of directors were engaged in short-term, bottom-line thinking. Instead of working together as a team, management and employees were at odds. The customer focus was lost. The feeling of family, so prized by employees, was gone. Disillusioned by the strike and feeling stymied in his efforts to succeed at Krueger, Harry resigned to start his own company.

Harry was determined to do things differently – and better. He envisioned a company with management and employees working together as partners, committed to each other and to a common purpose: extraordinary performance for the client. He wanted to create a company like no other. A company with a soul.

With a $35,000 second mortgage on his home and capital raised from a handful of people who believed in him – and 11 co-founders who made a courageous leap of faith – Harry launched Quad/Graphics on July 13, 1971.

With daring and vision they set up shop in an abandoned millwork factory in rural Pewaukee, Wisconsin, just west of Milwaukee. The company’s survival hinged on a rented press and a borrowed binder.

First Quad press, "The American IV"
Our first press, the “America IV” circa 1972. The 2nd 8-unit press installed in the US for commercial print.

“In 1971, we believed in a dream. We believed there must be a better way. When you dream a little, common people, working together, can do uncommon things.”

Harry V. Quadracci, Founder, 1936-2002

A Can-do Attitude Leads to Rapid-fire Growth

Those first years were lean and print contracts were few. But with perseverance and what we like to call a can-do attitude — a characteristic that continues to distinguish us from other printers — the fledgling company hung on. We slowly gained business, primarily when no other printer would take the work.

Harry signs a contract for the weekly printing, binding, mailing and distribution of Newsweek magazine in 1979
Harry signs a contract for the weekly printing, binding, mailing and distribution of Newsweek magazine in 1979.

The turning point came in 1977, when we started printing work for Newsweek. The popular national publication was sold on our groundbreaking ideas and entrepreneurial spirit, but above all, they trusted in us. Newsweek put us on the map as a high-quality, innovative print services provider.

Over the next few years, we grew quickly, building our second printing plant in 1982-1983, just five miles up the road in Sussex, Wis. In 1984, we ventured East, and opened a new plant in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., in 1985. We purchased a vacant cannery in Lomira, Wis., in 1984, and entered the gravure market in 1985.

Rapid-fire expansion continued across the country, matched with investments in the industry’s most advanced equipment and technology.

Along the way, we also founded the industry’s first and only dedicated research and development subsidiary, set up a network of imaging sites and photography studios, created innovative solutions for our clients (including mailing and distribution breakthroughs like the industry’s first and largest co-mailing technology), picked up awards for printer of the year, best place to work and environmental stewardship, and established a global presence through international partnerships in Latin America, India and Europe.

The 1983 October issue of Inc. magazine. featuring Harry for his progressive management style.
The 1983 October issue of Inc. magazine. featuring Harry for his progressive management style.

“We haven’t been given more opportunities; we’ve just made more of the opportunities presented to us.

Harry V. Quadracci, Founder, 1936-2002

A new generation of visionary leadership

Perseverance and Prosperity

When we unexpectedly lost Harry in July 2002, many thought the company would collapse without his leadership. He was, after all, an industry icon. But we persevered – and prospered.

Joel Quadracci and team

In a seamless transition, Harry’s brother Tom, a company co-founder, assumed the role of president and chief executive officer. Joel Quadracci, Harry’s younger son, took over as president and CEO in 2006 during the 35th anniversary of our company’s founding. In a very real sense, Joel has grown up with the company. Grounded in the same vision and values set forth by his father, Joel is leading Quad into the next generation and beyond, propelling the company forward in an ever-changing industry.

“All of us who come after Harry must take what he created and push it forward, push it beyond, what he ever hoped it could be.”

Joel Quadracci, Chairman, President & CEO

Strategic Acquisitions Add Value For Clients

The 2010 acquisition of Worldcolor was a transformational milestone. That bold, strategic move instantly catapulted us to the rank of second largest print and integrated media solutions provider in the hemisphere.

Quad HQ doorway, which reads, "Artists of Quick Change"

With a broader global footprint and wider range of capabilities, we could now reach more clients with more solutions.

Additional acquisitions, including Brown Printing Company, Vertis Communications, Proteus Packaging, UniGraphic and HGI Company, as well as an asset swap for Transcontinental Inc.’s Mexican operations, further strengthened our existing capabilities and global presence.

Prudent acquisitions such as these support our ongoing strategy to transform both our company and the industry – all while adding value for our clients, shareholders and employees. Acquisitions are made with an eye to advancing technologies, capabilities and efficiencies that help our clients drive top-line revenue and minimize overall costs.

As a result of the game-changing Worldcolor acquisition, Quad became a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange on July 6, 2010. The steady hand of the Quadracci family retains voting control, and continues to provide consistency in ownership, leadership and strategy.

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“As we continue to transform our company and our industry, we are at the ready. Quad powered. Quad Proud.”

Joel Quadracci, Chairman, President & CEO

Performance Through Innovation

Today, Quad is a leading global provider of print and media solutions. Our remarkable growth is powerful testament to our inimitable culture, visionary leadership team and employees worldwide who take pride in their work and are wholly invested in the success of our clients – and our company.

Quad employee brainstorming on white board.

Working together, we are driven to find a better way – and to deliver on our promise of Performance through Innovation.

As a company, we adapt to change – in fact, more often than not, we are the change. Where others see challenges, we see opportunities. We’re a high-tech company, but we succeed the old-fashioned way: through honesty, integrity, hard work, doing the right thing and always putting our clients first.

“We are proud printers, innovating all aspects of our company and our industry.”

Joel Quadracci, Chairman, President & CEO