Will Hill has a talent for seeing past distractions and finding the best solutions to any problem. He first put this to work in finance as an analyst for Ford right out of college, but expanded his experience to include manufacturing and engineering.
Over a 23-year career, Will managed engineering departments for some heavy hitters, including Versatec, a subsidiary of Xerox.
He says, “I did some hands on engineering work with several companies, including one that made laser equipment, then with Versatec as they produced plotters. I went on to run a factory for Xerox and have always managed people, but working with customers and decision-makers is something I really wanted to do.”
Any occasion to work with customers directly was something Will found particularly enjoyable and it wasn’t often enough. “When I got the chance to work with customers, I tried to develop a rapport with them and explain our capabilities. This was particularly true at one company, a company that created custom-made lighting for commercial applications. I worked with people at IBM, Boeing and Land’s End. I realized I liked working directly with professionals in that capacity.”
Will was a prime candidate to buy a printing business and he began his search for franchise opportunities online. “I wanted to find something in which I could work with professionals directly. Of course, Minuteman Press isn’t retail and the work we do in the B2B industry is with other professional people.”
His online search for franchise opportunities led him to Minuteman Press International and the discovery would allow Will Hill to redirect an engineer’s ability to build things towards the goals of other business owners.
Will says, “I have always managed people, so as a franchise owner that part of my job is no different, but as an engineer I had technical management skills that I chose to refocus into marketing my business. When the owner that sold me this business took me around to visit clients, they were more concerned with the fact that the manager, Anthony, would remain and that the service and quality would remain excellent. With Anthony taking care of production here, it allowed me to switch my attention over to general management and marketing. After all, as a business owner, marketing my business is what I need to do and that prompted me to move from the workforce to entrepreneurship.”
Buying an existing Minuteman Press franchise in Concord, CA, was the perfect fit for Will, who became more excited about entrepreneurship as he climbed the corporate management ladder. “Like everyone else, I thought I could do things better than the next guy. When my last company was bought out and moved to the Midwest, I had no interest in following them. I did some consulting and real estate but ultimately, I hunted businesses for sale so I could run things myself.”
As he was very picky about the kind of lifestyle he wanted and the sort of business he wished to buy, he set his online ad filters strictly to the highest standards. A Minuteman Press franchise for sale satisfied all of his criteria and popped-up onto his screen and he went out to meet Regional Vice President, Bob Ylinen. “Bob wanted to meet me to make sure I was a strong candidate and allow me to visit multiple shops to meet the owners and ask a lot of questions.” That was about 2 years ago and Will has been nothing but a strengthening agent for the digital print, design and marketing franchise ever since.
Will inherited what he describes as “a great staff”, a bonus as he concentrated his efforts on his bottom line. He had an eye for restructuring methods of operation for maximum efficiency from his prior career and he channeled it into the proven system of operations of Minuteman Press International. “When I was running my factories, I would re-organize the factories for the best possible customer service. Most factories are organize strictly on efficiency. I know there is a sweet spot where efficiency and customer demands meet and successful companies find it. I was pleased to find that here, we are organized in this way. We know our customer base, what they need and big or small we give that kind of personal service,” Will says.
A lot of the time, people come in with something new or unexpected that they need us to do for them and I enjoy that, especially since we have been successful at making it happen for them. We rely on them for our business and they rely on us to keep them running, too. – Will Hill, owner Minuteman Press in Concord
Anthony Call is Will’s long-time manager and trusted within the community as a leading member of the Minuteman Press, Concord team since 2006. “Before this position, I spent eight years at another print shop, but it is at Minuteman Press that I enjoy nice, long-term relationships with clients. Helping people and seeing what we create out in the field such as our Comcast material and banners is really great. That’s the fun part. I don’t design everything but it is always fun to see our printing in action,” he says.
One of the longest-running partnerships they enjoy is with Epic Care, a cancer treatment center. Anthony explains, “They have been with us since 2008 and they heard about us from another client of ours, who is now one of their competitors who share office space in some cities, actually. We work with their designer, fix any formatting issues and take care of color matching to keep it true to brand identity.”
Their business card is by no means average and requires attention to shades of green. “They prefer a particular look for their business cards that is ideally suited for our offset presses to produce, using PMS 5777 and 462. The business cards require keen attention and they are a large run. The logo depicts grassy hills and three distinct shades of green, overlapping. We keep the color consistent though the printing of 67,000 business cards, then take on 2 days’ worth of cutting them before we deliver.”
Acknowledging the range present in today’s Minuteman Press centers, Anthony adds, “We have old-school presses and new digital machines here so we can give everyone exactly the look and feel they wish to have.”
Business cards are essential but are only the beginning of the list of things Epic Care needs from Will and his staff. Anthony says, “We print pens, folders, their Chemo-education binders, tabs and particular medical history binders (with tabs and appropriate paperwork to be filled in by their clients), plus banners and all that is needed for their direct mail campaigns. For instance, when doctors retire, patients need to be informed, so we take care of that mailing. We design and print their holiday cards, invitations for events coming up and produce educational materials for families of their clients.”
Denise Naujok is the Communications Manager for Epic Care and she cuts right to the chase about their service, “Minuteman Press of Concord ensures that the finished product is always of the highest quality. There have been times that they have met very tight deadlines, that I was not sure were even possible. Anytime I ask for what might seem impossible they rise to the challenge. They have never let me down.”
“I assure our customers that they are going to have their brand promoted and cared for appropriately. We have earned their trust and a lot of them leave judgement calls up to us.” – Anthony Call, Manager, Minuteman Press in Concord, CA
Will is happy to state, “There is simply no better service than ours and we thrive on that. We have many loyal clients that count upon us as a result”. And as if to confirm his words, Denise concludes, “I am grateful for the partnership with Minuteman Press and the help they have given us over the years. I look forward to continuing our working relationship, knowing that whatever our printing needs are, they will be met.”