Heidelberg Canada President Richard Armstrong will retire at the end of March after 18 years with the OEM – 4 years as Vice President of Customer Service for Canada and 14 as Heidelberg Canada President. For much of his 30 years in the Canadian Printing industry, he has been a key and influential figure. He spearheaded Heidelberg’s move into consumables (Saphira) and also helped establish a building to house Ryerson University’s School of Graphic Communications Management (GCM) in downtown Toronto. That facility was eventually named the Heidelberg Centre because of Heldelberg’s financial commitments in getting it built. Today, GCM is North America’s largest undergraduate program for the graphic communications industry. Armstrong was also a Director of the CPIA Scholarship Trust Fund for 13 years. Before joining Heidelberg, he worked at Transcontinental Printing, Maclean Hunter Printing, Southam Murray Printing, Webcom Limited, Canada Wire & Cable and Athabasca Airways.
For me personally, Armstrong has always been a consummate professional as well as a very genuine and engaging person socially. He also has the gift of foresight. When I interviewed him in May of 2011, I asked what he thought were the biggest challenges facing Canadian printers. He told me he believed it was balancing the need to re-invest in new technology with impending reduced print volumes and pricing. He saw this trend continuing into the future and print volumes remaining a challenge.
As far as strategies to combat these challenges, he said that many printers will be adding ancillary services such as fulfillment and wide-format inkjet in order to become a “solutions” provider to their customers. “Without this type of differentiation, printers will only have price to talk about,” he said. His conclusion then was that printers simply cannot stand still – they need to offer new products and services to customers in order to remain relevant. Those sentiments certainly ring true today.
On behalf of all of us at Graphic Arts Magazine, we wish Richard a happy and fulfilling retirement. His expertise and warm smile will definitely be missed.