The Printing Industries of America (PIA) has chosen Jeff Ekstein as its 2018 Lewis Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. Established in 1950, the Lewis Award is one of the PIA’s highest accolades and recognizes business leaders who’ve made major, long-term contributions to the printing and graphic arts industry, while being a significant force in shaping printed communications. The award was presented on November 9, 2018 at the Ben Franklin Honor Society Award Dinner during the Fall Administrative Meeting of the Printing Industries of America in Grapevine, Texas. As a third-generation owner of 65-year-old Willow Printing Group (Concord, Ontario), Ekstein helped shape both the company and the commercial printing industry with his strong drive and entrepreneurial spirit. As owner, President and CEO, he’s led his company through a number of strategic acquisitions and business-model evolutions. He attributes Willow’s continued success to its singular focus on helping its clients achieve their desired results by providing customized solutions – while making each project run seamlessly and smoothly.
Ekstein has been a key player with the Printing Industries of America (PIA) for more than a decade. He’s served on the PIA Board as a Director, advanced to the officers’ ranks in 2011, and was ultimately named Chairman of the Board in 2013. He also served on countless committees and task forces. He was the Education Committee Chairman from 2009 – 2011, is currently a PIA Finance Committee member, and he serves as a judge for the organization’s Premier Print Awards – the largest print competition in the world. As a printing executive, he is committed to giving back to the industry and helping set the direction for its future.
In addition to his involvement with the PIA, he’s been an active leader in several printing organizations in Canada. He served as Co-Chair of CPISC (Canadian Printing Industries Sector Council) as well as Past Chair, Government Affairs Committee Chair, and long-time Director of the CPIA (Canadian Printing Industries Association). In 2007, Ekstein was awarded the CPIA Distinguished Service Award for excellence, achievement and dedication to the Canadian printing industry, and was named as one of the Top 20 Most Influential Printers in 2010 (as voted in Print Action Magazine). He’s the current Chair of the Canadian Printing Industries Scholarship Trust Fund (CPISTF). Ekstrin also carries his volunteerism into fundraising for various charities and was included in the top fundraising category in the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s “Ride for Heart” as well as CCC’s (Crohn’s and Colitis Canada) “Gutsy Walk.” His family includes his wife Linda and their three children – Carly, Arlen and Alexandra, and son-in-law Gil.