CEO Reflects as P.A. Hutchison Marks Major Milestone
In an industry where "survival of the fittest" has been a prevalent theme, and consolidation has permeated the book publishing industry and its vendors, from book manufacturing companies to equipment manufacturers to paper companies, celebrating a 100-year anniversary is no small occasion. For president and CEO Chris Hutchison of book manufacturer P.A. Hutchison—which celebrates 100 years in business this summer—the anniversary means even more. As part of the family-run business since he was "knee-high," he says ("I was pushing a broom at age six on the weekends for $1"), "it feels really good."
"Being a fourth-generation, the day you take over, you realize there's pressure not to drop the ball and, at the time, I remember thinking that one goal of mine was to make sure we made it to 100 years, and not be the guy who fell short. So, it's a great accomplishment."
The company—which started in a garage, and now encompasses more than 150,000 square feet—has experienced some of its strongest growth years in the past decade, according to Hutchison, who took the helm of the Mayfield, Pa.-based company 12 years ago.
Here, Hutchison shares his insights into how his company—which counts Kaplan Inc., Wolters Kluwer, and IBM Corp., among its lifelong customers—has metamorphosed during the course of a century, what strengths helped the company survive and even thrive during challenging times, and why he hopes for more consolidation in the book manufacturing market.
BOOK BUSINESS EXTRA: What do you consider your company's biggest strength? How does this compare to 100 years ago?
CHRIS HUTCHISON: I know everybody says it, but I think it's a price-service combination. We work hard to keep our costs down and bring our customers a very high level of service that they can't find at any other book manufacturers.