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Harry Quadracci Dies - Founder of Quad Graphics
Quad Graphics ^ | July 29, 2002

Posted on 07/29/2002 8:19:06 PM PDT by WIMom

Quad/Graphics was founded on July 13, 1971, by Harry V. Quadracci, president, who initiated operations in an abandoned millwork factory in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, using a $35,000 second mortgage on his home and capital raised from a handful of associates. Our beginnings were humble: 11 employees, a rented press and a borrowed binder housed in a 20,000-square-foot building.  

As with most new concerns, the first years were lean. Establishing rural Pewaukee as a printing mecca was no easy task. An occasional customer would trickle in, but usually only because no other printer would take the work. "We were pretty much known as the company that could do anything, and if we couldn't do it, we would find a way … and it would get done," said Bill Deja, vice president of Transportation.

Landing Newsweek in 1978 signified a turning point for our fledgling company. The weekly magazine work enabled us to establish a consistent workload and the opportunity to prove ourselves as a quality-minded, innovative print services provider.  In fact, Newsweek has honored Quad/Graphics as its Printer of the Year for the past 15 consecutive years, recognizing, among other factors, our can-do-against-all-odds attitude. So proficient have we become at weekly magazine production, Quad/Graphics now prints numerous weekly titles that capitalize on many of our industry-first capabilities

In the early to mid-'80s, Quad/Graphics experienced a fast and furious growth spurt, sometimes realizing as much as 40 percent growth in VAM in a single year. We expanded our U.S. facilities from Pewaukee 5 miles north to Sussex, then points farther north,  south, east and west. Our international locations complement our expansive domestic network.  What does the future hold? As Mr. Quadracci says, "We'll tell you when we get there." As we continue on our journey, we'll no doubt conquer more milestones and all the while  follow a long-held belief: if you build plants, work will come.

TOPICS: Announcements; Breaking News; Business/Economy; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: Wisconsin
KEYWORDS: entrepreneur; printing
Any additional information, please post here. I just heard on the radio, he was found dead in a lake. That's all I know.
1 posted on 07/29/2002 8:19:06 PM PDT by WIMom
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To: WIMom
You're kidding. He DIED? And only weeks after the collapse of the building and the fire....
2 posted on 07/29/2002 8:29:00 PM PDT by Catspaw
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To: WIMom
Just up on the Journal Sentinel website:

Quadracci dies in apparent drowning

From the Journal Sentinel

Last Updated: July 29, 2002

President and founder of Quad/Graphics, Harry V. "Larry" Quadracci, 66, died Monday in an apparent drowning in Pine Lake, near his Chenequa home. His body was discovered around 3 p.m. in about 4.5 feet of water after he had been missing all day, the Chenequa Police Department said. The cause of death was under investigation and the Waukesha County medical examiner will be conducting an autopsy.

3 posted on 07/29/2002 8:30:23 PM PDT by Catspaw
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To: Catspaw
My husband works for them, he's very upset right now. Word is just trickling out. Yes, on top of the fire.... Info is coming in, bits and pieces.
4 posted on 07/29/2002 8:33:16 PM PDT by WIMom
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To: WIMom
He lived on Pine Lake in Chenequa, WI. I wonder if that's the lake they found him in.
He had a cannon he used to fire into the lake, with live cannonballs, every year on the Fourth of July. His neighbors stopped it after years of complaining!
I'm so sorry to hear this, he was a good man and he did a lot for Wisconsin.
5 posted on 07/29/2002 8:34:09 PM PDT by Jean S
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To: JeanS
He did a lot for the country. He's a true entrepreneur. He stated Quad with nothing, and for 6 months people who believed in him did not get paid; to a 2 billion dollar a year PRIVATE, NON-UNION corporation in 25 years .... the man did a lot for the US. Mike said they have been in the process of training a successor. I don't know if it's one of his kids though.

6 posted on 07/29/2002 8:42:25 PM PDT by WIMom
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To: WIMom
7 posted on 07/29/2002 8:46:21 PM PDT by quietolong
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To: WIMom
Wow, this is very sad news. The man built an empire and created a boatload of jobs.

Anybody know if he was having any health problems right after the fire (such as heart problems due to the stress)? That had to be really hard on his well-being.
8 posted on 07/29/2002 8:47:33 PM PDT by Mike-o-Matic
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To: Mike-o-Matic
I asked my husband that, (his sister also worked for Quad and reported to Harry and has no new informaition) and he had a clean bill of health from what he knows. Right now, it looks like an accident. Maybe heart attack? Pure speculation.
9 posted on 07/29/2002 8:51:04 PM PDT by WIMom
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To: WIMom
OMG! I sure am shocked and sorry to hear this. He was a good businessman and corporate citizen. God rest his soul.
10 posted on 07/29/2002 8:55:46 PM PDT by mafree
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To: mafree
On top of the fire, this is a huge story. Quad was a 2 billion, with a B, private, non-union company.
11 posted on 07/29/2002 8:58:58 PM PDT by WIMom
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To: WIMom
Harry Quadracci

12 posted on 07/29/2002 9:01:45 PM PDT by WIMom
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To: mafree; All
I've just been, exploring the Quad Graphics web page. It's really a great site. Lots of personal stories about this company. Please take a moment to explore it. Quad represents the American spirit.
13 posted on 07/29/2002 9:04:57 PM PDT by WIMom
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To: WIMom
Quad didn't need a union. They provided better wages and benefits than most private industries, and every level of government. Harry did it right. He was a unique person.
14 posted on 07/29/2002 9:09:45 PM PDT by kylaka
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To: kylaka
Thanks for the post, I couldn't agree more.
15 posted on 07/29/2002 9:39:34 PM PDT by WIMom
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To: WIMom
Good link- will go back when they update it.
16 posted on 07/29/2002 10:05:28 PM PDT by mafree
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To: WIMom
I'm often rabidly critical of corporate heads. The species has devolved over the decades into a group of jackals with loyalties to no one and nothing but themselves. (Yes, there are exceptions.)

In a time when we are witnessing the very worst in American business, Harry Quadracci represented the absolute best. He was a managerial genius who trusted his workers and let them decide their own economic fates. Quad/Graphics is one of the very few companies where "management" and the "workers" adore one another. Amazing.

If our corporate ruling class had followed the lead of Harry Quadracci -- instead of the parasite they chose to follow, "Chainsaw Al" Dunlap -- this country would be far better off today, and in more than an economic way.

Goodbye, Harry. You were one of the great ones.

17 posted on 07/29/2002 10:29:16 PM PDT by Semi Civil Servant
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Comment #18 Removed by Moderator

To: Dight
This is so sad and a big shock, personally and to my business. Quad has printed my catalog for many years. I never met Harry, as the day I visited the plant was his dad's funeral, and he and much of the staff with him were obviously otherwise engaged. He will be sorely missed.
19 posted on 07/29/2002 10:53:28 PM PDT by littleleaguemom
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To: WIMom
I publish 20+ coupon magazines/year that Quad Graphics prints. He's a legend in the industry....
20 posted on 07/29/2002 10:55:03 PM PDT by freebilly
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Comment #21 Removed by Moderator

To: kylaka
Quad is famous in the Employee Stock Ownership Plan community (ESOP). One of the reasons for their success is that their "PEP" (Personal Enrichment Plan) is a retirement program contributing company stock to employee accounts.

This non-cash corporate tax deduction captured dollars which would otherwise bleed out to the government for the growth of the company. Just another example of how companies do better when tax burdens are reduced.

Blessings on Freepers Everywhere.
22 posted on 07/30/2002 1:20:00 AM PDT by esopman
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To: WIMom; 9mmmel; BlackbirdSST; DirtyDoc; gjeiii
Sad West Virginia pings from down the road from the Martinsburg plant. Quad is one of the largest employers here in the eastern panhandle.
23 posted on 07/30/2002 5:40:37 AM PDT by RFP
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My husband is at the Martinsburg plant often. He says the people there are great and really likes spending time with them.

Quad started with 11 employees and has over 14,000 employees now. It's going to be a rough day for a lot of people.

24 posted on 07/30/2002 6:53:16 AM PDT by WIMom
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To: Catspaw; JeanS; quietolong; Mike-o-Matic; mafree; kylaka; Semi Civil Servant; Dight; ...

Printing magnate Quadracci found dead in Pine Lake

Business success, generous giving were themes that marked his 66 years

From the Journal Sentinel
Last Updated: July 30, 2002

Quad/Graphics president and founder Harry V. Quadracci, 66, died Monday near his Chenequa home on Pine Lake, the Chenequa Police Department reported.

His body was discovered in the lake around 3 p.m. after he had been missing all day, Chenequa police said. The cause of death was under investigation, and the Waukesha County medical examiner is to conduct an autopsy.

Quadracci is survived by his wife, Betty, publisher of Milwaukee Magazine, and four children.

The Quadraccis are philanthropists and art collectors who have been involved in educational, cultural and civic affairs in the Milwaukee metropolitan area.

Quadracci was an entrepreneur before the term became a fashionable buzzword of American business. If anyone seemed to personify the American Dream, it was Quadracci.

He founded Quad/Graphics 31 years ago this month in an abandoned millwork factory in Pewaukee, using a $35,000 second mortgage on his home and capital from a handful of associates. He built the company from nothing into a powerhouse in the American printing industry.

Quad/Graphics now has more than 15 sites on three continents and is the largest privately held printing company in North America.

Over the years, it has printed a wide variety of magazines, including Newsweek, Playboy, National Geographic Traveler, U.S. News & World Report, Time and Popular Mechanics.

His success in building the company helped transform southeastern and south central Wisconsin into a hub for the nation's printing industry. Thousands of jobs resulted.

In a 1996 interview with the Journal Sentinel, Quadracci was asked if his company could sustain its rapid growth.

"We don't print the whole world yet," he said. "When we print the whole world, then we'll have an opportunity to stumble."

A devastating fire

Just over two weeks ago, a shaken and distraught Quadracci filtered through a crowd of firefighters and media to take a look at Quad/Graphics' former 10-story automated storage facility, reduced to a burning pile of rubble near Lomira.

His customary Quad/Graphics blue uniform - worn by everyone from Quadracci to the most junior worker - was noticeably absent. He arrived on the scene clad in brown pants and bundled in a green plush sweater.

He stood for several minutes just outside the yellow tape, strung around the area, with his hand over his mouth. In a brief statement, he called the building collapse and fire that killed a Fond du Lac man a disaster of epic proportion.

The cause of the collapse and fire remains under investigation. Recently released reports from the Dodge County Sheriff's Department included eyewitness accounts of the collapse from three men inside the building.

Their statements - coupled with others from Quad/Graphics employees - pointed to faulty welds in the automated racking system that supported the roof. Welds were under repair in the weeks before the collapse, although investigators from local, state and federal agencies say it is too early to name a cause.

The rubble that burned for more than a week was fueled by nearly finished catalogs, including those from Cabela's and L.L. Bean.

Company officials said Quadracci had been working day and night since the fire with little rest.

Dodge County Sheriff Jerold Witte had nothing but praise for Quadracci and his business in the weeks after the collapse.

"The Quadracci family has been extremely cooperative," he said. "They were forthcoming with any information that we've asked for."

Firefighters who battled the blaze were equally complimentary of the Quad/Graphics family.

Every need - from sunscreen to water, oil changes and lost wages - was taken care of by the printing company, firefighters said.

Few setbacks before

The fire was about the only major setback for a company that grew steadily from its founding.

Anthony Bryant, one of Quadracci's first investors and a member of the company's board of directors since the company's inception, said late Monday, "This is a tragic loss for all of us."

"He was a spirited force behind Quad/Graphics," Bryant said.

Bryant said he saw Quadracci last on Thursday, and noted, "He was under great strain since the fire in Lomira."

"I think he aged 10 years since the day of the fire," Bryant added.

Quadracci's father-in-law, James J. Ewens, died at age 101 the day before the building collapsed.

Ewens was still on the board of directors at Quad/Graphics at the time of his death. He was a co-founding member of the close-knit family business.

Bryant said Quadracci's death hit "like a thunder strike" and he can't fathom how it could have happened.

Nevertheless, the company will continue, Bryant said.

"The company has very strong management, and we will survive and prosper," Bryant said.

Retired Waukesha State Bank president and Republican Party activist Don Taylor called Quadracci "a public servant without being in government."

"The whole community will miss him," Taylor said.

"Harry V. Quadracci embodied the American success story. . . . Harry's entrepreneurial spirit made Quad/Graphics the largest employer in Waukesha County and a printing leader throughout the world," said Waukesha County Executive Dan Finley.

"Harry was quite simply a man with few peers."

As the company grew, so did Quadracci's involvement in charitable causes.

In 1997, Harry and Betty Quadracci pledged $10 million to the Milwaukee Art Museum campaign for a new addition.

The sixth-richest man in Wisconsin in 2001, Quadracci was also a constant donor to local causes and was frequently in attendance at charity balls. He and his wife's $10 million donation largely made the Milwaukee Art Museum's major overhaul possible.

The Quadraccis also donated millions to the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, giving their name to the Quadracci Powerhouse Theater. A $500,000 donation to St. Josaphat's Basilica was the first large donation that kick-started the church's 1995 restoration effort.

"An investment in the community," Quadracci called the donation.

Quadracci was as unpredictable as he was generous.

At one company Christmas party, Quadracci entered dressed as a ringmaster riding an elephant. At another event, he walked a tightrope strung across a factory floor. At yet another, he wore an admiral's outfit and led other managers in song.

Again from the 1996 Journal Sentinel interview, he shared this anecdote: "We have our management group, and one time I came into the management group (meeting) marching in front of a band, dressed as a drum major. And they got a big kick out of it, and the reason I did that is to ask the question: Does a drum major lead the band or does he just walk in front of it? Do you know what the answer is? It's irrelevant. He's gotta be there."

This story was written in Milwaukee by Journal Sentinel staff writer Rick Barrett from reports by Franny White, Jesse Garza, Joe Taschler, Jon Olson, Jacqueline Seibel, Lisa Sink and Lauria Lynch-German, all of the Journal Sentinel staff.

25 posted on 07/30/2002 7:00:06 AM PDT by WIMom
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To: WIMom
Harry and his family wree scow sailors on Pine and other inland lakes. What a tragedy.
26 posted on 07/30/2002 7:07:45 AM PDT by Solson
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To: Solson
Unbelievable story..... A huge loss indeed.
27 posted on 07/30/2002 7:14:33 AM PDT by Daus
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To: WIMom
We have a plant in Saratoga Springs, NY.
28 posted on 07/30/2002 7:41:06 AM PDT by 1Old Pro
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To: WIMom
Never heard of him here in NY, but I know him now after reading these posts. A great American, RIP.
29 posted on 07/30/2002 9:54:44 AM PDT by Jhensy
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To: WIMom
Thanks for the ping..still can't believe he's gone.
30 posted on 07/30/2002 1:41:39 PM PDT by mafree
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To: WIMom
Waukesha County bump. It's a big personal loss to the area - his company and donations have made a huge impact. My father has met him a few times, and said he was the most down-to-earth billionaire you'd ever find.
31 posted on 07/30/2002 3:00:00 PM PDT by July 4th
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To: WIMom
A Waukesha County Coroner has issued a finding of accidental death by drowning. Mark Belling is raising questions as to why there was such a quick declaration of this given the circumstances--especially before toxicology reports are returned and reviewed.
32 posted on 07/30/2002 3:06:38 PM PDT by Faraday
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To: WIMom
With both Harry Quadracci and Jane Pettit having died within the last 12 months, the cultural community in Milwaukee will be desperate. It will be interesting to see what provisions may have been made for their philanthropic wishes and who the non-profit sector beneficiaries might be.
33 posted on 07/30/2002 3:10:58 PM PDT by Faraday
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To: WIMom
I hate to ask this because he certainly seemed to be generous, but I have always heard that he printed porn such as Hustler, Playboy, etc. Does anyone know if that is true?
34 posted on 07/30/2002 4:06:30 PM PDT by Litany
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To: WIMom; Faraday
Thanks for the post and sympathies to the family - truly is a loss to the community.

Faraday - since I NEVER listen to Belling anymore, I'm wondering what he was questioning? My husband heard bits and pieces and was fairly disgusted. The pathology for a drowning (and/or foul play) is very obvious and doesn't need toxicology reports. So,is Belling questioning whether or not this was a suicide? Does he suspect drug involvement? If Quadracci had suffered heart/lung failure, or some other life threatening problem due to drugs, again toxicology reports aren't necessary...they simply confirm the pathology found on autopsy and examination. I also wonder if a man under sufficient distress to take his own life would have bothered to put on his swim trunks beforehand. Of course, medication could have been a contributing factor to an accidental fall...but I think at this point, only God and Harry knows exactly what happened and speculation from Belling (although he thinks he's God) is just another example, to me, of Belling flapping his jaw without sufficient knowledge of a topic, and in this instance, in extremely poor taste...but from Belling, I guess that's to be expected. ;^)

35 posted on 07/31/2002 9:06:15 AM PDT by republicandiva
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To: republicandiva
RD, I believe what Belling was saying is that the finding by the coroner was rather quick given the circumstances. That this would not have been the case for someone less renowned in the community. He was supported in this by several callers, including some who claimed to be in law enforcement. I don't believe he was being disrespectful of the Quadraccis, but was questioning how civil authorities were handling their responsibilities. Belling has a skeptical, perhaps cynical, view of the world. This also turns me off at times, but he can raise interesting questions.
36 posted on 07/31/2002 9:55:17 AM PDT by Faraday
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To: Faraday
I don't think it was quick. From my understanding, the coroner had the body a full day. I would imagine, if he (or whomever on his staff) is the least bit competent, it didn't take long to do the autospy if drowning was the obvious cause of death. It also only takes minutes to run most blood and urine screening tests which would have ruled out any large doses of drugs/alcohol - there would also have been indications of this on autopsy either in the stomach or changes to other organs. Therefore, I think the coroner came to the only reasonable conclusion. You know...if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck,...etc. Absent any obvious extenuating factors, anything else would have been pure speculation.

Was Harry Quadracci's autopsy given priorty over the average Joe on the street- undoubtedly - he's a high-profile individual. What I'm wondering, is what is Belling insinuating - what other circumstances? There was absolutely no sign of foul play or anything untoward???

To digress to the Belling "thing" husband said he was ranting the previous day about Lance Armstrong "cheating"...IMHO Belling has become a conspiracy theorist (with NO facts to back up his statements) theory being his ratings are falling and he's desperate for a "juicy" scoop of some sort, or he's just too lazy to really research a topic. Until there's any HARD evidence that poor Mr. Quadracci suffered anything more than an unfortunate accident, regardless of precipitating factors, I'll believe the coroner. Having listened to Belling for years and knowing absolutely many of the things he's said have had no basis in fact, and from everything I know of and have worked with in the medical field, the coroner's conclusion makes more sense than Belling's insinuations. It may make interesting talk radio, but without any proof, it is IMHO disrespectful.

37 posted on 07/31/2002 12:52:39 PM PDT by republicandiva
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To: republicandiva
I was also very upset with his comments about Lance Armstrong. He admitted he had no evidence that he was "dirty," just the generalization that "all" top cyclists "do it." But admit it, Mark is a genius--which is why Richard Jewel was convicted of the Atlanta bombing, the Packers were 9 and 9 last year, and the Ament recall movement was unable to get enough signatures to oust him.
38 posted on 07/31/2002 1:01:51 PM PDT by Faraday
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To: Faraday
But admit it, Mark is a genius

LOL - guess that means we should be nuclear physicists!! ;^)

39 posted on 07/31/2002 4:07:24 PM PDT by republicandiva
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