Supplies Industry Mourns Passing of Gene Fontana

Gene Fontana

Gene Fontana, 71, a warm and colorful figure who was well known throughout the imaging supplies circle, passed away Sept. 30 following a courageous two-year battle with an undisclosed illness, according to longtime friend and business partner Tom Ghyczy.

Mr. Fontana was a “mentor and coach in our industry” and a pioneer in the third-party imaging supplies world, according to Ghyczy. His jovial nature never masked the fact that he had a massive knowledge base and an uncanny ability to sell.

“Gene had a gregarious personality, always had a story or joke to tell,” said Ghyczy, who worked alongside Mr. Fontana at Royal Imaging for 22 years and is currently Director of Global Sales for ACM Technologies. “There was a lot of substance behind his capabilities—he wasn’t all flash and sorbet-colored suits.”

A 2016 ENX Magazine Difference Maker, Mr. Fontana began his career with Bic Pen Corp. in 1975, and four years later was transferred to Los Angeles, the company’s second largest territory in the country. Named Salesman of the Year in 1980, he joined National Pen in 1982 as a consultant, and three years later started a company representing a manufacturer of compatible toners. Mr. Fontana would later become a founding partner in aftermarket components distributor Future Graphics.

“I had reps throughout the United States placing the product in office supply dealers,” Mr. Fontana told ENX Magazine in 2016. “In 1988, [Future Graphics founder] Robert Goldstein offered me a partnership to assimilate the compatible laser toner cartridges that had naturally grown out of the compatible copier toner market.”

After leaving Future Graphics, he did a stint with ACM Technologies before joining Ghyczy as a partner at Royal Imaging. In January of 2021, Royal Imaging was sold to ACM Technologies, after which Mr. Fontana retired to focus on his health and family.

ENX Magazine Publisher Susan Neimes recalled how Mr. Fontana could always be counted on to make her laugh. “It seemed that at the end of every call, he had a joke ready to tell,” she said. “He was an amazing person and a big personality in the supplies world.”

As Ghyczy observed, “If you knew the guy, you liked him.”

He is survived by a son, Anthony; a daughter, Danea; eight grandchildren; and Rhonda Rios, his partner for more than 15 years. Memorial services have not been announced.

Erik Cagle
About the Author
Erik Cagle is the editorial director of ENX Magazine. He is an author, writer and editor who spent 18 years covering the commercial printing industry.