A Sneak Peek at the Stories behind our 2018 Difference Makers

By now, you have received your April issue of ENX Magazine in the mail. It’s a good one, packed with stories that review the role light production printing can play within your dealership (and by extension, the need for this type of equipment among your client base). It’s not all rah-rah; there is an extensive piece that breaks down the data and takes a hard look at profitability…like any other product and service offering, it may not fly well with your particular customer profiles. As disclaimers often state, your results may vary.

But I’m looking ahead at May for the moment. That is our annual Difference Maker issue, which contains profiles on more than 60 of our industry’s movers and shakers. Beginning next month, we will do more extensive pieces on many of these top performers, which adds a touch of color and insight into the people behind the most successful dealers, OEMs, suppliers and technology providers in our office technology universe.

If you’re like me, you enjoy learning about the journeys people have taken. Some destinies are almost pre-ordained, particularly in the case of family-owned businesses. Others have a zeal for technology and were lured by the attraction of working for a high-profile dealer or OEM organization. Yet, there are also people who have stumbled into our industry, almost by accident, and became enamored with the imaging world.

Technologies come and go. Like the fax machine and typewriter, more enhanced methods of sharing information—indeed, saving and storing that information as well—emerge and completely change the way we do business. Only the people remain a constant. Old-fashioned ways of doing business, at their core, are still widely accepted, only now the manner in which we communicate with one another continues to evolve. Phones have grown more silent; email/text notifications have virtually silenced the ringer.

I won’t usurp the Difference Maker issue, but I would like to toss you a sampler platter to enjoy before the official reveal of the 2018 honorees. Check out these little nuggets of stories behind the people who have made a difference in the lives of their companies, co-workers, customers and related partners.

Paying the Price

One of our honorees took over the family business started by his father. That is a common tale in our industry, but one aspect that is often overlooked is the personal sacrifices that are required to make a company successful. This particular entrepreneur devoted nearly every waking hour, toiling seven days a week, forsaking a personal life and vacations. Outside of his dogs, the company is this man’s pride and joy. And he defended that pride and joy in a situation that called for great financial risk without the promise of reward.

One former Xerox executive is quickly making his assemblage of high-caliber office technology dealerships the envy of our industry. This CEO’s organization has already acquired eight dealerships in the first quarter of 2018 alone and is on the fast track to becoming the first $500 million performer in the office technology space. A visionary with the resources to make it happen, this man is dynamic, yet humble; aggressive, yet warm and approachable. With every acquisition, he continues to make history and may change the dynamic of competition in the industry.

Keeping Touch with Roots

In another example that proves joining a family business is no cakewalk, another honoree earned his wings on the tough streets of Brooklyn. He once worked as a dispatcher and drove a delivery truck, getting his hands dirty while becoming well acquainted with every aspect of the business. This dealership was born in a single brownstone and has blossomed into 10 locations, with more than 450 employees. But through it all, this executive has remained humble and has cultivated a family atmosphere and a caring culture that gives back to the old neighborhood.

Supporting the long-held belief that America is the land of opportunity, one of our honorees fled Vietnam by boat, and with limited resources was able to create a highly successful mailing equipment dealership in the United States. One of his biggest fans believes a movie could be made about his life and the journey he took in the course of making a positive impact on the industry.

Home of the Brave

Lastly, we have a shout out to all of the men and women who have served in our nation’s military, cementing their place as Difference Makers. Last week, I revealed the name of one honoree, Melissa Kaiser, a West Point graduate who served as a Cyber Warfare officer in the U.S. Air Force. She is the director of business development at SOCSoter for the nationwide managed detection and response service, specializing in securing SMBs. In other words, Kaiser has achieved badass status.

Stay tuned for our official reveal of this year’s honorees and more tales behind the people who make our industry one of the greatest in the nation.


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.