Experience Speaks

Experience Speaks

How did you get into the converting business?
Revere Corp. asked us to print top sheets for household items packaging. We realized the market was a great fit for our capabilities.

Describe your management style.
Empowerment—nurturing people with exceptional talent and leadership skills.

How do you retain good employees?
Provide opportunities for them to reach individual goals through their employment. We have excellent employee retention. The average number of years an employee has been with us is 15 years.

What is the biggest threat to the converting industry right now?
Overcapacity. Adding presses is not the quick fix our industry needs to stem diminishing profitability from package printing.

What is the key to growing a business in a bad economy?
It is no different than operating in good times—manage as efficiently and effectively as possible and always look ahead to make adjustments in the game plan as necessary. You need to remain flexible.

What is the biggest mistake you made and how did you fix it?
In our early years, we were like too many commercial printers. We were generalists; our products and markets were too broad. In the late 1990s we right-sized our company with a focus on just large-format printing.

What is the best advice you ever got?
Focus on what you do best and you will succeed.

At a Glance
Huston Patterson Corp.
123 W. North St.
Decatur, IL 62525
2 plants/90 employees
Founded in 1895; oldest privately owned package printer in North America Specialty: Large-format package printer

What are you most proud of in your business?
My father bought the business in 1961; I took the reigns following his death in 1991. My daughter is now part of the company. I am blessed to work with wonderful employees, exceptional business partners, vendors, and clients—it’s something my dad always did and a value I will pass on.

Do you have a personal hero?
Grandma Kowa—the most positive Christian I ever met.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love to assist our clients in achieving their goals. Helping clients be continuously successful is why we are in business.

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