2019 In Review: An Interview with Nahan COO, Curt Tillotson

Author: Melissa Fransen, Marketing Manager

2019 was another great year for Nahan and I thought it would be a great time to take an opportunity to interview Curt Tillotson, who serves as Nahan’s Chief Operating Officer. Curt started with Nahan in 2011 after many years at a regional grocer and at Best Buy in business development and financial roles . Outside of work, Curt is kept quite busy with his wife and their seven children. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

What are three accomplishments that you are particularly proud of that Nahan achieved in 2019?

Curt: Well, 2019 was an amazing year with many all-time records established.  I can only pick three?  This is not easy but I will give it a shot:

First, we managed to land over 100 new accounts.  We are very appreciative of all of the companies that trust us to print for them.

Second, our new website was launched in 2019 and it looks amazing!  Take a look when you have a chance.

Third, we continue to invest in our business and have purchased industry-leading equipment which allows us to amaze our customers even more

In three words, tell me what you think made Nahan stand out in 2019.

Curt: PEOPLE! PEOPLE! PEOPLE!  We are so proud of our people.  We continue to create opportunities for them and they step up again and again.

What do you like most about working for Nahan?

Curt: I really enjoy working side by side with this amazing team here at Nahan.  We accomplish far more than I could ever ask or imagine.

Nahan won several awards again for the quality of our work through Gold Ink, Sappi, and PIM – something we are very proud of. Tell me from your perspective, what this means to you.

Curt: Plain and simple, we are the best printer in North America.  All of these awards are a testimony to what our customers tell us every day.  We truly never stop being the best.

Nahan opened Nahan University, our employee training center in 2019, which has already benefited many of our employees. Tell me about how things are coming along with the training center.

Curt: As we go into 2020, there will be a lot of training opportunities for all of our employees.  We believe that is the best way to equip our people to win in the marketplace.

Do you have any New Year’s Resolutions you’d like to share?

Curt: Suffice it to say, I will be part of a weight loss team!

You speak quite often about our Nahan Values. Tell me about one of those values and what it means to you.

Curt: Never Stop Being the Best!

This value epitomizes Nahan Printing and our founders and owners.  We are never satisfied with the status quo.  We always want to make things better. It has been said that the slowest a piece of equipment runs is the first day it comes in the building. That is our attitude day in and day out.  And, it is absolutely critical.  Competition is fierce in the print industry.  Our customers have many choices when it comes to printing.  We have to be the best in the business in order to win.

“It has been said that the slowest a piece of equipment runs is the first day it comes in the building.”

– Curt Tillotson, Chief Operating Officer, Nahan Printing

Nahan supported a number of local charitable organizations again in 2019. Tell me about one that stood out to you this year.

Curt: We supported the United Way more than ever in 2019.  I love the work that United Way does day in and day out.  Not only do they help many, many people who are truly in need but they also make sure that our charitable donationas are spent wisely.

What are you most excited about as Nahan goes into 2020?

Curt: Winning!  We have made tremendous strides as a company and I look forward to making even greater progress in 2020.  We have great employees who operate as a team.  We have industry leading equipment.  We have a customer base that LOVES our work.

Bio: Melissa Fransen is our Marketing Manager. She started with Nahan in May of 2017. Melissa is responsible for Nahan’s marketing initiatives, which includes everything from conference planning to social media initiatives. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys spending time with her husband and enjoying time in the outdoors with family and friends.

Top Five Nahan Blogs of 2019

 

Author: Melissa Fransen, Marketing Manager

It’s been another great year for Nahan and we have been thrilled at the performance, likes, and shares of our new blog articles that were added to our revamped website launched in October. Thank you for all of your comments and the great feedback! We appreciate you!

In case you’ve missed it, here were our top five performing blog articles of 2019 so you can check them out:

 

  1. Nahan Differentiators that Drive Results
  2. Three Benefits of Working for a Family-Owned Business
  3. Metallic Inks Add Fun and Interesting Effects
  4. Build a Dynamic Plan for Direct Mail
  5. What is Information Security?

We have a ton of great articles in store for 2020, so be sure to check back to our site for the latest and greatest articles. Plus, we also share these articles on our LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter pages. If you have content that you’d like to see from our team in the future, feel free to contact us anytime and let us know. We are just getting started and 2020 is going to be a fantastic year!

Bio: Melissa Fransen is our Marketing Manager. She started with Nahan in May of 2017. Melissa is responsible for Nahan’s marketing initiatives, which includes everything from conference planning to social media initiatives. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys spending time with her husband and enjoying time in the outdoors with family and friends.

 

Winter Paper Conditioning in the Upper Midwest

 

Author: Jim Hesch, Customer Service Leader

I hope you will be joining us for press OK’s this winter! While you may need to bring a warm jacket, I promise you it will be 70 degrees inside our pressroom with plenty of warm and inviting smiles to greet you. Fun fact, 90% of our customers are located outside the state of MN with many traveling from both the East and West Coasts. The average January high temperature is 23 degrees F and the average low is 7 degrees F.  The average snowfall is 12”. This is a perfect scenario to make a snow angel on our front lawn. Minnesota takes great pride in keeping its roadways and airports open and free of snow. We love it here (or we wouldn’t stay).

Paper Transportation

 

In winter in the upper Midwest, paper travels by standard truck or rail.  It is very expensive to ship in heated containers, so paper gets very cold during shipping. Cold paper does not run as well; it dries out, wrinkles, has problems with ink drying and can affect print quality, dot gain, and overall color. For paper to perform well, it needs to be acclimated to press room temperature and moisture levels.

Guidelines

 

Paper Company guidelines vary, however, a good rule of thumb is to allow paper to acclimate to pressroom conditions for at least 24 hours and up to 100 hours. The heavier the paper and the colder the outside temperature, the longer it takes to warm up. At Nahan, we plan for paper to arrive a few days earlier in the winter months to allow for paper to acclimate so it runs at it’s best.

Here is a link to Neenah Paper Conditioning chart:

https://www.neenahpaper.com/resources/printer-resources/paper-conditioning

So the advice we have for you is to dress warm and travel to Minnesota to enjoy our winter wonderland and order paper in early so it can warm up.

Here is a link from Minnesota Public Radio on Minnesota’s beautiful winters.

https://www.mprnews.org/story/2013/01/25/photos-minnesotas-bitterly-cold-brightly-beautiful-winter

About the Author: Jim Hesch is a Department Manager here at Nahan, was born in North Dakota but spent his early years in California. He is now entrenched in the Minnesota culture of shoveling snow, opinions on the meaning of life, and blogging. Come join us!

Photo Credit: Adam Rohde – arohdephoto.com

5 Benefits of Working with a Centrally Located Printer

Author: Matt Deibler, National Sales Representative

 

Print buyers and marketing execution leaders have more variables to consider than ever before. Choosing the right partner is critical and it’s not always an easy decision.  You want to ensure that you identify a printer who has the right mix of capabilities and resources to support the unique needs of your business. You also want to think strategically about where your chosen vendor is positioned geographically. How will this impact the effectiveness of your campaigns? What kinds of advantages or disadvantages does your printer’s location present?

Here are five key benefits that I see in working with a centrally located printer:

 

1) Proximity to Mills

It’s no secret that over the last couple of years, the paper market has become quite volatile. Prices have risen and we have experienced several cycles of tightening supply. Choosing a vendor located near the paper mills is beneficial as it offers greater flexibility. With relationships at the mill level, we are better equipped to service the needs of clients with tight deadlines.  Our location allows us to more effectively locate stock and negotiate on its pricing and delivery.

 

2) Postal Savings

Postage is the single most expensive component of any direct mail campaign, yet it still receives very little attention from many marketing execution leaders. The perception seems to be that postage/distribution is a fixed cost applied equally among all vendors and it is often overlooked during the partner evaluation process. But not all vendors are built the same when it comes to postage and freight and a central location does create distinct advantages. USPS entry discounts (through NDC and SCF sortation) are available to everyone. That being said, it’s not very efficient to drop ship mail from an east coast distribution point to the west coast.  The cost of freight often outweighs the savings on postage. If you are working with national mail files, you will want to ensure that you are aligned with a centrally located printer to handle your mail plan. It’s a huge opportunity to put money back in your budget.

 

3) Speed to Market

In this technology driven age that we live in, speed is everything. If you want higher conversion rates you will need to capitalize on your windows of opportunity as quickly as you can. Speed to market matters. Choosing the right partner to execute on your print and distribute your product in a timely fashion is essential to success in today’s market. Centrally located printers like Nahan have the ability to connect to all points of the country in equal time. So whether your prospect is in FL, CA, WA or NY we can reach them, and we can do so within a time frame that optimizes response.

 

4) In-Home Predictability

Speed is just one element of in-home timing. There are a lot of direct mail vendors who are equipped to push a project through their plant and out into the mail stream quickly, but very few are skilled at targeting and hitting specific, predefined in-home windows. This can make or break a campaign. If you are advertising a dated promotion, sale or offer you are restricted to a defined response period and it’s critical that you make the most of it.  As I mentioned earlier, a central location provides better options with freight and postal and it allows for a more strategic approach with mail planning. If you wish to validate the timing of delivery, most vendors have access to tracking services that can be applied to your campaigns. We use them frequently to gauge our own performance.

 

5) Fulfillment

Fulfillment is a major growth area in our business here at Nahan; it’s a no brainer based upon our location. Whether your need is trigger mail execution, kitting or distribution of inventoried promotional products, it makes sense to align with a centrally located partner. It’s about freight and distribution and that applies to product coming in as well as product going out. Plus, warehouse space is generally more affordable in the Midwest, so it’s a win from all angles.

 

Bio: Matt Deibler is a National Sales Representative based out of Chapel Hill, NC.  He joined Nahan in April of 2018. Matt manages relationships with direct mail clients in all parts of the country.  In his spare time, Matt enjoys spending time with his wife, his two year old son, Malachi and his new baby daughter Reagan.  He is an avid fan of college football and he loves to travel and blog about his life experiences.

Metallic Inks Add Fun and Interesting Effects

Author: Jim Hesch, Customer Service Leader

 

Gold and Silver

Since the earliest of times, Gold and Silver have been coveted for their brilliance, their eye catching sparkle and richness. We wear jewelry to enhance beauty. Our cars shimmer in the sun; we wash them and wax them to a brilliant luster.  The Automobile industry has long known that sparkly paint and shiny chrome attract the second look, the longing for a new vehicle, and how it speaks of being successful. Even black paint has a sparkle built into it.

 

Metallic Inks

If you are looking to catch your target market’s eye, to increase interest in your printed piece or just add some fun, consider adding a metallic spot color.

Depending on how you use the metallic ink, you can add eye catching luster to the image. The Metallic can also be incorporated into the print to add an interesting effect to black halftones or 4CP. Metallic inks can be blended with other colors to create some fun colors (about 280 standard metallic spot colors on top of the standard Silvers and Golds).  Metallic inks have become more affordable, easier to run and the version we use at Nahan is also Low VOC.  Foils can be much more expensive than Metallic inks, making metallic a more affordable substitute.  Here are a couple of helpful links on metallic ink usage from Eckart’s website:

There are several levels of brilliance that can be used in your project, some that rival foil stamping.

 

Tips

Things to remember when using a Metallic:

  • Always request a drawdown of your color
  • Metallic inks are more brilliant on gloss coated paper
  • If using a metallic on the cover or outside of a mailer you should protect the ink with a varnish or coating

Learn more about Nahan and our capabilities by contacting us today.

About the Blogger: Jim Hesch is a Department Leader at Nahan Printing and has been in the printing industry since 1973. He has held the positions of Press Operator, Operations Manager, and Customer Service Leader.  Jim loves visiting his grandchildren, teaching them to play guitar and reminding them that grades are more important than sports.

Nahan Wins Gold at the Annual Gold Ink Awards

SAINT CLOUD, MN – September 6, 2019 –

Nahan Wins Awards

Printing Impressions magazine, producer of the annual Gold Ink Awards, announced that Nahan has received a Gold Award in the Consumer Catalogs, Web category for production of the Neiman Marcus 2018 Christmas Catalog. The Gold Ink awards are considered the industry’s most prestigious print competition. Nahan was also recognized with two Bronze awards and seven Pewter awards in the following categories:

  • Consumer Catalogs, Web
  • Business Catalogs, Web
  • Digital Printing, Brochures & Booklets
  • Dimensional Printing

Gold Ink Selection Process

This year’s Gold Ink Award winners were chosen from nearly 600 entries submitted within 47 different categories, including: Books, Catalogs, Commercial Printing, Digital Printing, Magazines, Packaging, and many more.

Winning pieces were chosen based on print quality, technical difficulty, and overall visual effect. All winners can be found at https://www.piworld.com/extension/gold-ink-awards/

“It is great to be recognized by Printing Impressions for the quality of work we put into every product, each and every day. We are once again, very proud of our team’s commitment and dedication to quality; an asset that continues to set us apart in the industry.” said John Klumb, Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

About Nahan

Nahan Printing is a Minnesota-based, independent, family-owned, world class printer committed to providing end-to-end solutions that add value to our clients. Since its inception in 1962, Nahan has specialized in catalog and direct mail printing for industries such as retail, financial services, non-profit and hospitality. With a client roster of legendary brands, Nahan prints iconic work that represents the highest level of quality and innovation in the industry. For more information about Nahan, please visit http://www.Nahan.com.