ASB’s VP of Sales, Rob Whitman (pictured fourth from left), was recently inducted into the Ben Franklin Honor Society by Printing Industries of America. According to the organization, the award “recognizes and honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the advancement and betterment of the printing and graphic communications industry through meritorious service (paid or unpaid).”
Rob Whitman has been in the print industry for over 35 years, being recruited in 1984 off the LaSalle College (now University, where he graduated. Since then, he has worked for several companies, including roles as the President of Innovative Print & Media Group and CEO of Everest Sales & Marketing. Rob joined American Solutions for Business three years ago and has been a vital member of the leadership team.
What are the biggest changes you’ve seen over your time in the industry?
RW: The biggest changes I have seen are related to changing customer expectations and speed of process. 35 years ago the customer was okay with waiting 6-8 weeks for the production of a business form. In the last several years, speed of communications and speed to market of information has lead to many innovations that now enable print providers to turn complex full color print jobs in just days or hours. Lastly, the way companies communicate to their clients with both traditional and new/social media has has required a more diverse marketer and a more versatile provider. As a result, American’s model of providing managed print, brand, and marketing services has become more valuable to the client as we help maintain brand consistency across many products and enable them to focus more on strategy while we manage the execution.
What has been the most meaningful part of your career?
RW: The most meaningful part of my career has been the many great people I have met. This industry is filled with smart, assertive entrepreneurs, but they have always shown a willingness to share their experience and wisdom. I have also had great mentors in my life that have helped me form my style and approach. They have been advisors and counselors to me over the years and help me become a more effective leader and contributor to the customers and employees I serve. Today I try to pass it on to others.
How has ASB impacted your career/life?
RW: American has a great business model for today’s customers and to support the unique and changing client needs, as well as our ability to support the entrepreneurial spirit of sales professionals in our industry. I met Justin and Larry while working on the board of directors for the PSDA and from afar appreciated the business approach and their sincerity and the over the past few years, my interaction with rest of our great employees has supported my initial impression. ASB has such a unique approach as a company and each sales associate has their own vision of what they want to be and to achieve for themselves and their customers. Our model of supporting the sales associates as our clients has enabled me to become more of a servant leader focused on helping others achieve their vision of greatness. I like creating and contributing to winning business and I like helping others to reach their best. American has allowed me the format to utilize my best skills and experience.
What does the induction into the hall of fame mean to you?
RW: It means I am old! It is a nice honor and it is great to be recognized for my contribution to the industry and companies I have worked for. I started to get involved in the industry for selfish reasons. I wanted to learn from smarter folks than me, so I started going to DMIA meetings (now PSDA) and the DMA (Direct Marketing Association) to network , develop relationships and to learn. Over time I was recruited into service and then ask to get involved in leadership, culminating with being Board President for the PSDA. It was a lot of fun, but the great people I met and served with helped me be a better employee and business leader, so to me it means that while I used to be the young leader in the room, that is now no longer the case. That said, I will continue to look for ways to freely pass on the wisdom that others have shared with me over the years.
To learn more about the Ben Franklin Honor Society, visit https://www.printing.org/programs/groups/ben-franklin-honor-society.
To learn more about American Solutions for Business, visit http://www.americanbus.com.