The official printing press of the 2009 Inaugural invitations located in Brooklyn, New York
Your Name: Jim Donnelly
Your Title and Full Company Name: President, Precise Continental
Your Work History:
Prior to founding Precise in 1983, I was the President of Corpex Banknote Company for five years. I begin my career as a Purchasing Agent for Banks and Insurance Companies. I was Vice President of Administration for USLIFE Corporation from 1973-1978. I then owned and operated a dry cleaners for three years.
Resides: West Orange, New Jersey
Where did you grow up?
Brooklyn, New York about 2 miles from where are offices are currently located.
What was your first job?
Delivering dry cleaning. I purchased the dry cleaners years later.
How did you get into the printing industry?
I started on the purchasing side working for a large insurance company and fell in love with the industry. One of my vendors was going to purchase a company and got me the job running it for the current owner.
Tell us about your company, Precise Continental. What do you think makes Precise stand out from the rest?
We focus on our clients, learning from them what their goals and challenges are and from their feedback, we make strategic efforts to meet their current and future needs. In 26 years, we have created a company that has the right equipment and expertise to support all our client’s printing needs. And we are true to our mission of always maximizing the value of the client’s budget.
You were chosen out of thousands to be the official printer of the 2009 Presidential Inauguration invitations for the 44th President, how did that happen?
A public relations firm in Washington, D.C. contacted us. The owner is the son of one of our Law accounts in the District. He knew that we were a union engraver and President Obama was making that one of the criteria for selection. It was he that put us in contact with the Inaugural Committee. The other criteria was that you had to be a “green” printer and we are FSC Certified. Those two factors, together with our award-winning work and reputation in the marketplace, got us the job.
We can only imagine what that was like when you were told and you broke the news to your staff. What was their reaction?
They went crazy! They felt it was a great honor to be selected and that they felt they were a part of history.
Once you were chosen, there was a lot to get done, how did you handle the pressure and keep everyone focused and on deadline?
Technically, it was not a difficult job for us. However, it was the quantity: 1,100,000 invitations engraved in 3 impressions is a total of 3,300,000 impressions. That was the challenge. It was amazing how relaxed everyone was once we planned everything out, which was essential, i.e. how many presses we where going to use, and how many hours we had to work to get it done on time, delivering the most perfect product. Once we had the plan, we just implemented it.
What was the absolute best thing about this whole experience?
Two great things:
1) The resulting PR we received in the press – on television, in the papers, etc.
2) The team spirit and sense of pride for all our employees.
Not to be anti-climactic, but if you weren’t doing what you do — printing for Presidents and all (LOL) — what would you be doing?
I love what I do! So, I never really think about doing something different. Whatever it would be, it would be something where I would have the opportunity to work with creative, high energy people that challenge me.
How long have you been a member of the Metropolitan New York Chapter?
I think a year after the Chapter was formed, probably over 15 years. I also served as Treasurer for 4 years.
What has been the greatest value for you as a member and what would you pass on to others who may be contemplating joining the Chapter?
Networking with really nice people who are always available to help.
As a New Yorker, what’s the favorite thing about being a part of this town?
The energy of the people who live and work here.
Uptown, Midtown, Downtown, the outer boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens, etc.) or the CT, NJ or Westchester suburbs – where’s the best place to hang out with friends? That’s the great thing about New York. You can have it ALL! I love to hang out with friends at home with good food, red wine and Jazz in the background
And of course we have to ask, as a true New Yorker, who’s your favorite sports team?
Not me, I am tennis player!
Subway, bus, taxi or walking? What’s the best way to get around this vast city?
Walking first, then the subway.
What’s your favorite restaurant or cuisine?
Where’s your favorite place to go to relax, locally or abroad?
I belong to a tennis club in New Jersey that has an adult pool overlooking the New York skyline, so watching the sunset with good friends.
What could you not live without?
If I have to choose just one: Friends
If you were stranded on a desert island, what or who would you want to have with you and why?
My wife, Marie, my best friend and the love of my life.
Finally, being chosen as the official printing press of the Inauguration invitations, has it been the highlight of your career?
It was great, but I get the most satisfaction in that I have had the opportunity to hire, mentor and train employees and see them grow as individuals and move up the economic ladder.
Thank you very much for being so gracious. Congratulations on your remarkable achievement!
Authors: Interviewed by Stacy S. Steele, Marketing & Public Relations Manager at Phillips Nizer LLP. Stacy serves as chair and is a member of the Communications Committee. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published Date: 03/18/2009