Mike Stevens… My Story
This page is here because some of you might like to know my qualifications for writing a blog about marketing. My intention is not to seem self-centered or to look like I might be bragging — so please forgive me if this comes across that way. I just want to provide a brief overview of my experience and qualifications, as immodest as it may seem. Thank you for keeping that in perspective as you read the information below.
I came from blue-collar roots. Born in Michigan, I grew up in the factory town of Flint and graduated from high school there. My dad worked in one of Flint’s General Motors factories, as did all of my uncles, grandfathers, and all of my friends’ fathers. Back then, if you lived in Flint or Detroit, it was just sort of expected that you grow up and work in one of the factories one day. My dad, Jerry, insisted that I (not) settle for a career as a rank-and-file factory worker, so he sent me out of state for a college education. I graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Business. I was the first in my family to graduate from college.
Eventually, I was lucky enough to stumble upon an opportunity to buy a small basement print shop in Fargo, North Dakota. During my 23 year+ tenure as the owner of Express Press, the company’s annual sales grew 2390%, and I earned over five million dollars. My company was recognized as a leader in the industry and has been the recipient of many of the printing industry’s most prestigious accolades. I am the only printer to win what is sometimes referred to as the “Triple Crown of Printing,” consisting of the top three awards from the leading printing industry associations: the NAPL, the NAQP, and the PIA. In 2009, I was awarded the printing industry ‘Award of Distinction’ at the NAQP annual convention in Austin, Texas. In 2013, I was honored to become the first charter member of the all-new National Print Owners Association (NPOA).
Along the way, I was a contributing editor and marketing columnist for Quick Printing magazine for 14 years, authored two books, and had the immense privilege of presenting 103 unique seminars at various printing industry trade shows, conventions, and retreats. While doing that, I got to travel the country and visit a lot of beautiful places, where I met thousands of printers who attended my seminars. I am most grateful for the many friends and acquaintances I have gained within our industry through the years.
Over 20 years ago, after receiving dozens of requests from other printers seeking help with their marketing programs, I started a small company called Ink Inc., which provided direct mail marketing ideas for the printing industry. Over 7,000 customers later, Ink Inc. continues as the direct mail component of Marketing Ideas for Printers, which provide marketing content and technology for the printing industry. If you would like to learn more about what Marketing Ideas For Printers does, you can visit MarketingIdeasForPrinters.com.