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Introducing Your Member of the Month – Rick Schildgen

Who is Rick? Rick is the President of CL Graphics , located in Crystal Lake, IL. He has been involved in our industry in a number of ways – through his education, as an educator, as an active industry research participant, and since the age of 25 an integral part of CL Graphics and its success.

Rick and his CL Graphics Staff

In the nearly 30 years that Rick has been at CL Graphics, he has led the company through growth, change, and transition to become a successful company, specializing in marketing and direct mail, consulting, graphic design, prepress, commercial printing, bindery services, mailing/fulfillment, video and social media services. (ref. – https://www.clgraphics.com/) Through his work, CL Graphics has distinguished itself by receiving numerous awards from PrintImage International, NAPL, The Printing Industry of America, he was named the 2012 NAQP Printer of the Year, and inducted as a member of the NAPL Soderstrom Society.

Rick receiving his Printer of the Year Awards with his Daughter at the 2013 Owners Conference.

Part of his success has been attributed to being active in the industry, his community, and in various industry groups. As he states in his blog, “Over time I have found that getting involved in the industry and other groups has given me so much more than what I have had to put in as effort.” His involvement has included serving on numerous association boards, both local and national, as well as serving as the President of the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce.

Rick at a Community Event.

That involvement has also included being an active member within the NAPL/NAQP (now AMSP/NAPL/NAQP) community. He served on the NAPL Board from 2001-2010, and currently serves on the NAQP Advisory Board. You’ve likely read his blog posts here on the community site, seen him at conferences, or heard that he’s helped provide the association or a fellow member with the services of CL Graphics. As stated by Samantha Lake, Dir. Of Marketing for AMSP/NAPL/NAQP, “Rick is amazing to work with. We have worked with him and his team on several projects. Most recently we did perforated postcards which they had never done before. They were able to come up with an idea for how they could execute it and they provide me and my team with the guidance needed in order to design it. I am happy to say that it turned out beautifully, and has received amazing feedback.”

Rick at the 2014 Owners Conference.

CL Graphics has been a member of NAPL since 1985, and I asked Rick to describe what it was about his membership that he finds valuable:

“My first visit to the Top Management Conference was down in Arizona, and admittedly I was “blown away” with the whole experience – the sessions, the people I met from around the country, the staff, and the venue itself. For a rather small company of only seven employees at the time, this was a pretty big deal!

In fact, even though I was a small organization – and still am with 16 employees now, I had always been drawn to NAPL as an industry organization because of the resources available and the professional nature of the group. I felt as if I could learn so much more about best business practices and management styles from those who were much larger than me and had a wealth of experience. Over time I also found out that I was able to implement much of what I learned and was able to put systems and practices in place that emulated the “leaders.”

But, there is also more to Rick than work! When not hard at work at the CL Graphics helm, his hobbies include wood working , running, and stream building. Rick is also an avid blogger – check out his blog site HERE to learn more about him, CL Graphics, and for interesting insights you may be able to use in your own day-to-day.

Congratulations, Rick, and thank you for all you do!


About NAPL

Founded in 1933, NAPL has been a management education and industry research leader at every stage of the industry’s growth and transformation, and is well prepared to maintain that leadership position through its unmatched member’s services for decades to come.

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