Thursday, November 10, 2005


Bryon Ramseyer, 1946-2000

Today is the fifth anniversary of the death of Bryon Ramseyer, taken from us at age 54. The industry knew Bryon as an active and vital member and leader of various associations, but mostly as an innovative manager and implementer of technology, especially in the use of desktop solutions in high-end color work. Bryon was a voracious reader and thinker about management, and tenacious in his beliefs. He wasn’t one of those managers whose style changed like the wind, but one who evaluated and decisively moved, embracing and encouraging change, especially those changes from the workers themselves. I’ll never forget the tours he gave of the Gamma One plant in North Haven, CT, as he talked about how things had been altered since my previous visit, what they tried, where they failed, and where they succeeded, and where they were headed next.

One of his company’s many innovations was a proofing department with no staff—people were responsible for making their own proofs, a radical approach at the time, eliminating finger pointing or complaints about backlogs, creating greater efficiency and a greater sense of pride in the accomplishments of the company's teams. He used total quality management (TQM) in a segment of the industry that was supposedly all craft-based, where TQM was not supposed to be effective. He greatly influenced me and the way I look at the business.

Most of all, I remember Bryon as a generous man, anxious to share his experiences, and always willing to consider new ideas. I especially remember the time he spent with me as a young (admittedly naïve) new consultant back in 1987, and the encouragement that he gave me through those following years. He was always there for a phone call or a visit, and would roll out the red carpet even when it was undeserved. Bryon kept his illness private, and I regret not being able to say goodbye. It’s important that we remember his steadfast loyalty and dedication to our industry, and the time he devoted to helping so many individuals yet was too humble to take any credit. We should remember Byron and try to be as special as he was.

I have posted the obituary from 2000 on a private page of my website.

One of the things that saddens me greatly is that when you "google" Bryon, only some old industry agendas and my mention of him in my columns comes up. This is quite sad. This is almost as sad as when Mike Bruno died, whose contributions to the industry were legendary, and who made the mistake of outliving everyone he had helped. His passing was noted only through the efforts of Frank Romano.

I encourage others, especially the associations for whom Bryon toiled as a hard-working board member and contributor, to post items about Bryon, and other members who have worked on their behalf over the years, and on behalf of the entire industry, that others may know of their efforts in shaping the business we love so much.

One of my first jobs out of college was at Gamma One. I learned lessons there, from Bryon and his leadership team, that I still reference today. Bryon was a generous, brilliant man who advanced our industry. I was fortunate to work with him, if even for a short time. I'm glad to see your reference to him here. And I'm glad to add to the "Google inventory" for Bryon.
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