Denny Pottebaum and Dan Adkison are known for being smart and successful, but that’s not why they were just inducted into the Ben Franklin Honor Society of Printing Industries of America.
They were inducted because of what they do with their knowledge. They spread it, with passion and commitment, to employees, clients, colleagues, supply-chain partners and even friendly competitors. For decades, they have carried with them an infectious mix of good sense and good spirit — always eager to sit down to discuss ways to grow the industry.
Now, it’s time to stand and applaud.
Pottebaum: "For the Betterment of the Industry"
Pottebaum is CEO of QRG, a progressive distributorship based in Minneapolis that strives to empower brands and engage people with marketing solutions. He’s a past president of PSDA and holds the distinction of being the only person to serve on the boards of PSDA and its predecessors, DMIA and NBFA.
“I had always hoped that the work we were doing was for the betterment of the industry and our clients — that what we did actually mattered — and the Ben Franklin Honor Society definitely shows that was indeed the case,” Pottebaum says. He says it’s gratifying to be placed in the same category as others who have been inducted.
His reaction exemplifies his humbleness and unassuming personality — this is a man who leads a company that has donated to more than 200 organizations. Pottebaum also exudes leadership, which he says is ever-important as market dynamics change. “Our industry continues to evolve — whereas before we just had to be craftsman, today we must understand all aspects of the business and provide a full breadth of services.”
His column in this magazine from May 2015 captures his attitude: “This truly is a great industry. It is filled with challenges, opportunities and phenomenal people. This is especially true if you are in the independent channel. We have the ability to evolve, add products or services, and grow by listening to what our clients need.”
Adkison: "I Continue to Be Inspired"
Adkison is president and CEO of Wright Business Graphics, a Portland, Oregon-based print communications company that sells exclusively to distributors. He’s an accomplished business leader with a track record of planning and executing strategies that improve results.
For years, Adkison has been a top-level strategist, client-driven trailblazer and dedicated PSDA champion. Wright Business Graphics is Lean (renowned for manufacturing discipline) yet expanding (continually diversifying its product line, which now includes packaging). When he talks about his company or the association, Adkison is articulate and sincere.
He says the Ben Franklin Honor Society honor feels “tremendous” and “profoundly humbling.” He is quick to divert credit to the talented people he has worked with over the past three decades.
“I continue to be inspired by my business partner and mentor, Jim Wright, as well as the incredibly talented and dedicated employees I have the privilege to lead,” Adkison says. “This recognition has infinitely more to do with their collective body of work than mine.”
Like Pottebaum, he believes this honor speaks to the value of strong leadership and the ability to inspire others. “The most successful leaders I’ve known throughout my career share one thing in common: They have all found a way to resonate with their employees on a deeper level and inspire them to lead lives of purpose.”
A Few Words on Recommendation
Pottebaum was recommended for BFHS membership by Buck, who also delivered his introduction speech. The following is an excerpt from his introduction as printed in the event program.
“Dennis has spent many years as a member of the voluntary leadership team of PSDA, both as a member and President of the PSDA Board of Directors. He helped organize and promote the Young Innovators group within the Association and has volunteered his time to lead many education sessions and industry promotion programs. He has been a very active supporter and participant in Printing Industry Midwest Association and the Minneapolis-St. Paul chamber of commerce.”
Adkison was recommended for BFHS membership by Ivars Sarkans, who also delivered his introduction speech. He added this about Dan, “Dan has chosen printing as his working life passion, expressed through a long record of success as a printing business executive and in voluntary leadership roles in printing industry trade associations and print promotion initiatives. As President and COO, Dan has charted a visionary growth strategy for his company, Wright Business Graphics. His dedication to the industry is exemplified by his years of voluntary service to the Print Services Distribution Association, Print Education and Research Foundation, and Pacific Printing Industries Association.”