It took more than 20 years but Jim Frintner finally got to buy a printing company. He isn’t the only owner of WT Media LLC, but Frintner, with four partners, finally was able to do it.
WT Media used to be known as Kepner-Tregoe Professional Services Group, the division that made and distributed Kepner’s digital and printed training and marketing materials for its global corporate training enterprise since the 1950s. But near the close of 2007 Kepner-Tregoe got a new CEO, Andrew Graham, and started re-evaluating its needs. “They saw a diminishing role for our core strengths,” Frintner says.
Fortunately for Frintner, who ran the production department and was a partner in Kepner Tregoe, the relationship between the company and the division was a good one. The company offered him the chance to purchase the printing division’s assets. Frintner did (for an undisclosed amount) and offered four of his colleagues in the division — Pete Fry, Mike Cigler, Joe Mathis, and John Leonardis — a chance to buy in. In 2008 the deal was ready and WT Media LLC emerged.
The deal comes about 24 years after Frintner first set out to buy a printing company. A native of New Jersey whose dad was the pharmacy director at Princeton Hospital, Frintner was a member of the first graduating class at Montgomery High School. After earning his bachelor’s in printing management from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1975, Frintner moved to Minnesota, where he worked over a 10-year period in various (and variously sized) printing companies.
In 1985 Frintner got a job offer in New Jersey and came home — only the new job didn’t work out. So he started looking for a company to buy. The father of a friend worked at Kepner-Tregoe and mentioned the printing division. Frintner called and found out that on that very day the person running the production facility had quit. Kepner Tregoe was not interested in selling, but it was interested in him, so Frintner joined the company, eventually working his way up to partner.
Frintner says that his 30 years in the industry have combined well with his experiences at Kepner-Tregoe (which, by the way, is WT Media’s primary client, for which WT continues to design and market manuals and digital media). His three decades with the firm gave him much insight into international business relations and realities, he says.
But WT is a leaner, greener incarnation, Frintner says. For most of its time as Kepner-Tregoe’s division the production department printed materials and then shipped them to wherever they needed to go. Frintner says WT has joined the International Printers Network, a group of 50-plus independent media and printing companies around the world, which allows WT to design materials digitally and have them printed at where the buyer is. The difference, Frintner says, uses less paper and energy and eliminates costly, dirty transportation. “It gives us virtually unlimited reach,” he says.
Now that he’s achieved a longstanding goal of owning his own business Frintner says he is grateful, and aware of his luck. “The stars had to be aligned for this to happen,” he says. “It was serendipity.” — Scott Morgan
WT Media LLC, 1377 Route 206, Skillman 08558; 866-999-0050; fax, 609-921-3490. Jim Frintner, manager and partner. Home page: www.wtmediallc.com.
Kepner-Tregoe Inc., 17 Research Road, Box 704, Princeton 08542-0704; 609-921-2806; fax, 609-497-0130. Andrew Graham, president and CEO. Home page: www.kepner-tregoe.com.