Restoration or Renewal, no matter what you call it, it is an art.

By Mike Lincoln posted 08-19-2015 10:30


One way or another, many of us have been through some type of business transformation; and in the printing/publishing industry, it is inevitable. You have to reinvent and innovate or you will drift into obscurity. I think for those of us with any longevity in our industry, we have inherent traits that probably go largely unnoticed by us in our day-to-day, but it’s who we are and we don’t give those traits a second thought.

A good friend and colleague of mine and a friend of the industry recently used an analogy comparing my absolute single most favorite past time/hobby with how I approach professional challenges. Elisha Kasinskas, Marketing Director with Rochester Software Associates, made the comparison between my love for restoration and the renewing of old cars, re-purposing the abandoned and giving life to old rides. Elisha‘s observation that my love for the restoration of old cars and trucks is simply rebuilding something old and making it new again.

Colorado State PrinterIn some of my more recent presentations, I refer to the transformation of the State of Colorado shop as the decade of evolution. Although I would not change how I refer to the transformation, I can very easily make the connection with my love for restoration. My predecessor had all but given up on the print side of our state shop, writing it off in 2002 as a lost cause. When I hired on with the State, he made continual references to a dying industry and the paperless age. Believing now as I did then, I see a bright and largely unwritten future for our industry. With strong innovative leaders redefining contributions to our industry and specifically the value propositions we bring to our parent organizations, the sky is the limit!

Elisha’s comparison noted that I know how to put the pieces together, understanding the intricacies of technical systems, understanding the implications of choices and directions, the nuances of the journey, and then appreciation of the efforts when a project is complete.

Colorado State PrinterAs with any project, you need to make sure you have a solid foundation. With cars, you are looking for a solid body and frame or at least one that is repairable; that same holds true in business. Do you have the equipment and staff? Can you sell buy-in to the doubters? Do you have the drive to see the project through? These are just a few of the questions you need to ask yourself before you start the renewal efforts.


In 2003, after getting the “lay of the land” and understanding the foundation that existed in the State of Colorado,Colorado State Printer we embarked on that “decade of evolution.” The renewal effort and the restoration of confidence proved to carry its challenges. Some parts needed to be discarded in favor of more modern replacements, other areas needed to be re-tooled, but the foundation was sound and the people that needed to make the magic happen pulled the vision on their backs, and the result is an operation that mirrors the outstanding efforts of all of those involved.

Colorado State Printer

As the journey continues, like any automotive project, you are never really done. You have to touch-up areas exposed to the elements. You need to maintain the inner workings to ensure smooth operation and you need to look for the proverbial “what’s next”; that can be the exact opportunity you have been waiting for! Complacency is not an option. So best of luck on your upcoming projects! Focus on renewing, reinventing, and staying observant of the environment. There are just as many allies as there are foes, so align yourself and your operation with a strong foundation and you cannot lose!