American Litho Named #1 Mid-Sized Employer in the Chicago Area, One of Chicago Tribune Top 100 Companies

In a feature story published by the Tribune last week, employees praised the open-door policy of senior management and their responsiveness to employee needs. Staff turnover is low, with 30 percent of all team members on the job at least five years and another 20 percent with 10 or more years of service.

Truman Pope, head of ALitho’s binding, finishing and lettershop operations, cited the partnership of company founders Mike Fontana and Chris Joyaux in improving operations. “It’s easy to talk to them. They listen and ask: What do we need? How do we make it better?”

Fontana and Joyaux started American Litho in 1994 in a 10,000-foot space in Addison, Illinois. The company’s earliest projects were direct-mail letters and simple brochures.

“We took on the small jobs in hopes of proving we could do much more for our clients,” Fontana recalls. “It’s a simple strategy, but it worked.”

Ellie Valadez recalls that when the company was just getting off the ground, “The owners’ parents would come in with lunch. We would shut down the machines and eat together. I realized this was something different. I decided I would never leave.”

Today, Valadez is a supervisor developing team talent in ALitho’s warehouse operations. She mentors newer members of the company’s workforce, which now totals 350. Services have expanded from simple offset printing and folding to the full range of support that major organizations need, from data analysis, list management, graphic design consulting and campaign planning to high-speed, 6-color inline printing, personalization, inserting and finishing, postal optimization and much more.

Employees credit open, efficient meetings and the freedom to bring their best ideas to the table as reasons for their personal success – and the success of the company as a whole.

Ann Porster, who came to American Litho after the company acquired her Detroit printing firm six years ago, serves as a national sales director. In team meetings, she and her colleagues “talk about a challenge, a victory or a loss, so everyone can learn,” she said. Mutual support helps the entire team grow stronger, she says.
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