Minuteman Press franchise, Norwalk, CT - L-R: Joe Brenneis, Sydney Cardoza, and Greg Duffey. http://www.minutemanpressfranchise.com

Minuteman Press Franchises Help Printing Professionals Build Careers

Greg Duffey and Joe Brenneis are lifelong printing professionals. They mentor and provide training to their team members as they join their fellow Minuteman Press franchise owners to show why We Are The Modern Printing Industry. Greg and Joe recently celebrated the impressive tenure of long-term employee Sydney Cardoza – a happy U.S. citizen originally from Zimbabwe – who has been with them for 14 years and counting…

In Norwalk, Connecticut, Joe and Greg have dedicated their lives to learning and mastering the printing industry. Their employees are carefully selected and trained to earn 5-star reviews from their customers by providing outstanding quality and service.

Greg talks about the importance of team chemistry and ethics in his center: “To work here, the first thing is that the person must be a good fit. Meaning, we have to be able to get along and our personalities have to click. We have interviewed people who were incredibly talented, had great experience, and on paper appeared to be ideal employees – but our personalities didn’t jive. And when spending at least 8 hours together, “chemistry” is very important.  A strong work ethic is also very important. We can teach many things to someone who is new to the company. But one thing that is hard to teach is a good work ethic. Someone who takes great pride in what they do, and strives to do a job well, no matter the task, is someone we want on our team. A person of character is vital and highly valued.”

As they were wise in their team selection, keeping close watch on the happiness of their clients when things go wrong, Minuteman Press in Norwalk is in an easier position to fix problems in time. Greg explains, “Things go wrong every day. There is always a problem to solve. Knowing that mistakes will happen is the key to not always being in crisis mode. Striving for perfection and expecting perfection are vastly different. When something goes wrong, the last thing we want to hear or see is finger-pointing or denial. Nobody likes to make mistakes, and nobody likes to be called out for them. If you have a staff of people with integrity and maturity, then dealing with problems becomes less uncomfortable. And if you can create an environment where your staff feels valued and respected, then problems can become opportunities for positive change. Changes can then be implemented by the owner(s) with the input of the team.”

With a workplace as healthy and with a brand as respected worldwide as Minuteman Press, it is no wonder that Sydney Cardoza left Zimbabwe for a better life in the United States with a fantastic career at Minuteman Press in Norwalk, CT.

Sydney immigrated to America in 1999 in pursuit of a better life and greater opportunity for prosperity and happiness for his family

Good fortune had it that he was hired by the same company in which his current employers, Greg and Joe used to work themselves.  Fate was such that this printing company was acquired by another, forcing the three men to part ways and make a living, but Greg and Joe never forgot Sydney and that came in handy for all of them one day.  Greg says, “He was always an incredibly nice guy who always seemed to smile and never seemed to get angry about anything.  When Joe and I bought Minuteman Press in 2003, we had inherited the one employee that was at the shop. We knew from the beginning that this person was not a good fit for the vision we had, so we placed an ad in the paper looking for a press operator. And with each person we interviewed and did not hire, we would remark to ourselves that we wanted a person like Sydney. It wasn’t long after, that he read the ad in the paper, and answered it not even knowing that we were the owners. And here we are 14 years later.”

As he maintained his role as press operator with the standard of excellence the best Minuteman Press owners set and keep, Sydney’s presence equaled Greg’s and Joe’s mission to continually update print technology with little question there would be difficulty in transition. “Over the years, his role hasn’t evolved per se, as he was hired as a press operator, and still operates presses today. Yet, having Sydney gave us the confidence to buy better presses over the years and to accept challenging jobs knowing they could get done. A testament to this is having other local print companies and brokers as clients. They know us and know what we can get done, so printing for them is a compliment to what he can do.”

“There’s something special about people who enjoy what they do and are content at doing that. It makes them a bit of a specialist. And that’s how we see Sydney. He’s grown over the years as a press operator – but his personality, and his even-keeled temperament is what shines through and allows him to handle challenges gracefully.”  – Greg Duffey

There is no better feeling than a new start when it is needed, as Norwalk’s premier digital print design and marketing center’s press operator, Sydney, shares, “I came to America from Zimbabwe in 1999. My wife and I had 2 sons and we wanted a better future for ourselves and a better opportunity for our boys. In 2005 we all became citizens of the U.S. I have been in printing for about 40 years and in the beginning, I thought that printing was more about art and calligraphy, which I was interested in. I entered into an apprenticeship program at a printing company and was actually surprised how much more manufacturing was involved. The program was a 4 year program with 2 years studying Letterpress and 2 years studying Offset Lithography. I learned about camera operations and negatives and film developing and film assembly as well. I discovered that I liked printing and found the printing part especially interesting.”

So why did a motivated, experienced press operator dedicate an entire career to a Minuteman Press franchise?  Greg Duffey hints at a few reasons he is able to help celebrate another year with a great employee.  He says, “Fourteen years is a long time. But I think if you are paid well, treated kindly, challenged in a good way, and allowed to work in a decent environment, then why not stay put? Sydney is valued. He’s involved in discussions about press scheduling and the best way to print certain projects. We encourage those in design and prepress to discuss projects with him and anyone else involved so that those projects can be handled correctly and efficiently. This involvement in the planning of a project allows him to take ownership of the job at hand, and to take pride in his work. It’s really a win-win for all of us.”

Sydney concurs about the reason for longevity among employees of Minuteman Press franchises, adding, “I really enjoy the people that I work with. I would not like to work for a company where I did not enjoy the people I work with (or for) and Minuteman Press has a nice bunch of people.  It is nice to meet their families as well.  I try to be real friendly and to make new employees feel at home. I also try to help them with whatever they need and to even help them understand what I do.”

The core of being a true professional is the ability to work through challenges. Sydney’s nature is such that he uses “problems” as lessons and they only make him stronger, but he cares enough to take everything to heart, too.  “The hardest part of this job is when I make a mistake. I do not like making mistakes. I dwell on them and try to figure out a way to avoid them.  When things go well and the customer is happy with the job that they received, it’s satisfying to know that I was able to do a job well and that everyone is happy with it.”

Minuteman Press centers like Greg and Joe’s in Norwalk represent the elite. They are ethical, industry experts in alignment with a proven system, yet wise enough to welcome and adapt to the advancements that keep coming in technology and society.  It is the reason print professionals like Sydney have room to keep developing strong careers.  Greg adds, “Our Minuteman Press affords everyone the ability to be involved in so much more than larger print companies. Because Joe and I are never settled or complacent with where we are at, we look for other revenue streams that bring value to what we can do. And because we are a “small” company, those that work here have the opportunity to expand their knowledge and their capabilities. Joe has not only been a press operator himself, but was a pressroom supervisor for years. His role was not just as operator, but as teacher.”

He continues, “Working here, he has the benefit of learning from Joe on a daily basis about the science of print. An OK press operator can get ink on paper and get it from one end of the machine to the other. But a great press operator can do the same thing when everything is going wrong. The difference between OK and great is their ability to troubleshoot. Being a press operator is a craft, an art form. We are fortunate to still have 8+ hours a day of scheduled offset work that challenges Sydney to not just be OK at what he does, but to be great.”

Employees at Minuteman Press “feel what they say and do matters” to their clients and their employers

Sydney’s time as press operator in Norwalk with Greg and Joe has proven to be one of the best things that happened to him and his family since he became a United States Citizen.  “Working with Greg and Joe has been good. I knew them from when we worked together shortly after I came to America. I was happy to get to work with them again as the owners of Minuteman Press. I was the first employee that they hired and it has been nice to grow with the company as their sales increased and they added additional staff. Both Greg and Joe made me feel like I was not just an employee but someone who helped and continues to help in growing the company. I like the small feel of the company, as it’s a more personal environment where you feel that what you say and do matters.”

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