October 23, 2012 / Fall 2012

75 years and counting

Written by Elizabeth Braden, CJE

Walsworth Publishing has spent the year celebrating its 75th anniversary, including the sponsorship of scholarships for 75 students to attend the JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention this fall.

The company, based in Marceline, Mo., reached this major milestone while still being owned by the family that started it. Under that ownership, the company maintains its attitude of treating customers and employees like family, which, in turn, has helped the company grow.

And you can hear that when you talk with people about Walsworth Publishing.

Don Walsworth, President

Don Walsworth“There are several reasons why Walsworth Publishing is fortunate to be celebrating its 75th anniversary. First, this milestone wouldn’t be possible without our customers. We sincerely appreciate their loyalty and support.

“Part of Walsworth’s rich history is we have families who have worked here for generations. I’m the third generation of the Walsworth family and there are other families just like mine who have passed down the passion to work here.

“Having families involved and working together makes Walsworth Publishing more stable. This family involvement creates a sense of pride and a long-term mindset that is good for our company, our employees and most important, for our customers.

“I think the family atmosphere created here is also experienced by our customers. When customers visit us, they leave with a strong sense that they are part of a family, and not just another customer.”

Don O. Walsworth, CEO

Don O Walsworth“The company has been able to grow because our employees work together – working together works. Another reason for Walsworth’s steady growth is our people embrace change by mastering the latest equipment, technology and processes.

“Also, we have the ability to attract and retain talented people. By having passionate, caring people we have achieved a level of world-class service – world class is when 96% of customers refer you to other customers, and we have achieved this every year.”

Tim Nolan, 
Heidelberg Press Operator, Master Printer

Nolan, Tim2“After high school graduation, I left (Marceline) for the Iron Range in Minnesota. After a few months I came home and within two days I had a job as a Press Operator at Walsworth. I was glad to have it.”

Over the years, Nolan said he has learned a lot from customers who visit to review their publication coming off the press.

“Everybody sees things a little differently, and have different techniques on how they want their work finished off.”

John Kelley, Yearbook Sales Representative, Kansas City metro

John Kelley2“My recollection of Walsworth growing up was that it was the main employer in Marceline. My father worked there, many of my friends’ parents worked there, and I was not interested in working at Walsworth…. My goal was to get out of the small town and see what the rest of the world was like. I didn’t realize at the time the opportunities that Walsworth had in sales, which were outside of Marceline.

“It’s easy for me to represent Walsworth to customers and prospects because I personally know the Walsworth family and what they stand for. Because I grew up in Marceline, I can speak first hand to the work ethic and character of the employees in the plant. I still have several friends that I grew up with who work in the plant. I know that they care about doing a great job because they know how important Walsworth is to their community.”

Katie Kelley, Yearbook Sales Representative

Katie Kelley2“I grew up visiting my grandpa in Marceline and driving frequently past Walsworth’s headquarters. I knew it wasn’t a big, scary corporate business. I always felt the small-town charm that was embedded in the family-owned company.

“I couldn’t be more excited to represent Walsworth to customers and prospects. The employees of Walsworth have not only a great energy about them, but immediately upon meeting them you know they genuinely care about helping other people. This company is so great, because Walsworth has invested in so many resources to help their employees, so they in turn can focus on the customers.”

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Elizabeth Braden, CJE

Elizabeth Braden, CJE, is the former editor of Idea File magazine. Before retiring, she was a copywriter for Walsworth Yearbooks for more than 15 years, writing articles for various marketing materials, and proofreading copy for the Yearbook and Commercial divisions. Her career included reporting and editing for United Press International and editing for Knight-Ridder Financial News. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Media News from the University of Tulsa.