Saturday, 24 November 2018

Duncan McGregor, Dean Grant, Ray Cassar, Chris Fraser, Don Cambridge

These gentlemen contributed significantly to my years in the Printing Industry. We worked together and became friends. I've singled these five only because we talked and met in November 2018. Duncan McGregor and I have luncheoned twice a year since our retirement and visited The Masters Golf Tournament to celebrate his 70th birthday in 2010. Dunc was the catalyst that caused my shift in employment at Arthurs-Jones from feeder to sales representative. We had met on several other occasions, this one at the coffee machine when he asked me if I'd like to join the sales department. Duncan had recently graduated from Ryerson and joined his father's printing company as a newly minted sales rep. Without a pause I said yes, and he said he would set up a meeting with his father. It was 1965 when Mr. McGregor and I met in his office after my shift feeding the Harris 35x45 two colour for my pressman Art Hill.
Mr. McGregor had been in the industry in sales all of his working-life and co-owned the company with Mr. Bill Adams who was in charge of production. They made a good team, something I would find out in due course. In my meeting Mr. McGregor began by giving me a monologue on the company and his sales activity that lasted approximately twenty minutes. And then he asked me a question that required a several sentence response; following my answer he asked me to write something on a piece of paper. He thought about my verbal and written replies momentarily and then asked me to come to the plant and office wearing a suit and tie the next morning. I had the job and I was elated.
The preceding paragraphs are meant to set the stage for a career that flourished because of my good fortune in meeting numerous key individuals. These particular five wonderful gentlemen and I met individually in November of 2018 after I reached out to them. They have their own stories of success and I'd like to share some of these anecdotes with you through this blog.

Dean Grant and I met as a direct result of both of us doing business with Fiberglas Canada's Advertising and Marketing Manager Mr. Grant McDiarmaid in the late 1970's. Dean owned and ran a design company and from time to time we'd meet in Grant's office but mostly (I admit) when we were socializing on the golf course. That sounds terrible, but it wasn't, it just seemed like the right thing to do outside of business hours. The three of us loved our golf; Dean was at Islington; Grant was at Mississauga and I was at Brampton. We'd have home and home games and a few really cold beers that quickly disappeared on those really hot days. Because of our mutual interest as well as the skills we could provide to each other, we were a good fit socially as well as professionally. The three of us and Len Hughes of Fibeglas did a lot of award winning work and improved our handicaps. Dean is married with two daughters and continues to live in Mississauga. He works just a little now and founded a system whereby he spends about six months in Scottsdale Arizona in his home on Troon Golf and Country Club, and the other six right here in Canada. He has several qualified assistants working out of his office in Canada while he does what he does best working out of Troon.
We met at the Brampton Golf Club for lunch with Dean saying we'll have "Two Cleansing Ales Please." I hadn't heard that phrase for twenty years. It was one of my signature calls after a days golf. What a laugh we had. And then he pulled out another, "Give Me Fifteen Minutes of Solid Rock and Roll." When Dean, Grant, Herb Marshall and I met in Palm Springs for a little golf and relaxation in a local establishment with an entertainer who called out, "What would you like to hear?" I roared that line out for all to hear. Dean never forgot it. Our lunch was a plethora of laughs and reminiscing that I will never forget. On the second 'cleansing ale' Dean asked me to come to Scottsdale with him and to give him an idea on how long I'd like to stay. I promised myself that I would.

One of my favourite guys in my Arthurs Jones days was Ray Cassar. He ran a colour separation film house and I had suggested he call on us and do some of our work. He did, and he did a great job for us.
I looked him up on LinkedIn and we typed a few messages back and forth which included, “Let’s have a few beers sometime.” Ray and I met at Snug Harbour in Port Credit at noon on November 14, 2018 and had a fabulous time booting the old stories around many of our current anecdotes.
This would have been a great place to drop in his picture if only I had taken one.
Ray enjoyed great success in his business and personal life. He came from Malta with his parents and siblings right after WW11 and settled in Toronto. One of his first jobs was at AJ as a helper on a big Harris press with a bronzer attached dispersing bronze dust on Rust Craft greeting cards. This dust would end up all over the place including down Ray’s throat and up his nose. An antidote for this was milk, and drink plenty of it all day long. Ray had better ideas for his life’s work.
He left AJ and we lost touch until I had heard that Graphic Specialties was doing great work in its field. And there was Ray, the owner and brains behind that enterprise.

I planted a few welcoming phrases on LinkedIn to Chris Fraser suggesting that we might find the time to meet over lunch and a beer. It worked; we met at Cactus Cafe in Sherway Gardens on November 21, 2018 at noon. Chris and I had worked together at AJ during an explosion of positive, productive and profitable sales: a time of wonderful expansion and growth for the company. Chris   had an enquiring mind and abundant energy to run down his ideas and grow the business, sometime even more than his personal sales. He hasn't changed a bit. Now he's doing it with Moveable (Type) as their Chief Finder and has been doing it beautifully for twenty years.
We talked at length about our time at AJ and the friendships we created, yes, and a little bit about the sale of Arthurs Jones shares (this time to Clark Litho) and its questionable leadership. [The sale  happened after I had retired in 1998.] Chris resigned shortly after this change in ownership.
The Stock Market: not the one that trades shares such as the TSX, but one that trades stock, paper stock that is. This will be a new venture whereby the remaining dribs and drabs of paper left over on the plant floors from other printings will be turned into cash instead of gathering dust forever. One  printer's garbage can be another printer's gold! Does this concept have merit? It will require the usual amount of intense start up execution and salesmanship to get potential traders on board.
Chris is on his way to Copenhagen with his daughter Sophie for a month and I'm going to Antartica in January. We will talk about this in the spring of 2019.

Don Cmbridge came to Arthurs Jones as a seasoned professional salesman; he and Duncan had known each other for many years and decided to work together at AJ. He fit in perfectly, and brought another warrior into our growing and effective salesforce. As per the gentlemen stated above, Don was one friend I wanted to reach; I knew he lived in Bala, Muskoka two hours from Toronto, and that he was having several medical issues. Therefore I hoped that a telephone call would suffice. Gloria, his wife, picked up the phone and I said, "Is this the beautiful Gloria Cambridge?" She said, "Gary McDonald, how the hell are you?" We had a lovely conversation centred around are kids and current activity for several minutes when I heard Don's voice nearing the phone.
Don and I energetically spoke for about thirty minutes about the old days when we were selling tons of print and enjoying the friendships we were making as the premiere printing company in Canada. We socialized with our suppliers, customers, employees and I reminded him about the time he, Bingler, Woodford and myself were in Florida golfing and after a great day on the links, after consuming numerous drinks with a splendid Greek dinner in Tarpon Springs, we were driving to Innisbrook G.C. and our hotel, when I was pulled over by a benevolent State Trouper who asked me were I was going because I had been driving in the left turn lane for ten minutes. I told him our destination and he asked me how many drinks I'd had this evening? I said two. He asked if there was anyone in the car who only had one? I agreeably moved to the front windows of our rental car and asked? One of you drove the rest of the way home. (I couldn't remember who, but it was another ten minutes down the road before the unseen left turn.) I could have been put in the slammer that night.
Don's health has been challenging for several years now. He's doing the best that he can and is under significant medical encumbrances. He and Gloria winter in Florida which is a great benefit. By the way Don didn't remember the Innisbrook driving story; Bingler and Woodford have passed away I'm sad to say.

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