This year, Mark Ferland — our Account Manager for Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky — is celebrating his 40th anniversary with Anderson & Vreeland.
Mark began his career at Anderson & Vreeland in 1981 as a draftsman and engineer, building platemakers and a water washout unit, also known as the Orbital 4, which was designed to wash off the letterpress and dry offset plates. A year later, Mark started his career in sales.
In his 40 years with the company, Mark has leveraged his in-depth knowledge of the flexographic industry to help customers improve their printing processes, increase production, and achieve their business goals.
How did you make the segue into sales?
In 1981, I was hired as a draftsman in the engineering department; however, I segued to sales a year later because one of our older salesmen, Charlie Francis, was transitioning to the A&V lab. A&V needed another salesperson in the Cincinnati area, and that was me. I traveled and worked with Charlie for six months then took his place. Like me, Charlie was a very hands-on type of person. We spent the first night in sales fixing a molding press and putting new seals in it. On the bottom line, by 8:00 AM, we had this customer up and running.
What do you like about being a part of the A&V team?
With all the advancements in the digital printing era, there is so much to learn and discover. I’ve learned things in the plateroom from people who haven’t been in the industry for that long. They do little tricks here and there, and by paying attention and listening, even someone who is a rookie can teach you something and I love that.
Additionally, all the people I work with have very good comradery. The A&V group is a well-oiled team. Between our technical team, management team, customer service team, and sales team, I don’t believe there is anybody better.
What is an accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Learning and navigating the sales world this past year is probably my most recent accomplishment. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its restrictions, I had to find new ways to sell and call on customers, which can be difficult especially being more of a hands-on salesman. Help from the A&V team with continued education has been key to navigating this process.
I am also really proud of all the relationships I’ve made throughout the years. I had a territorial change and went back to a former area after several years. When I returned to my old territory, my customers still remembered me and we picked up where we left off.
How has A&V changed since you’ve started?
Lots of things have changed over the years. It started way back when rubber plates were being made, then photopolymer plates for both letterpress & flexographic, then it turned into liquid resin plates, and now we’re digital. Everything keeps progressing. We learn something new every week by listening to our customers and taking a hands-on approach. I get calls from younger sales folks asking about older processes so I can teach them about older equipment from my previous experience. It’s nice that I can be a resource for the younger generation.
How have you seen A&V become an industry leader in the flexographic space?
We became leaders because we are always looking for ways to advance the industry. We do a lot of training. We’ve also upgraded our website to the point where you can go watch videos, get information, and receive training all in one place.
We are way ahead of the curve when it comes to everything from flexographic, letterpress, dry offset, digital printing, digital plates, and equipment. One of the advantages is that you can come to A&V for all your inquiries and supplies while getting the best customer service and technical backup you need.
If you weren’t working for A&V, what would you be doing right now?
If I wasn’t working for A&V, I’d be doing something hands-on or technical. I absolutely love to be hands-on and help people in any way possible.
What is one of the things on your bucket list?
I just want to get to that point when I know I’ve done everything I can. Then, I would take some time to be with my family and just relax, play some golf, and do some photography on the side. A good thing about being in the printing industry is that you get to learn a lot about color, which is an advantage in the photography business because it’ll improve the print quality.
I was able to merge what I’ve learned with A&V and take it over to my side business of photography. However, my number one goal is to spend time with my family. I’ll be a grandpa soon for the first time, so I’m extremely excited about that. I am a very family-oriented person, and A&V is a very family-oriented company. They’ve helped me immensely over the years.
With assistance from Mark Ferland, Anderson & Vreeland continues its goal of identifying the most effective & advanced technologies, educating customers on how these products will improve their bottom line, and seamlessly integrating effective and innovative solutions into their business.