McCormick Armstrong presses forward with new president

Jake Shaffer, left, is chairman and CEO of McCormick Armstrong, and John Bobbitt, right, is its new president.
Jake Shaffer, left, is chairman and CEO of McCormick Armstrong, and John Bobbitt, right, is its new president. The Wichita Eagle

Wichita printer McCormick Armstrong has been around since 1901 and, with some recent moves, expects a bright future, said its longtime chairman and CEO Jake Shaffer.

The company, 1501 E. Douglas, has weathered the last six years of economic downturn compounded by ongoing shifts in technology. Now it looks forward to strong growth.

With the nation’s economic rebound, Shaffer expects a corporate rebound as well. He recently hired John Bobbitt from Houston, Texas, to take over as company president with day-to-day oversight of the company’s printing, direct mail, catalog, fulfillment, distribution and other operations.

Shaffer – an employee since 1965 and CEO since 1988 – will continue as chairman and CEO, but devote more of his time to related companies: the agribusiness magazine High Plains Journal, which is based in Dodge City, and On Point, a printer of specialty products and high-end coffee table books in Kansas City, Kan.

Bobbitt brings nearly 35 years of experience in printing, direct mail and political consulting. Prior to running his own political consulting firm in Houston, he served seven years as president of Media Solutions, a printing and fulfillment company. Additionally, he spent 24 years with the Consolidated Graphics Western Litho plant in Houston, ultimately becoming president of the company.

McCormick Armstrong has been known as a big printer for big jobs. It has full printing and in-house mailing capabilities, including a five-unit Goss M600 web press and state-of-the-art pre-press technology. The company holds a G7 quality certification and is an FSC certified printer.

Shaffer said that the recession and technology changes have driven some of his national competitors out of business. With the economy picking back up and customers now spending more, the time is ripe for some aggressive expansion.

“We are talking Texas and Louisiana and Mississippi,” he said. “We see some real opportunity there, especially in direct mail. Because of the growth possibilities, I’m really excited to have John on staff.”

Shaffer said the company is already bulking up its sales force to bid on big jobs regionally.

But Bobbitt said that McCormick Armstrong also expects to start bidding on more work in Wichita. The company will soon add digital printing capability to allow it do shorter runs with quicker turnarounds at lower costs

“I’d like to put more emphasis on the local market, smaller run jobs,” Bobbitt said. “We are well known as a large printer, but we can also do small jobs.”

McCormick Armstrong was founded in Wichita as McCormick Press in 1901.

Reach Dan Voorhis at 316-268-6577 or Follow him on Twitter: @danvoorhis.