An Interview with Keith Whistler, Technology and Research Analyst

The expert consultants for our Center for Technology and Research have one main feature in common: qualifying experience and the drive to help companies find solutions. More than a dozen full-time and external consultants are available to support members in all facets of printing operations. The goal is to help firms improve their operational performance and competitive position.

So just how do these business-saving experts and consultants help your company? We talked to one of our consultants, Keith Whisler, who lends his expertise in offset and digital printing, color management, and operational issues. With two decades in commercial printing, it’s safe to say he has a vast amount of experience and knowledge. But it is his holistic perspective from a customer’s point of view that really sets him apart.

Take a look at how Keith’s experiences taught him how to overcome challenges and how he now applies his talent to printing companies like yours.

Q: What is your background in this field, and how has this has enabled you to become a successful consultant?

Keith: Experience. I have more than 20 years in commercial printing, providing a great perspective on our customer’s position. Having been a customer much of my career, my experiences remain fresh. This helps me understand their circumstances and challenges.  

My background ranges from prepress to plant manager, so I also have insight on different layers within an organization (operator to top management). I have been in management for more than 18 years.  My work has always been technology focused with an emphasis on deploying new systems, including identification, purchasing, implementation, and training. 

I have a strong background in IT and prepress, enabling me to move technology into other areas of manufacturing, such as the press and finishing departments. I honed my problem-solving skills because I have always been in areas where I had no choice but to find a way to overcome challenges.

Q:  What is your current role with our consulting team? 

Keith: Technology and Research Analyst, which includes consulting, training, presentations, product testing, writing articles, and developing process improvement tools. I stay abreast of industry trends and technology developments and relay that information to our members and the industry. With an ever-changing environment like printing, it is vital to incorporate these changes in resources that can benefit the industry, such as updated training material, reference articles, and consultation services. For example, one recent project was to explore the technology of vision inspection, and how it will increasingly be used in the printing industry. I’ll also be giving a presentation on wide-format inkjet at PRINT 13.

Q: What are some of the highlights of your consulting experiences?

Keith: Printing Industries of America provides great resources to their consultants. I recently earned the G7 Expert and Color Management Professional certifications through IDEAlliance. This gives me the opportunity to help others learn and accomplish what I was already doing in the industry on the production side. The opportunity to share what I learn is another highlight for me. It’s rewarding to relate to our members, having been in their shoes, and then have the opportunity to help by applying the vast knowledge and resources available at Printing Industries of America. 

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job? 

Keith: Involvement in a never-ending learning and teaching environment and the pleasure of working with so many great people within the industry.

More Resources:

Center for Technology and Research

Consulting and Training

Custom Training

G7 Offset Press Operator Training Program (September 26–27, 2013)