Tom Frankowski Obituary, Death – RIP Thomas Frankowski nicknamed TFran. Awe-Inspiring Leader, Strategic Visionary, Truth Teller, and Mentor, as well as One of the Finest Human Beings in the History of the World. It was never in my plans to settle down in the United States. After completing my MBA at Pitt, I began working on the defense of my thesis at RIT in order to earn my MS in Printing Technology. It was at this time that the Dean of the Printing School at RIT, Harold Gaffin, who also held an MBA from Stanford, recommended that I consider working for Quad for two years before I went to India.
The next thing I know, Gary Lundberg, who reported to TFran, is flying to Pittsburgh International Airport to interview me. After the interview, Sonia and I were invited to visit Quad and meet Tom Frankowski. That would be the beginning of a relationship that would alter the path that the rest of my life would take forever. Soon, we would be u-hauling our way across the middle of the United States on our way to begin my first (and only) full-time work at Quad. Within a week, Harry Quadracci and Tom Quadracci called me to his office, asked for my résumé, and asked me with astonishment, “How in the world did we find you?” I was aware that the other Tom, TFran, was the one responsible for bringing that about.
I was the very first person that Quad supported for a Green Card through the sponsorship program. I was never provided with a job description or a list of responsibilities; all I was told was, “You show us what you can do.” My first project was to create a blueprint for Quad/Net, an electronic data transmission program that would fundamentally alter the way in which each location at Quad collaborated with one another. My sketches with ink and paper evolved into a two-year design process that included everyone from the chief information officer on down. I was aware that TFran was the one responsible for making it happen across all departments at each and every Quad site in the world. If there was ever a person who could clear away layers of red tape, it was TFran.
During my first annual sales conference with Quad, which took place in Saratoga Springs, New York, TFran introduced me by saying that I was the company’s “secret weapon. If he tells you something, you can trust that he is nearly 100% accurate. Simply take in what he has to say. Those words will remain engraved in both my heart and my thoughts forever. I have never received stronger praise from anyone, and in order to live up to those comments, he motivated me to increase the amount of effort I put in. In point of fact, it continues to motivate me to this day. He put me in front of countless client audiences, and when I’d finished speaking, the clients would typically remark,
“He gets it!” Following the launch of Quad/Net, Quad introduced Automated Catalog Typesetting and Quad/Library, their digital asset management solution, which ultimately resulted in the acquisition of JCrew by Quad from RR Donnelley. During the nearly 20 years that I spent working at Quad, we went on so many sales calls together, from Maine to California, and we ate so many meals together.