[Extra!Extra! ] PRESS RELEASE Sowers Printing Company transformed, turned around, revitalized

SMP Revitalizes $10.5 million Printer
Sowers Printing Gearing Up for New Growth

A Case of Transition Management in Action

Strategic Management Partners Sowers Printing Company transformed, turned around, revitalized

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Sowers Printing Company transformed, turned around, revitalized   Annapolis, MD Lebanon, PA   [Sowers!] More
Strategic Management Partners is pleased to announce that it has been named as the transition management firm of choice by Sowers Printing Company. John M. Collard, chairman of SMP, has been named as the Chief Operating Officer to guide the company in its transformation.

Mr. Geoffrey L. Sowers, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sowers Printing Company for the last 24 years, is retiring from day-to-day responsibilities at the company. Sowers Printing is a predominantly family owned printer and lithographer that has been operated by the Sowers family for 115 years. This decision follows several years of thought, consideration, and deliberation with family and board members.

Mr. Sowers said, "We shall continue our ownership of the company; providing quality service to our customers; providing a place of employment in the Lebanon community; and we are committed to upgrade the capabilities, products and services being delivered by the company. We are planning to phase in new equipment and provide training to help build a bridge to the digital future, an ever increasing demand in the marketplace." Mr. Sowers has seen many changes in the printing and reproduction industry over the years, and recognizes that we are required to change even more to accommodate the advent of digitization and its impact on the way companies will provide services to their customers. Mr. Sowers continued, "These changes will take time, require new skills, and new management talent; at this time in my life, I would rather oversee this process instead of orchestrating it day to day. We must undergo changes to position the company for future growth."

Mr. Sowers will remain as President and CEO of the company. All of the board of directors [inside/outside] will remain as directors and advisors to the company. "This board completely supports these plans to move quickly to improve the company's position to compete in the future." said Mr. Sowers. "The board believes that the actions being taken are in the best interests of the company's future and the interests of all parties involved."

Mr. Sowers convened a committee comprised of four board members, chaired by Mr. John R. Eby of Priority Management Associates, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Mr. William Henderson, president of Trident Engineering Associates, Annapolis, Maryland, Mrs. Joan Sowers, and himself, to search for a specialist to help lead this transition effort. Their efforts created a 'short list' of candidates that were then interviewed on an extensive basis. The committee selected Strategic Management Partners, Inc., an Annapolis, Maryland-based transition management and investment firm, to provide leadership during this period. The firm has a very successful track record helping many large and small companies in the defense electronics, federal government contracting, systems integration, manufacturing, health services, and marine industries, transition into commercial and international markets. SMP specializes in applying automated, integrated, computer, digital communications, and software application solutions to customer driven-needs. Mr. Sowers said, "a key part of our locating and deciding on John and his firm is that they are Certified Turnaround Professionals (CTP); we wanted this expertise. It made a difference in our decision process."

Mr. John M. Collard, president of Strategic Management Partners, has been named the Chief Operating Officer at Sowers Printing Company to lead the transition effort during this interim period. He is viewed by his clients and peers as a leading expert in bringing about change in companies, promoting transition into new market segments, strategic repositioning, and improving value for all stakeholders [owners, employees, creditors, customers]. He has been given the task of developing new plans to reposture the company, build a management team to augment roles [General Manager and Sales Manager] where Mr. Sowers had been serving, and lead the company through this key period of change. The company is searching for a general manager, a sales manager, and more sales professionals who can identify with the challenges and opportunities apparent with this shift to a more market-oriented approach to company growth.

Mr. Collard said, "The printing industry is undergoing tremendous change, and it is expected to continue through the next decade. Customers are changing their requirements to become more competitive, customizing output for strategic advantage, and exploring new avenues of communication. Powerful electronic systems, digital imaging, high speed digital communications, specialized software, particularly in the pre-press and image-to-plate areas provide the means to change the way we offer high-quality, low-cost, rapid response services to our customers. We also see potential for services in non-impact information dispersal as a means to meet expanding customer needs."

Mr Sowers said, "We are making a serious commitment and major investment bringing in Strategic Management Partners, and are delighted to have John on board. The need is now, we are moving quickly by choosing a quality firm to implement change. We believe that the real return on our investment will come over the long run, and will be well worth the effort." Messrs. Sowers, Collard and several board members have spent many hours understanding company culture and history, the strengths and weaknesses of the company related to competing in a changing marketplace, threats to the company if it remains status quo, the capital commitment to support this revitalization, and the needs of the employees and community.

Mr. Collard said, "We are the catalyst; we will then turn the reigns over to the permanent team which we are building. The main goal is to improve the value of the company for all of the stakeholders, which takes awhile. Our strategy is to implement processes that will control the business, while the individual parts of the business both complement and provide a check and balance on each other. We like to allow the different departments to interact to achieve control while minimizing management intervention. In this way we encourage the concept of hands-off control and establish the value of the 'going concern'."

Several additional key activities are being undertaken over the next few months. We will assess the company's position in the marketplace, [where do we want to be?, what does it take to get there?], develop specific sales & marketing penetration strategies, explore expected industry changes, review production capacity & ability [what expenditures are required?], update our strategic business plan, modify our compensation and incentive plans, and complete the hiring and training program process.

Mr. Collard said, "We are focusing on becoming a communications company that serves our customers expanding requirements, which is a change in the way the company has been accustomed to looking at things."

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Date of this release March 14, 1997

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Consummate Transition, A Year in the Making   (Ultimate Outcome of Transition)
Sowers Printing Company has completed the turnaround and transition that was started almost a year ago. John M. Collard, president of Strategic Management Partners guided the company, as interim chief operating officer, through the process and hired a permanent management team to run the company. The company is booking sales at record pace.

Printing Impressions, Top Management News
Sowers Printing Prepares for Digital Growth. John M. Collard, president of Strategic Management Partners is now guiding Sowers Printing through its transitional phase.

Sowers Reaps Benefits of Hiring Turnaround Manager
Sowers Printing is reaping the benefits of its reorganization by posting four consecutive months of record bookings. The company is back on track and postured for growth.

At the Crossroads
The company turn-around began with engaging a new interim Sowers Printing Company Chief Operating Officer, John M. Collard, and President of Strategic Management Partners a transition management specialty firm, to guide the transformation.

Printing Firm Turns Corner
The company has hired a permanent General Manager, plans are in place and the transformation continues.

Sowers Transition Progress
The company has completed a major segment in the process, by hiring more Salespeople, a Finance Manager, and promoted a Pricing Manager. The new Sowers Management Team is almost complete. Sowers looks forward with great enthusiasm to the vigor of this new leadership as the company stands on the brink of the new millennium.

Sowers Completes Transition
The company has completed a major transition which began in March 1997. The final team member to be added is a Sales and Marketing Manager. The new management team is ready for continued future growth.

Sowers Printing Company Web Page
Sowers Printing Company has completed a Web Page and uses it to collect and disseminate information, demonstrate their equipment and product offerings, and register their accomplishments. This Link is subject to archive availability, and may be removed without notice.

We welcome inquires from the press. More information is available if required.

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Sowers Printing Company transformed, turned around, revitalized   Contact Information

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John M. Collard, Chairman, CTP
Strategic Management Partners, Inc.
522 Horn Point Drive
Annapolis, Maryland [MD] 21403
Voice 410-263-9100 Facsimile 410-263-6094 E-Mail Strategist@aol.com

We serve as experts for comment or quote, please contact us at 410-263-9100 [Telephone]

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