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Fairwell to a fine printer
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opinion columns
by Richard Harris

From the January 2, 2018 issue of The Journal
   As we put together the first issue of The Journal in its 24th year of existence, it feels like something is missing.
   No, I didn't tick off my crossword puzzle enthusiasts by forgetting to put the answers on Page 9 (again). It's not a thing that's missing. It's more like a part of the paper's soul.
   We learned last Friday that we

lost a professional colleague and friend, Edwin (Ed) Judd, who founded Judd Publishing Company – the company that has printed each of the 1,195 newspapers we've produced since January of 1996.
   When my wife, Michelle, and I made the decision to become entrepreneurs in our mid 20s, we had a lot to learn. One of the first decisions we had to make was who to trust with the printing of our new newspaper. We made initial inquiries to a number of companies (back then printing presses weren't so hard to find).
   As we were weighing the possibilities, my dad, Charlie Harris, a hardware salesman who had no clue about the publishing/media industry, told me he knew someone else that I should talk to.
   That someone was Ed Judd. My dad had met him through one of his clients, Roy Dunn, a hardware store owner in Macon. One day Mr. Dunn told my dad he was going to visit a friend and invited him along, saying he was a great guy to know.
   He was right. Not only was he a great guy to know due to his friendly manner, knowledge of the world, and positive outlook – he also knew a great deal about printing. More importantly, he knew how to treat the customers for whom he printed.
   His quote was actually higher than just about every other place we had contacted, but it wasn't the price that sealed the deal. The first thing we noticed was that the printed quality of the papers that rolled off of his press was superior to the others we had seen. Still, money is money and we were starting a new business in debt and on a shoestring and prayers, so that wasn't what sold us either.
   The reason we chose Judd Publishing Company was because we felt that Ed Judd cared about our business and us. Yes, he had just met us, but we knew instantly that he was a man of integrity and would give us the best he had to offer.
   Other places seemed to think they were doing us a favor by offering us time on their printing presses. They spoke of things like narrow time frames, unwavering deadlines, and what would be required of us. In contrast, Mr. Judd spent his time asking us things like, "What do you need?" and "How can we help make your business work?"
   In the early years he provided valuable advice about the nuts-and-bolts of getting a product ready for the press. It was much more difficult before technology took some of the variables away. He helped me learn what to do – and what not to do – to produce a good-looking paper that was easy to read.
   Through the years, his son, Buddy, took on more of the company's responsibilities and eventually ran it himself (in keeping with his Dad's standards).
   However, until fairly recently, Mr. Ed, in spite of health issues and the basic aches and pains of growing older, would more often than not still be found somewhere in the print shop. The ink in his veins wouldn't let go of him.

   We won't either. Mr. Ed Judd will forever be a part of The Journal.