The Story of Swift Printing & Communications
Swift Printing & Communications has been proudly serving the printing and communications needs of companies/organizations in West Michigan and throughout the country for over one half a century.
Swift was founded in 1950 by Walter D. Gutowski, Sr. and his wife, Lorraine. Walt Sr. began his career at the age of 19, when he worked for many years in printing for the Pantlind Hotel in downtown Grand Rapids. He worked first as a pressman and later as Operations Manager. After serving in the military for several years, he returned to work at Ellinger Printing, which is where he honed his printing skills and realized that he was destined to own his own shop. Walt Sr. bought the assets of a print shop that was closing in Muskegon; this acquisition quickly became Swift Printing Company. In 1954 Swift moved to its current headquarters location on Bridge Street. Since that time, Walt Sr. has been the heart and soul of our company, instilling his amazing work ethic and never wavering commitment to the customer. He continues to inspire the Swift team to this day.
In 1984, Walt Sr.’s only son, Walter Gutowski, Jr., joined Swift and co-managed and operated the company with his father. As a young child Walt Jr. worked at the print shop, pushing a broom and learning about all aspects of the business and printing equipment. Later, he earned his Associate’s Degree from Grand Rapids Community College and graduated magna cum laude from Aquinas College with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Today, Walt Jr. is sole owner of Swift, but he continues to include his dad in many aspects of managing the business. Walt Jr. and his wife, Amy, have four children.
Swift Printing Company was officially born January 1, 1950. From the very beginning, Swift has been devoted to three main tenets, which guide us in everything we do:
1. Content, well cared-for employees.
2. Outstanding, solution-oriented service, which includes providing products to our customers on their time schedule. As our current owner often says, “That’s why it says Swift on the door!”
3. Being a leader in technology.
We believe that these three tenets are crucial to providing the level of service that our customers deserve and to creating satisfied customers.
Our heritage as an innovator
Swift Printing & Communications has built a reputation on innovation and customer-centered solutions. Here are some highlights of our Swift “firsts”:
1960 - Swift invested in two new Kluge automatic presses
Owning even one Kluge was considered cutting edge at the time; owning two was similar to what it was like in the early 1900’s to have two television sets in one household. Most printers have now eliminated these presses from their shops, although Swift continues to utilize the Kluges as a way to continue offering our customers the lost art of Letterpress and an economical tool for perforating, numbering and scoring.
1986 - Swift led West Michigan in the purchase of the first computerized guillotine paper cutter.
At that time, this was the new cutting-edge technology for this area.
1990’s - Swift Printing was the first printer in the country to utilize Mitsubishi direct-to-plate technology with the full-color Shinohara press.
2006 - Swift purchased the first iGen3™ 90 Digital Production Press in the world.
Swift has built an outstanding team of professionals who work together every day to not only meet, but exceed, our customers’ expectations. The team at Swift is second to none! In addition to providing outstanding, “swift” service, we work diligently to make things easy for our customers and solve any challenges that they are facing in reference to print and communications needs.
Our team brings an impressive range of skills together to benefit our customers. At the same time, as Walt. Jr. notes “The success of Swift Printing & Communications is based on the hard work of owners and employees, and on the always-emphasized focus on team work. No one in the company is too important to perform any job that needs to be done!”