Oct 12 2010

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Hewson Coat Of ArmsDerek Hewson -A Flexo Family Background

I have been around the printing and converting industry from the time I was a small child. My father, Roger L. Hewson Sr. Was a direct sales representative GT Schjeldahl back in the early 70′s and eventually started his own business as a Manufacturers Representative, Roger L. Hewson & Associates, Inc.

In the summertime I would sometimes be lucky enough that my father would actually take me to work with him to make calls on many of his customers. Of course, the idea of a sales rep toting around his 7 year old kid may muster imaginations of an irresponsible or perhaps even “unprofessional” salesman. This would be the case for most, if not all, sales reps in the industry, but if there ever was an exception, my father was it.

SCHJELDAHL Logo

G.T. Schjeldahl Company established in 1955 by Gilmore T. “Shelly” Schjeldahl

Roger Hewson Sr. Was not your ordinary “Sales Guy” that would come to your office to impose on your time to try to talk you into buying that bag machine that you can’t begin to think about purchasing, or you would be calling him. Actually, my father was the guy that came to your office and lit the place up with his playful and sarcastic attitude. The gal up front looked forward to when he would come in, and so did everyone else. He was like a break in the day for people to smile and wonder, how “far out” is he gonna go today to get a laugh?  And that he did! He got laughs, smiles, handshakes and arms around him with welcomes that made me feel like he was really important. This never ceased to impress me, or those who would meet him for the first time.

108 SCHJELDAHL

The monsters in my childhood nightmares looked more like this!

In the mid 70′s, he also established DuraPak Plastics for my brothers, Roger Jr. and Michael Hewson. This was a small converting operation that housed some used  bag machines like the “Schjeldahl 108″ and “208″. My first job as a boy in 1976 was to “pull” bags off the 208. This entailed watching the cycle counter while simultaneous getting repeatedly “zapped” by the Simco static bar in an effort to keep bags from getting “picked” back into the conveyor belts, which would draw them back toward the 700 deg. “Hot Knife section”.  I remember complaining to my father that I kept getting electrocuted. I remember him saying, “Careful, that’ll make you sterile! I had no idea what that meant, but I figured it wasn’t good. ” Kathie Lee Gifford had nothing on these people!!

In 1987 my brother, Roger L. Hewson Jr., was already in my father’s footsteps and inherited Roger L. Hewson and Associates. With lines covering almost all aspects of the printing and converting industry, Roger found himself with somewhat of a “full plate” in 1991 and asked me to join him in the continued effort to grow the business.

In that my brother had cut his teeth in the business from working as a bag machine operator, to actually operating his own converting operations, he was able to teach me every aspect of the printing and converting business from a “ground up” perspective. We would travel together at times where I would cease the opportunity to spend long hours picking his brain about resins, extrusion, bag making, etc., But what facinated me the most was what seemed to be the imperfect science of flexo printing! Eventually, I would have the opportunity to travel to many of the manufacturer’s facilities for extensive training on many lines we would carry. Process Control Inc. taught me the extensive variables in volumetric weighing feeding and re-claiming systems. I was able to spend some quality training time with Kundig Control Systems to learn about in-line gauge control for extrusion systems. Enercon had a very impressive way of training on covered and bare roll corona treatment of flexible/non flexible substrate.  Ion Systems in Berkley California made static control the newest technology with their Virtual AC System and the guys at Ro-An Inc. I will never forget! Making sales calls with Steve Lieberman of Park Air Corp. was especially meaningful, in that my father had represented them from the beginning. To say that all of this was the most extensive training that anyone in this industry could hope for would be an understatement. But it was Harper Corperation that  would prove to be my biggest fascination, while spending an entire 9 days learning about laser engraved ceramic anilox rolls. I would eventually take a position with Praxair Surface Technologies as a direct technical sales associate for the western eleven states, while  my brother Roger took the offer of becoming a full time dedicated West Coast Representative to Windmoeller & Hoelscher Corporation.

Now days, I find myself as an Independent Manufacturers Representative and coming “full circle” back to what my father was doing in the early seventies to 1987. The one thing that I can claim is that I truly love what I do, as did my father, the late Roger L. Hewson Sr.

To this day, I still find myself in front of the people who remember my father and comment on the memories that they have of him. This will never cease to mean a great deal to me.

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