In a fast-paced world racing with
change, RAM has maintained a
firm focus on its commitments:
commitments to its customers, to its
employees, to providing superior
service, to the community, and to
the environment. As a result, the
mid-size offset commercial printer
in southern New Hampshire has
experienced 30 years of growth. In
fact, RAM recently celebrated its
30th anniversary with an open house
gala event and a re-branding of the
company to The RAM Companies
to unify its four diversified businesses
under one umbrella.
Today the company produces the
same sales volume in a week as it
produced the first year that brothers
Buddy and Wally Zaremba
bought the company in 1981 when
they were in their early twenties.
About six months after Wally was
hired as a salesperson at RAM Printing,
Robert A. MacAuley, who founded
the company in 1976, asked Wally if
he wanted to purchase the company.
Wally and Buddy had worked
in production at different companies
for years and knew how to
operate the equipment.
"We were 22 and 24 when we
bought the company," states Wally
"We were kids. Because of our ages
and our knowledge of printing, we
weren't afraid of the changes in the
printing industry and didn't resist
Being in their 20s when the
Zaremba brothers took charge
infused RAM with a vitality and cando
attitude that has persisted ever
since. "Back then we never said no
to a job, and today we never say
no," says Buddy, "unless it physically
doesn’t fit our equipment. If we can
produce it, we will."
Leading with innovation
In the first year that Buddy and
Wally owned the company, RAM
Printing produced mostly black-and-white
and some two-color work with
six employees. They generated
about $175,000 in sales. Today, The
RAM Companies encompasses four
diversified businesses, employs 65 people, and produces full-color
projects on a wide array of equipment.
RAM reached its current size by
constantly evolving to meet the
needs of its customers. To keep up
with the growth of its services, the
company has added on to its facility
several times. It moved into its current
East Hampstead, N.H., location
in 1984, however, what once was a
4,000-square-foot building is now a
28,000-square-foot operation that
encompasses two buildings.
RAM Printing has been committed
to innovation by continuously
implementing the latest printing
and other reproduction and workflow
technology. On many occasions,
the printer has been alpha
and beta sites for various products
and equipment, demonstrating its
charge to be on the leading and
bleeding edge. In production, the
list of equipment includes Heidelberg
Topsetters, an Agfa Azura
chemistry-free digital thermal plate
system, five Heidelberg presses, and
a Ryobi two-color press.
In 2004, RAM installed a Heidelberg
Speedmaster CD74-5 five-color
press with Aqueous Coating capabilities.
"The CD has been a nice addition—it has opened up some markets
for us," says Buddy. "With the
press we can do packaging. We can
print on heavier stocks and on
For the New Hampshire State Lottery,
for example, the company
printed thousands of die-cut plastic
materials for store-bound lottery
As technology offers opportunities
to expand, it can also take them
away. As more and more customers
move to PDF proofing, a fraction of
that business declines. To generate
new sales, the printer added largeformat
In 2005, RAM acquired Concord
Printing's large-format graphics division
and now produces large-format
graphics on its HP DesignJet 2500
and its DesignJet 3500 printers.
"We've had wide format for two years:
it's another piece of the pie we can
offer our customers," Buddy said.
For its retail customers, RAM
opened Hampstead Print & Copy in
1991 in a site across the street, and
moved the operation to the RAM
campus in 1996. With equipment
that includes a Canon ImageRunner
110 high-speed system and
Canon Color Laser Copiers, Hampstead
produces color and black-andwhite
copies, personalized products,
reports, presentations, banners,
posters, and displays.
When the company realized in
1997 that it was delivering about 35
percent of its jobs to mailing
houses, RAM brought direct/bulk
mail services in-house. Today, RAM Mailing Service can help turn print
jobs around much faster.
Another major expansion
involved purchasing long-time
client Guestmark International, a
marketing company servicing the
hospitality industry, in 1998. Now
instead of just providing the printed
materials that go inside guest services
directories found in hotel
rooms, employees help customers
create and customize their directories
to fit with the decor of the
hotel rooms. Hard Rock Hotel and
Casino ordered directories for their
600 rooms, for example. Hilton
Gardens also requested menus to be
printed and delivered.
"Many times we get contracts
because customers know [Guestmark]
is owned by a printing company,"
explains Buddy. "Margins are
going down and customers need to
cut their costs. They know that cutting
out that middle party and working
directly with one [solutions
provider] saves money."
Leveraging the capabilities of its
four diversified businesses—RAM
Printing Inc., RAM Mailing Service,
Hampstead Print & Copy, and
delivers a wide range of services to
its customers. It prints jobs such as
marketing pieces, publications,
and direct mail for New Hampshire
colleges, marketing collateral for
corporations, and guest directories
and menus for hotels and restaurants.
For the Timberland Company, for
example, the printer produces sign
packages, promotional materials,
and sales collateral, and distributes
the products throughout the country.
RAM's commitment to its customers
is evident in the many longterm
relationships it has established.
"We will do anything for our customers,"
says office manager, Kathi
Dunn. "We have three trucks on the
road. We're delivering and picking
up proofs and delivering completed
"We offer the quality of print and
the quality of service," adds Wally.
Buddy remarks: "We don't give
them a reason to go anywhere else."
Protecting the planet, attracting
In addition to its unwavering
support of its customers, RAM has
demonstrated its commitment to
the environment by proactively
taking charge of its impact on the
In March 2006, RAM became the
first commercial printer in New
Hampshire to receive Forest Stewardship
Council (FSC) Certification.
FSC, an international, non-profit
organization, supports responsible
management of the world's forests.
Being FSC certified enables companies
to place a logo on their
materials that portray that they're
taking steps to help preserve the
environment. When RAM purchases
FSC-certified paper, the printer follows
a chain of command that
tracks the paper back from the distributor
to the manufacturer to the
forest—all ensuring that the paper
originates from sustainable forests.
To become FSC certified, an independent
third party, the Rainforest
Alliance, with its SmartWood program,
audited RAM and verifies
that it operates with excellent environmental
and social practices.
To continue the chain of promoting
RAM encourages its customers to
select papers that have been FSC
certified. More and more customers
are interested because their products
can carry the logo as well.
"We're helping educate people,"
says Wally. "A lot or our customers
can use the FSC logo to market
their own company to say they're
environmentally sound. Many
customers say 'What's it going to
cost me to put the logo on there?'
But there's no extra cost to being
environmentally correct or to use
"We had to pay for the certification,
which took about six months," he
continues. "That gives us the authority
to put the logo on our materials.
It's not easy to do. It costs us time and
money. When the paper comes in, we
have to record the tonnage we use,
and let the distributor that we buy
from know they have to mark it, so
it's a chain of custody command.
We're the last in the chain of custody
before the customer."
RAM recently produced an
annual report for Northeast Delta
Dental on certified paper, enabling
them to place the FSC logo on their
printed products. "They're telling
their stockholders and readers that
they're helping the world by using
environmentally sound paper to
print their report," states Buddy.
RAM has even gained new business
as a result of its green practices.
One potential customer, a
propane company, called to inquire
about printing a quarterly newsletter.
When the CSR informed her
about being able to place an FSC
logo on the printed pieces, the customer
didn't just bring on board
one or two newsletters, but 11—amounting to 50,000 printed pieces
each quarter or 200,000 additional
pieces a year.
"We told the customer that putting
the FSC logo on was great advertising
for them because they're energy
conscious," explains Dunn. "We got
11 different newsletters. She was
thrilled that we brought it up."
Another new customer, Granite
State Conservation Voters Alliance,
called for a quote for a newsletter
and after hearing about the FSC
logo, brought on quarterly newsletters
with a run of 25,000 each.
To educate others about its environmental
practices, RAM hosted a
tour of its facility co-coordinated by
John Sobczak, sales representative
for RAM for over 16 years, for members
of New Hampshire Businesses
for Social Responsibility. RAM is a
member of NHBSR, an organization
of businesses leading social
responsibility in New Hampshire.
The organization provides a network
of businesses that can learn
from other members how their
business practices can enrich their
own operations and the community,
and sustain the environment.
As more attention is placed on
environmental stewardship and
conservation, many companies want
to participate and show their own
awareness and use of environmental
friendly practices. Today about 181
printers are now FSC certified, compared
to just 80 a little more than
six months ago.
Consequently, finding earthfriendly
papers is getting easier. Last
year about 30 percent of the papers
RAM purchased were FSC certified
and this year that number is growing
fast. "Every month there's more
and more FSC-certified papers.
"Right now it's easy to compare to
last year when we had to search for
paper and then call up and see if it
was available. That was the hardest
part: we couldn't always get the
paper when we needed it." says John
Olson, RAM'S general manager.
Even before being green had
gained wide public support, RAM
had taken steps to reduce the
effects of global warming. In 1989,
the printer implemented a comprehensive
recycling program for its
paper waste, in 1991 it converted
to soy-based inks and today uses vegetable-
based inks, and in 2006, RAM
installed the AGFA: Azura chemicalfree
plate processor—all moves
that reduce the company's environmental
Over the years, RAM has demonstrated
that it is a socially responsible
company. Committed to community
involvement, the printer strives to
work with organizations such as
Portsmouth Children's Museum,
New Hampshire Public Television
and New Hampshire Philharmonic
to enrich the community. RAM
prints the wrestling books, football
books, and playbooks for schools in
the district, for example.
Through the years of growth and
constant change, the company has
created a culture of teamwork, hard
work, and constant improvement.
Many of RAM's 65 employees have
been with the company for about 20
Four-member executive team sets
Major decisions are made by the
four members of the executive committee:
owners Wally and Buddy,
General Manager John Olson and
Office Manager Kathi Dunn. "Four
minds are better than one," states
The sales team comprises four
employees and an ambassador,
Allen Gilbert. "Allen goes around
the area and stops into companies
to introduce the RAM Companies,"
explains Wally. "He drops off calendars,
notepads, and pens, for
instance. He doesn't sell; he just
gives us a presence. He keeps a log
and qualifies the leads and sends
them to the sales team."
To support the executive team
and employees, Printing Industries
of New England provided helpful
information to the company since
the beginning. "There's a lot of
value in the organization, especially
for the knowledge and education
behind it," says Buddy. "It's been
really good for the employees. We
utilize the credit unions, seminars,
and training on OSHA rules and
The RAM Companies have many
reasons to celebrate. This mid-size
commercial printer in southern
New Hampshire has been growing
steadily for 30 years while staying
focused on its commitments. Dedicated
to providing its customers
with a wide range of print and
print-related services in high quality
and with fast turnarounds, RAM
has developed relationships with
customers who keep coming back.
Furthermore, RAM reaches
beyond its own business model to
take measures in protecting the
planet and enriching the community.
This story was reprinted from the May edition of New England Printer and Publisher. Download (PDF)