Diving into a Career in Print

Q&A with Eric KuhnSPC’s new Strategic Accounts Executive

Navigating a career in the print industry can be a challenging yet rewarding journey, especially for recent graduates seeking to find the right match for their skills and interests.

In this Q&A, we spoke with Eric Kuhn, SPC’s new Strategic Accounts Executive, who shared his experiences, insights, and advice on pursuing a career in print. From his undergraduate experience at UW-Stout, to his background in recruiting, to his transition to SPC, and valuable tips for aspiring print professionals, Eric offers a wealth of knowledge for anyone embarking on a similar path.

Tell us about your background and what brought you to SPC.

My decision to pursue a degree in Cross-Media Graphic Communications Management at UW-Stout stemmed from my passion for photo/video, coupled with strong Technical Education courses in high school.

After graduating, I started my career in sales in Des Moines, IA, a community my wife and have grown to love. Over the last six years, I transitioned from Sales Representative, to Business Development and eventually into a Sales Management position servicing client needs across the spectrum of Commercial Print Publications, Packaging, Direct Mail, Fulfillment, and Marketing Services.  My decision to transition roles within the industry and join the SPC family was quite simple. Once I had the opportunity to meet the team and understand the type of solutions they were partnering with clients on, and where SPC was focused on growing, it was a wave I just couldn’t miss.

How did the UW Stout print program prepare you for a career in print?

The Graphic Communications program at UW-Stout is unique. What excited me most about the program was the exposure and experiences gained in all things marketing, from conception to delivery. From integrated marketing to press and post-press classes, I had the opportunity to develop a full-service understanding of how the print marketing business works.

Could you share some insights into the recruitment process for sales programs straight out of college?

What’s challenging about starting in a sales position is you don’t have a book of business and in a lot of cases, don’t have a ton of experience in solving problems or navigating professional conversations. Something that impressed me most about SPC, was its focus on investing in the next generation. I’ve not seen another company structure and train their new hires as well as SPC’s leadership does. Their level of commitment towards success, and the roadmap for career growth they lay out for new hires is exciting, and something I wish that I had immediately stepping into the industry.

What advice do you have for a college student in a print program as they are preparing for the recruiting process at their college?

From my five years of experience helping on the recruitment side, I can say that one of the biggest challenges I hear students talk about is identifying “what” they want to do (yes in general), but specifically within the print industry.  What I often tell students is, don’t get caught up or pigeonholed in a specific job title. Think of your career as a funnel – it’s wide at the top and narrow at the bottom. Embrace the process of gaining knowledge and understanding, as well as the technical and practical aspects.

You’ve had some experience in the print recruitment world, how did you leverage networking opportunities to end up at SPC?

One of my school courses was Professional Practices, where we learned to build our LinkedIn profiles, draft white papers, and create content to add value to the industry. These experiences, along with internships and other industry networking opportunities, gave me an advantage when starting my career after graduating. The reason I ultimately ended up at SPC was because of a relationship first established with Ryan LeFebvre, SPC’s Executive VP of Sales and Marketing, nearly four years ago. We stayed in touch, and when the timing made sense, the relationship forged from years past made for a seamless and exciting transition.

What do you consider to be the most rewarding aspect of your career thus far?

Building, growing, and nurturing a professional relationship from scratch is truly rewarding. Now being part of a team like SPC, which prioritizes thought leadership, invests in the next generation, and prioritizes meaningful client relationships has been incredibly energizing. It’s just the beginning, and I know so many.

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