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Press Releases

LDI Launches Very First LDI 360˚ Tech Expo

On April 27, 2017, LDI Color ToolBox is hosting a LDI 360˚ Tech Expo at its Times Square Showroom and Conference Center located at 1500 Broadway, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10036 to discuss the latest trends in office technology and to showcase the newest technologies with hands-on demonstrations.

The event will focus on the importance of data security with industry-leading keynote speakers from HP, Computer Forensic Services, and Datto, Inc. LDI 360˚ will also feature the latest technologies from Canon, Sharp, Samsung, Toshiba, EFI, Nuance, PrintAudit, MaxxVault, Datto, PrinterLogic, Zoom, Phoenix Audio, Duplo, Gotham Shredding & Binding, 3D Systems and 3D Platform.

LDI 360˚ is the only event of its kind covering exclusive topics ranging from securing your print and network environment to maintaining color consistency in your prints. “We’re excited to launch our very first LDI 360˚ event. We are bringing together thought leaders from the industry to discuss the latest trends in office technology and keep our customers informed of what’s ahead,” says LDI CEO Jerry Blaine.

In the News

What’s Happenin’ in Person with LDI

As part of my work for Canon, I spent some time in the NYC area and stopped by to visit with one of their dealers, LDI, a major imaging dealer with locations in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and California.

LDI opened their doors in 1999 and now has over 250 employees. They offer a full line of office equipment, color graphics products, wide format printers and high-end production equipment from brands like Canon and others. After a tour of their beautiful office located in the heart of Times Square, I sat down with LDI CEO Jerry Blaine and his team to find out What’s Happenin’ with LDI.

Jerry has a long history in this industry, working for Frank Cannata in the early 1970s (the most profound influence on his career, according to Jerry). Before LDI, Jerry worked for a dealer, Leslie Supply, which was bought by Danka. Frank moved on to Canon in 1975, which was just starting to build their US dealer network, and convinced Jerry and Leslie Supply to pick up the Canon line. Years later, when Jerry had the opportunity to start his own company, it was pretty clear what direction the company was going to take for a strategic manufacturer partnership. “Canon was our first choice,” said Jerry. Since then, LDI has grown and now offers a variety of brands, but Canon is still their main line.

LDI began LDI Connect a few years ago, moving into managed services. They also have a strong AV program called Pro AV, a successful managed print services operation. They also have taken on 3D printing and are doing well with it. Color management was another reason they chose Canon at that time and it’s still a big part of their business, catering to the most sophisticated graphics designers in NYC and beyond.

In 2014, LDI worked with the Mohegan Tribe in Connecticut and opened KÔTA, a Mohegan LDI Enterprise. President Tod Pike has been running KÔTA for just over two years and they’ve been incredibly successful. And, they recently opened a second location. With Mohegan ownership, the company qualifies as a bona fide Minority Business Enterprise, something that has opened a lot of opportunities for KÔTA.

Outside of print, LDI is very focused on the community and has many causes and charities they support. One of the organizations that LDI has supported for a number of years is The Corporate Source, a group that provides employment opportunities for people with disabilities. The Corporate Source bids on contracts in the government and private sectors – providing janitorial, mail room operations and maintenance at facilities like the Federal Courthouse in Islip, NY and the Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY.
Some of the nucleus of LDI’s Sales, Service and Administration have been working together for more than 25 years and have already had family members and friends join the organization. Employees are treated well, like family, and they stick around.

Having tenured staff enables the dealership to empower people to really take care of the customer. There’s not a lot of back and forth with managers. Assigned Service Techs have direct communications with customers and can make time-saving decisions in the field.

Customer service is an ongoing process at LDI. Customers are routinely surveyed to make sure they’re happy. LDI measures customer satisfaction at the time of installation, key performance indicators, employee performance and more. LDI is all about the customer, using data and communication to find opportunities to improve and evolve.

We chatted about Canon and what makes them such a strong partner for LDI. Let’s face it, LDI has many brands they offer, but Canon is their number one. Brand recognition is a strong selling point and Jerry talked about how the name opens doors. He also mentioned their dealer support. “Pound for pound, Canon provides amazing dealer support,” he told me. LDI’s growth over 18 years in possibly the most competitive market in the country has been impressive. Their vision to successfully expand into other areas like 3D printing, minority owned enterprises, and managed services has made and kept them a leading dealer. LDI and Canon are one of the great partnerships in this business.

It was an eye-opening visit with LDI. They have a great operation and arguably the best view from their offices that I’ve ever seen. At the time I was preparing this article, a week after my visit, LDI was hosting a Tech 360 Expo with event info and partner logos appearing on the Reuters and NASDAQ signs in Times Square. Very cool! It was a nice afternoon with LDI; I appreciate the opportunity Canon provided me to sit down with such great people!

~Andy Slawetsky

The Wavelength: March 2017 Vertical Alignment

Verticals are critical to today’s solution providers. No matter which industries you work with, there are specialized requirements that make each one present its own unique challenges and offer its own rewards. Do some offer better opportunities than others, what are some of the tips and tricks, and are there certain “must-know” facts about each? The Wavelength’s panel this month tackles the topic.

Which vertical markets do you feel offer the most attractive opportunities?

Rebecca Blaine: (We have seen our greatest) successes in the legal and creative/design verticals. These vertical markets are print intensive and have required both knowledge and expertise of all of the technologies that surround the devices — litigation support, document management and job accounting for the legal vertical; color management, proofing and media profiling for the creative/design vertical. Not-for-profit is another vertical we feel offers attractive opportunities. An important aspect of LDI’s philosophy has always been providing support to not-for-profit organizations. Playing an active role in these organizations has helped us understand specific needs and offer solutions that are cost efficient and effective. Furthermore, we see a significant opportunity for managed IT Services in this vertical.

Glen Johnson: Regulated vertical markets such as financial services, education, legal, healthcare, manufacturing, real estate and property management offer attractive opportunities. Vertical markets that enforce business rules pertaining to all documentation and require a form of approval are excellent opportunities.

Ron Nielson: We continue to see opportunities across key verticals, including healthcare, higher education and legal, particularly related to the way information is managed and shared. Each industry brings unique trends and challenges and therefore requires unique key strategies, tips and tools to be effective. A deep level of vertical industry knowledge is a must in today’s competitive environment to give customers the confidence you can help them within their specific market. In many cases, such as in healthcare, our team of experts consult with customers to identify breaks within workflow and to make recommendations for improvements. At HIMSS [we saw] plentiful discussions around ways a services company can help with these challenges by offering business processing services, workflow assessments, change management and much more.

Frederick Scherman: The current White House administration is projecting increased spending in aerospace, defense and healthcare. From a document management perspective, the U.S. government presents attractive opportunities within these sectors. We’re also seeing challenges in the healthcare market in both public and private sectors. There continues to exist an unprecedented demand for processing decades of accrued healthcare documents and records.

George Seymour: Among verticals, the most attractive markets are also the ones that are most complicated to address with solutions. Markets like healthcare, financial services and the federal government are driven by complex security and regulatory requirements to gain control of paper-based workflows. And because these are high-priority needs, organizations have budgets assigned to address them. But these are also the toughest markets to sell into successfully. The solutions require deep vertical expertise. And the sales process typically brings in CIOs and other senior decision makers. These factors make it important for dealers to team with vendors that have this market expertise and senior selling experience, and are willing to be true partners in collaborating during the sales process.

What are some of the more complicated vertical markets to sell to and why?

Blaine: Because we are more “boutique” in our approach, government organizations don’t afford us the margins and collaborative process that we attempt to utilize when creating solutions for our clients.

Johnson: Financial advisors and broker dealers have very strict requirements around compliance with SEC and FINRA rules. Truly meeting these regulations requires specialized knowledge and deployment of technology.

Have you gained entry to a vertical market unexpectedly and if so, how did that happen?

Blaine: Our success in the education vertical was facilitated through products added beyond its original core products and services. The addition of interactive whiteboards and interactive learning management solutions promoted the development of conversations, relationships and ultimately technology engagements.

Johnson: The K-12 market. At first, school districts purchased PSIcapture to track barcode asset tags for teacher/student iPad initiatives. It has evolved into other departments such as accounting/finance, grading, student records, facility maintenance, and food service. Our technology fits the way educators work instead of trying to change the way they work.

Are there any tools or best practices that carry through multiple verticals that you can share with us?

Blaine: There are a few basics that enable us to be successful through multiple verticals: An understanding of converting paper to an electronic workflow, including PDF technologies and document management strategies; an understanding of user behaviors that drive print volumes to desktop and shared multifunction devices; and an understanding of eliminating print waste through device control and secure print processes

Johnson: Eliminate single points of failure in processes by incorporating groups versus single users whenever possible. This makes allowances for people being unavailable, traveling, etc., which can create bottlenecks in workflow processes. Take inventory of all standard business documents and create templates in your document management repository for each document. This way, everyone will consistently use the same, current version of documents.

Scherman: We continue to embrace enhancement tools that cross over vertical industries. Through partnering affiliations with document management companies, software is available that provides capture automation for business processes, with or without an ECM platform. These solutions play a pivotal role in streamlining workflow for vertical markets allowing organizations to spend less time managing their digital files and more time on value-producing tasks.

Seymour: We see the concept of enabling secure workflows across multiple devices and users as a fairly common process across verticals. The big difference among verticals is integration to back-end systems and security requirements that are specific to individual industries. Dealers should look for vendor partners that can bring in vertical specialists who know an industry’s workflows. That can be a major point of differentiation with customers.

A best practice for dealers that runs across multiple verticals is having a vendor partner that can engage with CIOs. Vertical opportunities are typically complex solutions that require deep knowledge of security and regulatory requirements. These are customer issues that involve senior IT executives as decision makers. Having the expertise to sit down with CIOs can make a critical difference to achieving sales success. Winning over the CIO can provide an effective counterweight to cost pressures pursued by purchasing departments, which may not fully understand the complexity of the problems you are solving.

Which verticals lend themselves best to paperless solutions as opposed to those verticals that are still paper-intensive?

Blaine: Because of the wealth of digital content, online resources and portability of interactive devices, the education vertical is quickly reducing the number of paper assets.

Johnson: With today’s technology, there are few verticals that really require paper. With the growth of electronic signature, even historically paper-intensive applications (i.e. AP, legal, HR, finance, healthcare, etc.) can be made paperless, or at least part of the process can be made paperless. Initiating an instance of workflow as soon as the documents are received and captured can advance any business process. However, most sales operations are still paper-intensive. I am often amused that companies selling a “paperless” solution require the customer to begin the relationship by signing various papers.

Seymour: Healthcare has the best opportunity to move toward paperless work processes although it will be challenged to go completely paperless. In fact, healthcare is the only industry that operates under a mandate to achieve paperless transactions of medical records. The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) outlined multi-stage measurement criteria for healthcare providers to go paperless. That said, the primary issue in healthcare – as in all verticals – is there needs to be dramatic change in the workflows. For example, there are still numerous processes that require someone to fill out information on paper that later needs to be entered into a healthcare system. Tools like mobile capture and speech-to-text technology are helping healthcare go digital and integrate that information into electronic healthcare systems.

What are some of the biggest challenges in the healthcare vertical?

Blaine: Compliance issues related to HIPAA and prevalence of legacy medical systems create some interesting challenges.

Nielson: This is a very timely question, particularly as we’re answering this question directly from the show floor at HIMSS. The two areas we see as the biggest overarching challenges in healthcare are reimbursements and patient care coordination. Despite the fact it has been a few years since EHRs were implemented, facilities are still buried in paperwork and manual processes – and still not seeing maximum ROI. While the move to digitizing information continues, managing the new processes that come along with it can be a major challenge as well.

If you think about it, rapid change has been happening within healthcare facilities within recent years as they have implemented new technologies that may be disparate or improperly leveraging the older technology. Additionally, the clinicians and administrative staff may not have been properly trained on how to effectively use the new system, and at times where they may feel the old way is better, they revert back to it. While this can be inefficient, it can also affect patient safety in some cases. Bringing in outside experts to help implement change management, or what we refer to as Strategic Transformation Services, can be incredibly instrumental in training healthcare professionals not just how to use the new technologies, but why they are so vital to their patients’ outcomes.

Scherman: Due to the rapid rate of consolidation within the healthcare industry, many healthcare providers are forced to migrate from one platform to another. Technology compatibility becomes a critical issue. Driver-level compatibility between hardware devices and software systems is essential to eliminate technical support issues and simplify platform deployments.

We currently work with a number of independent software vendors to ensure interoperability between the individual platforms and our equipment. Third-party compliance certification testing with software applications, such as EHR systems, provide healthcare customers the confidence of knowing before they buy. This testing also enables hardware and software vendors to collaborate better to cut down on development time and avoid problems early on.

Where is there opportunity to collaborate with other providers?

Johnson: Working with our channel partners to deliver capture, workflow and document management solutions that are tailored to the various verticals they serve and integrating these solutions with the business management applications to help customers streamline their operations. Business applications like CRM, ERP, HRIS are not optimized to manage documents. However, we can provide tight integration from these applications to document management so users are able to get to all information and documents they need to do their jobs efficiently.

Is the strategy of vertical marketing truly actionable or is it really more hype?

Blaine: Vertical marketing strategies enable us to engage large groups of individuals with common technology interests. It gives us an opportunity to develop system specialists and an expertise with the third-party solutions and workflow integrations that leverage technology investments. It is absolutely an actionable go-to-market strategy.

Johnson: It is not hype. Different verticals do have different requirements and priorities. No one software company can be all things to all people. A concentrated effort to focus on specific verticals allows information to be transferred via subject matter experts versus a “one solution fits all” approach. We all have our strengths, and therefore certain markets where we fit better than others.

Nielson: We absolutely believe in the value of a vertical marketing approach, and have seen positive results from it. There is a strong customer demand and expectation that our team understands their specific markets. Our go-to-market approach would not be as effective today if we didn’t have experts on staff who understand the unique vertical industry challenges, and know how to best address them. Customers have an expectation that we can speak their language, know their challenges, understand their technologies and how their processes compare to other healthcare providers. Our vertical marketing approach shows them we can deliver.

In today’s world, where information is moving so quickly and the need to manage that process is becoming more vital for security, transformation and even business growth – the concept of one-size fits all marketing goes out the door. As an organization that may be thought of by many as an “output company,” we know the importance of workflow, managing information and putting that information to work, improving patient outcomes, revenue cycles and more. Today, with our team of vertically specialized experts, we can help those healthcare, higher education and legal organizations implement new business strategies, processes and technologies that ultimately grow their business.

 

This article originally appeared in the March 2017 issue of Workflow.

LDI CEO Jerry Blaine Featured in BTA Office Technology’s February 2017 Issue

LDI CEO Jerry Blaine was featured in BTA Office Technology’s February issue sharing his strategy for success in 2017 with this great quote: “Working together with the appropriate partners to offer not only solutions to current requirements, but looking ahead as best we can to anticipate future opportunities.”

Read the feature on Page 6:

BTA Office Technology February 2017 Issue

 Here’s to a successful 2017!

LDI Receives 2016 EverBank Platinum Dealer Award

We received a 2016 Platinum Dealer Award from EverBank!

2016 EverBank Platinum Dealer Award

This achievement is based on many factors such as overall lease volume, growth, profitability, conversion and portfolio performance. Here’s to our continued success! See more LDI Awards & Recognitions!

LDI and KOTA Featured as 2016 Elite Dealers in ENX Magazine

LDI Color ToolBox and KOTA are featured as 2016 Elite Dealers in the December 2016 Elite Dealer issue of ENX Magazine!

LDI KOTA 2016 Elite Dealers ENX Magazine

Since 1988, the Elite Dealer award has honored the best and brightest of the office imaging dealer community. Check out this special issue online (we’re featured on Page 34!).

LDI on the 3DP RoadShow

We had an awesome week of 3D printing on the 3DP RoadShow with stops at our branches in Parsippany, Times Square, KOTA, and our headquarters in Jericho! We featured 3D Platform’s incredible large-format 3D printer Workbench with live demos, amazing samples, and all things 3D!

LDI Featured on Buyers Lab

Commitment to Collaboration and Partnerships Elevate LDI Color ToolBox’s Value Prop

Article written by Carl Schell, Senior Creative Content Manager at BLI

Fast Facts
History in Brief: Offers a variety of hardware (including 3D printers), software (Platinum partner of Nuance), and professional services (MPS, managed IT, national account program); created in 1999, is currently the No. 1 reseller of Canon production devices for all independent dealers in the United States
Headquarters: Jericho, New York
Locations: 6 (New Jersey, New York, Southern California, Southern New England)
Employees: Approximately 275
Hardware Partners: (A3) Canon, Samsung, Sharp, Toshiba; (A4) HP, Samsung; (Production) Canon, Sharp
Noteworthy Software Partners: Drivve, EFI, MaxxVault, Nuance (Copitrak, eCopy, Equitrac), PaperCut, Sepialine

Jerry Blaine is a funny man. Busy, too. “When people ask me if I see my five grandkids often, I tell them ‘Nah, only three or four times a week,’” he said. “They’re a little gang, from age three to eight, and it’s usually best if you don’t get in their way. I do the same things with them as I did with my two daughters, just slower.”

Blaine doesn’t have time to move in slow motion as President and CEO of LDI Color ToolBox, though. The company he founded is already knee-deep in its “2020” initiative, which was inaugurated at the end of last year. To him, LDI’s current strategy starts on a personal level: He challenged all employees to tell him both where they want to be in five years and their vision for getting there. “This is a wonderfully sustainable business, and we’re growing at a double-digit rate every year,” he said. “If that continues we’ll hit our target by 2018, 2019 the latest—and it will have been because of our team.”

Jerry Blaine
Jerry Blaine, President and CEO of LDI Color ToolBox

LDI is a classic example of how many successful technology dealers operate today. The company has six branch offices in four states and, through strategic partnerships, a national service program. Seven years ago, it acquired a dealer in California after Canon, which didn’t have the representation it desired in that market, approached LDI to help solve the problem. “LDI had several hundred machines already under contract in need of better service delivery than our current partners were providing,” Blaine said. “We realized we needed a team of high performers with industry experience and we looked at many dealers to find the right fit: a culture of client and employee retention and the strong desire to grow the business.” Both revenue and headcount have doubled in this location since the acquisition, and the company achieved the underpinnings of the country-wide network of dealers it sought.

Then, in 2013, LDI formed KÔTA with the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut, who wanted to expand and diversify beyond hospitality and gaming. This has allowed LDI to extend its coverage into southern New England (“Boston will soon be in our sight”), experience the benefits of having a minority business certification and recruit some of the industry’s top guns, headed by current KÔTA President Tod Pike. Pike, a natural choice to grow the business to its full potential as he’d led the efforts for Canon, Samsung and Xerox, returned to his roots with a familial business model consistent to both parents. “KÔTA” in Mohegan means “close association,” and because of LDI’s independent status, customer-centric approach and unparalleled expertise in integrating solutions, the new business venture establishes a gateway to meet even more potential customers.

Ongoing training and education, not to mention constant collaboration, have also had starring roles for LDI. Each member of the salesforce must achieve four internal certifications every year, with the syllabus and content designed by the head of the company’s Systems Engineering Group. A passing grade is 90 or higher—“And you must pass,” Blaine said. “Still, it’s not entirely on our salespeople. We provide them with plenty of pre- and post-sale support, through systems engineers and even specialists when applicable, like with production, visual communications, 3D, and workflow applications. The bottom line is that our employees are creative and work together to give engaging and impactful presentations to clients and then deliver on them.”

“This is a wonderfully sustainable business, and we’re growing at a double-digit rate every year. If that continues we’ll hit our [2020] target by 2018, 2019 the latest—and it will have been because of our team.” –Jerry Blaine

As Blaine explained, the company is always looking to supplement its product offerings and stays on top of what’s available on the market to determine which organizations would make excellent partners. Along with Canon, the company represents the best of the HP, Samsung, Sharp and Toshiba product portfolios. “The printer is becoming a lot less of a play in the solution in general—remanufacturers are taking away share,” he said. “But the hybrid approach can work, and we’ve been able to build new accounts by bundling Samsung A3 and A4 hardware into deals, for example.

“Tying in software is also very much on the rise,” Blaine continued, adding that the goal is for the application to bring out the best in the printer or MFP. “We’ve had the opportunity to get first looks at a number of products and exclusive, pre-launch windows for selling them.” This occurred with the legal software products originated by Ipro Tech, EFI’s Digital Storefront for web-based job submission, and Samsung School (interactive learning products for the education vertical), to name a few. “It’s exciting to implement learning management systems, with collaboration tools and interactive whiteboards, to help a school change and grow.” LDI was certified by Autostore, Copitrak, eCopy and Equitrac before they were acquired by Nuance, and has enabled them to become one of just a few Platinum partners of the software-for-business giant. “Hardware can only get you so far.”

Isn’t that what it’s all about, anyway? Change and growth? LDI has been in the 3D game for a number of years and is having conversations with organizations in the AEC, education and healthcare verticals, but more on a “prosumer” basis. According to Blaine, some of the company’s employees really immersed themselves in the technology in order to understand it and, he feels, the same can be said about managed IT—it’s enabled LDI to protect its turf and deepen the discussion with customers, to show that the company is examining what both today’s business looks like and tomorrow’s office will be. “We’re gaining ground with managed IT, with success in the financial, legal, and general corporate markets, and we’ve come a long way from learning from several firms to rolling out LDI Connect, our IT brand,” he said.

Visual communications is a third area in which the company has been evolving, thanks to its partnership with Sharp, Toshiba and Samsung (also sells Samsung tablets, PCs and Chromebooks). “Displays have been doing better,” Blaine said. “They’ve given us another avenue to leverage digital office technology and satisfy the demand for customized solutions,” Blaine said. “However, the returns in 3D and managed IT have been disappointing. We’re spending a lot of time on them and, to date, these spaces haven’t matured as quickly as we all would have hoped—the ROI just isn’t there yet.”

LDI-NYC_READY
At LDI’s state-of-the-art facility in Times Square, customers have the opportunity to simulate their own environment to understand how integrating the company’s partner technologies can help solve everyday problems.

Blaine’s experience in production print goes way back to relationships with Kodak and Heidelberg. He’s been part of the space’s copious peaks and valleys throughout the last four decades, to now, where LDI is the No. 1 reseller of Canon production equipment out of all U.S. independent dealers—and it’s doing so by focusing on corporate clients and in-plants rather than simply in print-for-pay settings. What’s more, at its office in Times Square, the company recently hosted an extremely successful event to launch Canon’s newest production print engines and EFI’s new Direct Smile relationship.

“Consistent, organic growth in one of the biggest—if not the biggest—growth segments, that’s the story on production,” Blaine said. “We’re always worried that the next advancement will propel the competition ahead of us, but we’ve enjoyed much success in production print.”

Surrounding robust hardware with productive workflow technology and color graphics solutions has been a mainstay of the operation since the inception of the Color ToolBox. “The whole concept comes out of the production arena,” said Brian Gertler, LDI’s Senior Vice President. “The ‘Color ToolBox’ isn’t about how many pages can be printed at the lowest cost—it’s a product, an integrated solution. It’s holistic. It addresses both the engine and everything we surround it with to leverage the finest color on the market for, among other, graphic designers and the ad industry.”

“Hardware can only get you so far. It’s exciting to implement learning management systems, with collaboration tools and interactive whiteboards, to help a school change and grow.” –Jerry Blaine

Aside from work, and his grandkids for that matter, Blaine spends time chairing the board of two organizations, including The Corporate Source. This not-for-profit agency assists people with intellectual and other disabilities in finding employment in both the public and private sector (cleaning government buildings inside and out, washing postal trucks, food services at the US Open). “My philosophy is that you can be extremely fulfilled when you have a great balance in life,” he said. “But you have to be involved.

“It’s this same sense of involvement that we promote to our employees, and by keeping them engaged, both they as individuals and us as a dealer will grow,” Blaine concluded.

LDI on Canon Genuine Media

Take a closer look at why LDI’s digital office products are potentially the most problem-free devices in the industry!

At LDI, we use top-grade digital technology powered by the products recommended by each of our manufacturers. We love Canon as a trusted brand based on their reliability, high quality, consistent color output, and excellent jam-free functionality. We’re also proud to receive Canon’s 2016 Advanced Partner Elite Status Recognition and we are currently their #1 Largest Dealer for Production Equipment in North America. Watch Canon’s great video featuring LDI Senior Vice President of Support Services, Mark Marturano at our Times Square Showroom and Conference Facility.

LDI Visits Samsung’s South Korea Headquarters

Paul Schwartz, COO and Partner at LDI Color ToolBox, joined Samsung Electronics America team members and Elite Solution Providers in visiting Samsung’s Headquarters in South Korea earlier this month! Here, dealers/ resellers were able to experience Samsung’s vision for smart, fast, reliable office and home tech products of the future.

Paul Schwartz Visits Samsung's Headquarters in South Korea

“It was great to see Samsung’s commitment to developing products for the B2B space, complementing their undeniable presence in the consumer and prosumer markets. We are happy to have been one of the earliest adopters and have very high expectations for the new products that we have integrated into our print and display product portfolios,” says Paul.

“Samsung makes great technology, but Samsung also knows our partners deliver great customer experiences with their solutions, products and services. We brought the best of the best to Korea to help us both improve those experiences and their ability to delight our clients,” says Matt Smith, Samsung’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing for its Printing Solutions Business.

Speakeasy: The View From the Other Side of the Desk — Q&A With Tod Pike by Patricia Ames

This article originally appeared in the February 2016 issue of The Imaging Channel. Tod Pike is a familiar and rather imposing figure in this industry, standing 6 feet, 6 inches tall without his cowboy boots. But he has a soft side — it’s his customers. The Imaging Channel had a chance recently to speak with this longtime OEM executive who has recently taken on a new challenge as a dealer — heading KÔTA, a unique joint venture between LDI Color ToolBox and the Mohegan Tribe. We couldn’t wait to find out more. Join me in the SpeakEasy.

ToddP

What is KÔTA, and what is your mission at the company?

KÔTA is a partnership between the Mohegan Tribe of Indians and LDI Color ToolBox. We established the company two years ago in Uncasville, Connecticut, to provide the types of hardware, software and services that LDI has been so successfully deploying over the years in New York, New Jersey, and the L.A. marketplace. With this new venture, we are able to now reach into and cover the state of Connecticut. Through the partnership with the Mohegan Tribe, we are also certified by the National Minority Supplier Development Council as a bona fide Minority Business Enterprise. While it’s very much a business that is modeled after the success case of LDI, it’s unique in its value proposition to add the minority vendor status.

I’m serving as president of that company, so my first role is as president of KÔTA. I’m also wearing the hat of chief sales officer of LDI. A little bit of a dual role with this, but with emphasis on building the KÔTA brand and the KÔTA company.

 

What’s one of the biggest differences you’ve encountered moving from your position as SVP at Samsung to president of KÔTA?

I think I’ve landed in a position where I can effect positive change quickly. It’s very rewarding. We make the decisions and move forward. The good news is that we can do that, and the caveat is that the decisions have to be the right ones.

 

Are you seeing any trends or unique opportunities?

Yes. I like what I am seeing. First, I like the product portfolio that we represent at KÔTA — we have Canon, Toshiba, Samsung and the HP portfolio, as well as the layer of software vendors that we work with. I really like the combinations of products, and the product portfolios themselves, and I think we have a competitive advantage in that we are able to match the needs of our customers with the types of products that we’re selling.

I also like the opportunities to build on the LDI record of success and the processes that they’ve put in place. KÔTA may be a startup, but the years of experience and success of LDI are all well established here at KÔTA. That allows us to tackle some major opportunities with the confidence that we can deliver all the promises that we’ve made.

Lastly, there is a unique opportunity in the fact that we are a certified Minority Business Enterprise, and customers are really reacting positively to that. This trend is only going to continue as companies increasingly look towards helping their communities, environments and charitable causes. Because of our status, we are able to get in front of decision makers.

When you add all those things up, it is indeed a unique opportunity. I really look forward to closing some of these bigger accounts we’re working on currently. I think the combination of what we sell, and where we’ve come from and what the future looks like as a minority vendor is very bright.

 

What are some of the most valuable things you’ve learned working in high-level executive capacities at various OEMs that you are now able to apply in your current position?

That’s a really good question. The focus on doing everything you possibly can to answer the customer’s needs, to satisfy them and to be involved in the customer experience is important. I feel so lucky to have been able to train and motivate workforces, which is really important. I’ve been very fortunate that I’ve had positions where I’ve been able to build a strategy and move organizations in a new direction. All of those things are a great preparation for doing the type of work that I am doing now.

What’s interesting is that I’ve been on the other side of the desk; I’ve had the ability to observe dealers and their dealings with other BTA dealers, and also their interactions with the manufacturers. I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t work. As a result, I look forward to having a very professional experience and positive relationships with the vendors and manufacturers that we deal with. I think I probably have quite a unique experience there, and hopefully that will work well for us at LDI and KÔTA.

 

What are you most excited about right now?

I’m really excited about being effective in the changes we’re making. I’m excited about the ability to hire new people and bring them into the business. I’m excited about meeting customers. I like the work. I like the people. I love this business, and I wake up every morning excited to go to work. We’re starting to see some great results, and I’m excited about what direction I can take it.

 

You’ve been in the industry for quite a while, and have been witnessing its trajectory. There is, by most accounts, a decline in physical printing in the office; a surge in solutions. Cloud is becoming more and more important as we go forward. Data is exploding out of every portal. How do you see the future of printing in the office?

I think you have to expand the view of what print is, and really look at how you’re helping your customers to manage information, how to access it, how to display it in multiple forms. There is an explosion of information, that’s the good news. There’s more content available; more content out there than there ever has been. There is no lack of information, and we’re in the business of displaying it, so we display it in lots of different ways: in the large format displays we sell, in computer monitors, and in hard-copy form. The decline in physical printing has been a discussion in the industry for years, and I think its decline is much slower than originally anticipated.

 

Do you see this slow downward slope as an opportunity for the dealers to pivot and adjust? I’ve been in industries that just crash, but this almost seems like dealers are getting a soft landing. Do you think that dealers do need to change their business model, or are they OK to just ride this long tail and it will be fine?

I think you see a number of dealers expanding their product portfolio. It’s a smart thing, to manage network services or to move to diagnostics. It is an area that we’re certainly moving into and interested in. Many dealers are. You’ve got cloud services and storage. There are lots of things that are adjacent to the traditional copier and printing business. I think it all revolves around helping the customers to manage information, and access it, and display it in the form factor that they require at the time. With that expanded definition, I think there is a reliable market out there to reach out and help customers. Just replacing old equipment every three or four years is probably not going to be the best way to maintain those customers who now do those things in a very different way.

 

It seems to me from this conversation that you have a very customer-centric approach. It appears to go to the core of what you believe in.
I do. I can’t imagine doing this business in any other fashion. I started out as a sales rep, showing copiers out of the trunk of my car, and I like to think that I could still do that job. I believe that’s where it starts, and that’s where we need to focus our time — on our customers and their needs. That’s part of what makes this particular engagement and relationship work — at the very core of our business philosophies, we arrive at the same place.

 

How would you describe your management style?

I would use the word involved. I am a customer advocate, and then an associate advocate. I am a positive person, and I know my people and my customers. I’ve always wanted to be present, be available, and be involved. I like to over-communicate. I would like to think that people would talk about me in a way that would emphasize the amount of information that they receive from me when they’re working with me, and the quality of the information. I believe communication is important. I want to make sure that everybody is on the same page.

I’m also strategic, and that certainly comes from the fact that I‘ve had many training opportunities, and have a good knowledge of the industry. I have had an opportunity to see what works, and to work with problems, and to be able to develop a strategy map on where the organization needs to go. Once you analyze the business and place the correct strategy and make sure that you communicate it well to the office, then you roll up your sleeves and get  involved in the business and helping to implement the promises that you make.

 

If someone just out of school told you they would like to enter the office technology field, what advice would you give them?
Pick an organization that has integrity. Pick an organization that has low turnover. Pick an organization that will provide an adequate opportunity to learn. This is not an easy business to get to know, and so try to get into a high-integrity learning environment with low turnover and you can learn a lot.

The other piece of advice that I would have is to become an expert. This applies not just to this industry, but to any industry. I think you need to have a real desire to learn everything that can possibly be learned about technology, environment, workflow and customer needs. Really dedicate yourself to becoming that expert, because if you do, you’ll be successful.

 

Is there anything you would’ve done differently in your career? Anything you would’ve changed?

No, I don’t have any regrets. I’m very happy to have done what I’ve done. If I would’ve done something differently, I would’ve missed the opportunity to have done the things that I have done and meet the people I have met.

Honestly, I was very fortunate, sequentially, in the way my career happened. I started at Xerox, which at the time was very interested in basic training, both for product and sales skills, and then management and senior management skills. With that as a foundation, I went to work for Canon, and they encouraged me to use those things that I had learned, and empowered me to do a number of different things. It was good timing, and with Canon it really led me to another level of understanding of the different types and the array of technologies that they brought. Hopefully, I can take all of that plus my experience leading the Samsung team and wrap it up into something that will continue to help here at KÔTA and LDI.

 

What word comes to mind when you think of LDI?
Expert. When I think of LDI, I think of the team who has really been the core of the LDI mission. I have the opportunity to meet with them, and work with them, and they are experts. More and more, customers are looking to do business with specialists. In the old days, it was all about good sales training, learning to talk about benefits and handle objections. It has now turned into ensuring that the employees are experts in what it is that they do, because that’s what customers are expecting. When I think of LDI, I think of the expertise that they bring.

 

Do you have anything else that you’d like to add on LDI, what you’re doing with this joint venture specifically?
We’ve got a view toward 2020. That’s what we’re focused on right now. The road to 2020 is going to be very interesting, because the evolution of technology is happening at a pace that is much faster than when I entered the industry. I think this is a critical time. It is a very exciting time. We are very enthusiastic about what we expect that we’re going to be able to achieve. We think that it will only happen with the selection and recruitment of the right people, focused on the right targets, in the right environment.

 

Is there a professional accomplishment that you’ve reached that you’re most proud of?

Certainly. That would be growth. If I look back on the things I’ve done and the teams that I’ve worked with, I’m most proud of the fact that in all of my situations, I’ve been able to be part of a growing organization. Revenue growth, customer growth, organizational growth. We’ve grown things, and as a sales and marketing guy, that’s really cool. Ultimately, you’ve got to grow. You’ve got to outrun the market competition.

I would also like to be able to look back at my career and be pleased with the reputation I’ve built. I hope that will be the case!

 

Patricia Ames is senior analyst with BPO Media.
Follow her on Twitter at @OTGPublisher or contact her by email at patricia@bpomedia.com.
This article originally appeared in the February 2016 issue of The Imaging Channel.

LDI at the Inside 3D Printing Conference & Expo

We were thrilled to be at the Inside 3D Printing Conference & Expo at the Javits Center on April 11-12! Our booth was a big hit featuring 3D printed samples in a variety of sizes and materials by 3DP and 3D Systems.

At LDI, we do all things 3D from prosumer to production print. Learn more about our 3D printing and capture options.

Variety Unveils New Computer Learning Lab

The Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens unveiled a state-of-the-art computer and technology lab Thursday in Long Island City. Funded by a $50,000 grant from Time Warner Cable, the lab has new computers, software programs, tablets, smart boards and more.

Variety Unveils New Computer Learning Lab

Executive Director Matthew Troy said all of the club’s students, nearly 200 a day, will at some point use the equipment.  “This really fits into my vision, just really upping the game for our program quality here,” Troy said. “We want our STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs to be amongst our most recognizable programs that we offer.”  In addition to boosting the quality of its afterschool programs, VBGCQ will be starting its own robotics team, thanks to the Time Warner Cable grant.

Troy thanked the community partners involved in putting together the lab, including TWC and several universities in the area. “This is their way of giving back to the community,” Troy said. “They’ve recognized Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens as an able partner in the community, a hub for kids from schools throughout the area.”

One of the community partners is LDI, a digital solutions and technology company. Brian Gertler, its senior vice president, was excited to bring new technologies to the club.  “The most significant thing Variety and Time Warner Cable has done is never lose sight of the children,” Gertler said. “It’s not only the minds, but the hearts we’re touching. We hope to see these kids grow with their amazing talents and possibilities.” Gertler gave a tour of the lab and explained some of the technology behind it. He said he insisted on bringing the arts to the center, which now has new cameras and software programs for students to create and edit photography. He hopes to grow the program and the opportunities for students at the club.

Kitty Prager, a board member of VBGCQ, said a 14-member committee put together the plan to build the center. She had strong praise for the community partners.  “Your tremendous generosity will help the wellbeing of not only the kids, but the Astoria community,” Prager said. She added that the lab will allow the kids to have the preparation they need, but don’t always have access to.

Lina Klebanov, a community investment manager at Time Warner Cable, said this is the 19th learning lab opened since 2011. Time Warner Cable’s goal is to open 40 labs by 2020. She said Time Warner Cable decided on this particular site because they already had an existing relationship with VBGCQ. After she came for a site visit, the conversation for building a lab began. “I saw the lab that they had, and I thought that their equipment was old,” Klebanov said. “And they serve so many kids they could benefit from a Time Warner Cable learning lab.”  She said the program’s main criterion is need. They look for diverse populations in dispersed locations that need the new technology to maximize the impact of the labs. The program also looks for physical spaces that can house the computer centers.

Because Time Warner Cable is a  cable company reliant on technology, Klebanov said investing in  the future of  the workforce is vital to the company.  “We want to invest in STEM education so our kids, who are our future, can come and work for Time Warner Cable and continue to make our programs and our company the amazing company that it is,” she said.

Other nonprofit organizations that also have a Time Warner Cable learning lab include Korean Community Services in Flushing and the Easter Seals in Manhattan, which serves seniors and veterans, according to Klebanov. She said the next lab opening will be with the Chinese-American Planning Council in Flushing.

“We pride ourselves through this program on donating to a very diverse group of organizations,” Klebanov said. “They’re all very different, but they have one common goal of serving people in need.”

 

by Benjamin Fang © queensledger.com 2015

LDI Announced As MaxxVault Masters Club Winner For 2016

MaxxVault LLC recognizes its top reseller partners for their success, productivity, delivery and growth.

Bohemia, NY— January 25th, 2016 — MaxxVault announced the Masters Club members for 2016. The MaxxVault Masters Club is awarded to MaxxVault reseller partners in recognition of elite dealer performance over the past year. The Masters Club is awarded to only MaxxVault resellers who demonstrated a successful relationship with MaxxVault and had an outstanding year, both in revenue growth and developing new market opportunities for the MaxxVault portfolio of products.

The Masters Club members for 2016 are (in no particular order):

Sharp Business Systems of North Carolina

Sharp Business Systems of the Midwest

LDI Color Toolbox

Documation

Connectis Group

“Working with the MaxxVault team has enabled Connectis to accelerate our sales and marketing effort with real tangible results in our market. Our MaxxVault clients have found real commercial value in their use of this leading document management solution. In fact, the Swiss Army knife nature and the capabilities built into the core of MaxxVault as well as the optional modules enables our customers to use the software with the  confidence that it accomplishes their key needs, but also enables them to grow into additional functions and modules at reasonable prices when they’re ready. The key drivers for both MaxxVault and Connectis have been customer focus and support; and we’re working towards capitalizing on last year’s foundation going forward.”

These 5 Platinum-level Resellers have become strong MaxxVault partners, creating a winning combination of hardware, software and expertise for customers nationwide in need of integrated business technology solutions. This recognition is a testament to their hard work and dedication in 2015. Documation and LDI are 4-time winners of this award, and Sharp Business Systems of North Carolina and Sharp Business Systems of the Midwest are 3-time winners of this award. Sharp Business Systems of North Carolina won the award for U.S. dealer of the Year for 2015 and Connectis Group won the award for Canadian dealer of the Year for 2015.

MaxxVault

MaxxVault LLC provides enterprise content management software solutions for the capture, distribution and control of corporate information. Benefits of MaxxVault Enterprise include: reduced costs, increased efficiency, higher customer satisfaction and maintaining regulatory compliance. MaxxVault is an open system; it is built using the latest technology which provides enhanced security, dependability and interoperability with existing systems. MaxxVault is quickly adopted by users and administrators. MaxxVault is as CIO Review “Most Promising Microsoft Solution Provider,” a Red Herring “Top 100 Global Award” winner, a CRN “Top 20 Cloud vendor” and BLI Five-Star solution. Simple just got easier. For more information about MaxxVault LLC, visit: www.MaxxVault.com.

LDI AT 16

The Cannata Report Celebrates Icon Jerry Blaine’s 40 Years in the Independent Dealer Business

Posted on October 28, 2015 by Frank G. Cannata in This Week

A Family Affair (from left to right): LDI Color ToolBox’s Director of Marketing Rebecca Blaine, CEO Jerry Blaine and Marilyn Blaine
A Family Affair (from left to right): LDI Color ToolBox’s Director of Marketing Rebecca Blaine, CEO Jerry Blaine and Marilyn Blaine

Quote: “I am a part of all that I have met.” Ulysses by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

LDI Color ToolBox celebrated its 16th Anniversary in New York City on October 8th in New York City, and this company’s story to date truly bears telling. Leslie Supply Company, Inc. (Leslie) sold to Danka in May 1996. It was operating at annual run rate of $70 million when it closed on an agreement with Dan Doyle Sr. [former Co-Founder and CEO of Danka Industries and current CEO of DEX Imaging]. It was without question one of the leading independent dealerships in the United States. They became a Canon dealer in 1975 the very first year Canon U.S.A., Inc. (Canon) began selling liquid plain paper copiers.

Founder/Owner Steve Schloss started Leslie in June 1965 after working at APECO for roughly four years. Prior to beginning his copier career Schloss served in the military and was a Lieutenant Junior Grade in the U.S. Navy. He was commissioned right after graduating from the highly regarded Tufts University (ranked number 27 in the U.S. News and World Report’s 2016 edition of “Best Colleges”), where CJ Cannata, SVP, Branding Strategy, The Cannata Report later graduated. In fact, during the application process, he turned to Schloss for help and Schloss, an active and highly regarded alumnus of and contributor to the university, immediately offered to write CJ a letter of recommendation. And CJ never forgot this.

“Tufts was a real reach for me. My own guidance high school guidance consoler literally said to me, ‘don’t even bother to apply,’” CJ said, “But for me it was Tufts or nothing and with the encouragement of my parents, teachers and friends like Steve, I was able to reach the most important goal of my life up to that point. The day I received my early acceptance letter was one of my life’s best and always will be. Attending that university played a substantial role in shaping my life. I met five of my closest friends in the world there 20 years ago, including our own Story and Features editor, Sharon Tosto Esker, who has played an essential role in evolving The Cannata Report for the future. Thank you Steve. I know that letter helped.”

I guess you can say Steve Schloss and the Cannatas have a lot of history.

In 1975 the average unit-selling price (for electrostatic copiers) was approximately $1,300. Dealers made money selling coated paper and providing service for machines that lacked reliability. Leslie at that time was a $2½ million dealership in Merrick (Long Island), New York. I was the Eastern Regional Sales Manager for Canon when we introduced the NP 70 and Leslie was one of the first copier dealers we added to our distribution. When you have the opportunity to watch a company grow their business over a 21–year period it is a pretty amazing thing to observe. Little did I know that after the dealership was sold in 1996 that Leslie would be back. I should have known better.

Schloss was from that generation that built dealerships out of their garages and basements. They started with one machine in the back of their automobiles. Some even used their garages as an office and warehouse. They bought their machines from other dealers at 10% over the dealers’ cost. That is how so many started all over the country. Through the years I came to know many dealers who had a similar story. They were either salesman or service techs working for a manufacturer selling direct and decided they were going to go out and do it for themselves. Others acquired branches from manufacturers like SCM and APECO who were going broke.

They are to me the people that built this business, and include industry legends Herb Chambers, John Crunk, Gordon Flesch, Jack Fleig, Haley Gibbs, Bob Kex, Lou Marino, Terry Newsom, Art Schaffer and so many others that are too numerous to mention. To me they exemplified the finest aspects of what being an American entrepreneur means. It is the only country in the world where a person has an opportunity to build something from nothing and truly fulfill his or her life’s ambition. Steve Schloss was a person who took advantage of that opportunity and, like the others, he built something that was very special.

Jerry Blaine [Currently CEO, LDI, ColorToolbox], joined Leslie in 1975 and became President in 1987. Shortly after the dealership’s sale, Blaine’s non-compete had run its course and he was not sure what he wanted to do. A couple of things occurred that gave him to impetus to get back into the business. The people who worked with Blaine at Leslie implored him to help them find a new home as Danka was failing. Also at this time, digital and color were aptly becoming extremely important to the business. Blaine concluded they he had the right core of people interested to start a new business. But, if Blaine was going to start all over again, he was truly going to do something unique.

His new company would not be built on the traditional dealer model. It therefore became necessary to focus on finding the right people to sell digital that had a large account experience. At that point Canon did not have a strong program for national accounts. Blaine believed he could put together a collection of dealers to service national accounts. All the elements were in place to build a new and different kind of dealership. Leslie Digital Imaging–later rebranded LDI Color ToolBox–was born with Jerry Blaine serving as President and CEO. He started with 21 employees who had previously worked with him at Leslie, all of whom had either left Danka or were working elsewhere. In addition to those 21 Leslie alumni, he hired others that have fit well within the new LDI culture and skill sets across the network environment.

In 2000 they hit the ground running and took the business to a whole new level. The first 1,000 machines were all Xerox replacements and that took all of 15 months. The company reached $20 million in annual revenue in only its second year. By the third year they reached $30 million. By year 15, they had built the business to $65 million. Blaine and his team accomplished this astonishing accomplishment by focusing on the large account space and leveraging their color graphics heritage.

But, Blaine is not done innovating yet. LDI entered into discussion with the Mohegan Indian tribe to establish a separate business in 2013. After two years of negotiation and due diligence by the Mohegan Tribe LDI and the Tribe formed KOTA. The focus of this new business was not only to build a significantly profitable entity, but to create jobs. Tod Pike [former SVP, Enterprise Business Division, Samsung Electronics America, Inc.] was hired in June 2015 to head it up. This venture has all the potential of even outperforming LDI and their rather dramatic rise to where they are today.

The concept behind the KOTA creation is rather simple. With the Mohegan tribe holding a majority interest they can fill a void in the market place. As a minority-owned entity it meets the critically important need to those in the Enterprise space who have a mandate to give preference to vendors/suppliers in the minority owned category. American Indians fit that description perfectly. No one who has ever opened an RFP (Request for Proposal) has missed that point.

LDI remains at the cutting edge, with investments in 3D printing, managed services and beyond. They were the first to market an integrated managed print and network services that continues to offer unprecedented opportunity as the service provider to the larger companies.

To appreciate fully what Blaine and his team have truly accomplished I reached out to two highly-regarded senior industry executives that have worked with him for many years. I asked them to give us their opinion about Jerry Blaine and LDI.

“I have known Jerry Blaine both professionally and personally for over 20 years…we’ve spent many hours on mutual business and share many of the same activities. Jerry is a unique individual and real All-American success story. Perhaps Jerry’s best quality is that he truly realizes his rags-to-riches success and appreciates it and knows that it would never have occurred without a loyal team surrounding him. Jerry continues to grow and mature as a person perhaps as a result of the wonderful family he and his wife have created, he truly is someone who gets better with age. Jerry is a reliable and stable friend…good competitor and a balanced person who is one of life’s winners,” said Mason Olds, SVP, Business Imaging Solutions Group, Canon USA, Inc.

“Its amazing to see that LDI celebrated its 16th anniversary. Jerry and the LDI leadership have been nothing but humble over the years as partners to EFI. He talked about the people and relationships that help them over the years, when in fact it was them that helped us and helped our industry. I can recall when Jerry and his leadership team began to build the color business on behalf of Canon in New York. They were all instrumental in shaping the business to what it is today. I am honored to know Jerry Blaine over the years. Not only is Jerry a great partner and mentor, he’s a great friend to me and for the business I run today at EFI. The company culture that the LDI’s leadership employs today is why it is no surprise why they have over 6,000 customers. Congratulations to a group of incredible people that have made such a difference in our industry. Happy Anniversary,” added Frank Mallozzi, SVP, Worldwide Sales and Marketing, EFI.

Our own CJ Cannata offered to comment on Blaine as well. “Jerry Blaine has to be among the most unassuming leaders in the industry, and is truly brilliant. While I admire so many leaders in the industry that I have met to date, Jerry is among those who truly could have chosen any path in life and succeeded. He’s among my circle of most sincere and valued trusted advisors, and his time and suggestions have made a substantial impact on our business,” CJ said. “Jerry is ultimately responsible for rebranding The Cannata Report’s Annual Awards as ‘the Franks,’ a savvy and bold business move, but something we never would have done with out someone like Jerry’s encouragement and support, aside from the inherent validation his endorsement provides. He is also the inspiration behind The Cannata Report’s evolution to a more photographic storytelling approach and our newly-popular ‘INK’ column. When I need advice about my career and our business, Jerry is among the first I call. When Jerry then gives me advice, I not only listen–I act. I admire not only his business savvy, but his modesty and polish.”

LDI today is a company with its feet planted firmly in the 21st Century that provides their customers with the leading edge technology of today. It would be unfair to say that they are the only ones for that would not be true. What I can say is that they are one of the select few that were the earliest adapters to the digital environment. I hold them in the highest regard for what they have built through their own initiatives, efforts and desires to achieve.

For me observing dealers and how they approach the market, coexist with their manufacturers and provide employment with highly competitive compensation levels is something to behold. Through the worst of the recent economic downturn dealers, for the most part, they did not reduce their manpower levels. They understood letting people go to maintain profitability would be a mistake. Despite the poor economy companies such as LDI actually grew during that troubled period between 2007–2013.

Joining in the celebration of LDI’s anniversary brought all this together for me. I offer my congratulations to Steve Schloss who built the original and agreed that Jerry Blaine was the right man to resurrect it and to a very talented and loyal Paul Schwartz, LDI’s President, who has been that indispensable partner that helps turn dreams into realities.

I will add that Jerry Blaine remains a dear friend. We share common values in that success provides us all with an opportunity to help others. At the celebration a video was shown with excerpts from key staff members and one told of having a disadvantaged child whom Jerry found a place for at LDI. By that I mean gainful employment. In Blaine’s Jewish faith there is a word that actually conveys a sentiment, Mitzvah. It means to do something good for someone else. The highest Mitzvah is when you give something to someone that you do not know and the person receiving it does not know where it came from. I firmly believe that Jerry Blaine has performed many kind acts that very few know anything about. His good deeds sets an example that we should all at least attempt to emulate.

KOTA at the Connecticut Association of School Boards Educational (CASBO) Event

KÔTA Account Reps, Bob Chester and Ed Koziel were on hand at the Connecticut Association of School Boards Educational (CASBO) Event

on April 23rd at Aquaturf in Plantsville, CT, to present digital document solutions for education from top manufacturers, Canon, Sharp, Toshiba, Samsung, Nuance and 3D Systems.

LDI Mohegan LLC Names New President To Oversee Operations

Uncasville, CT  April 28, 2015The Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut and Leslie Digital Imaging (LDI) are proud to announce the appointment of Tod Pike to the position of President of KÔTA, A Mohegan LDI Enterprise and Chief Sales Officer of LDI Color ToolBox. Mr. Pike comes to KÔTA and LDI after recently serving as Senior Vice President of Samsung Electronics America.  In addition, his industry experience includes over 19 Years in various senior management roles at Canon Business Solutions and Canon USA.

“I’m thrilled to join KÔTA and look forward to this next exciting chapter in my career,” said Mr. Pike.  “I have been a big fan and supporter of the independently owned office imaging dealer for years, and welcome the opportunity to develop more direct relationships with businesses of all types and sizes in the Southern New England region.  I believe that KÔTA and the major manufacturer partners it represents are uniquely positioned to help customers effectively and efficiently manage information in their enterprises with an unmatched level of service and support.”

“KÔTA represents the long envisioned opportunity for LDI and the Mohegan Tribe to deliver its unique value proposition in digital office technology directly to the Southern New England marketplace, and there is no one more suited to this position than Tod Pike. I’ve known Tod for over 20 years and have admired his ability to build teams, grow businesses and take great care of customers”, said Jerry Blaine, CEO and President of LDI.  “I’m very much looking forward to working with him in his new role.”

Kevin Brown “Red Eagle,” Chairman of the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut, commented, “The hiring of Tod Pike demonstrates our commitment to KÔTA and our desire to be the best in the industry. His extensive experience and recognition in the marketplace allows the Mohegan LDI partnership to further develop the KOTA brand. We are extremely pleased to have Tod joining us in the Tribe’s evolving and dynamic business diversification.”

kota

About KÔTA, A Mohegan LDI Enterprise

KÔTA, a Mohegan LDI Enterprise, recently formed by The Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut and LDI Color ToolBox, two powerhouse companies on the Northeast corridor, has been recognized by the Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council as a bona fide Minority Business Enterprise, serving the Southern New England region with a product portfolio of emerging digital technologies for copy, scan, send, managed print, production print, document workflow and visual communications.  KÔTA is a Mohegan term meaning “close association”, a best practice representing both parent companies’ commitments to people, customer service and a cornerstone of the new business.  For more information, please visit www.kotasolutions.com.

 

 

LDI

About LDI Color Toolbox

LDI Color ToolBox is one of the largest and most highly regarded providers of digital copy, scan, send, print, color graphics solutions and document management technology in the country. With over 240 employees, LDI attributes its success to its independent dealer status, the ability to evolve with changing technology, the ability to integrate best-of-breed technology to an extremely loyal customer base and the carefully selected industry manufacturers that it partners with.  Over the last five years, LDI has acquired, grown and/or expanded its direct sales and service operations in New York, New Jersey, Southern California, and has continued to grow its national presence.  For more information about LDI’s digital product portfolio, service and support, please visit the company’s web site at www.myLDI.com.

 

mohegan

 

About The Mohegan Tribe

The Mohegan Tribe is a sovereign, federally-recognized Indian Nation in Uncasville, Connecticut, with its own constitution and government.  Since the opening of the world-class casino resort Mohegan Sun in 1996, the Mohegan Tribe has grown to be a successful, well established Connecticut-based employer, and has created a major economic engine for the state of Connecticut.  It has now launched a business diversification arm to expand its business portfolio and evolve with a constantly changing economic landscape.  For more information about the Mohegan Tribe, its government, heritage and contribution to American history, please visit our website at http://www.mohegan.nsn.us.    

 

Canon Smart Multifunction Named as a Leader in IDC MarketScape

Report recognizes Canon’s strategy for growth and commitment to research and design in managed print and document services

MELVILLE, N.Y. – April 20, 2015 – Canon, U.S.A. Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, for another year ,has been positioned as a leader in the IDC MarketScape: U.S. Smart Multifunction Peripheral 2014-2015 Vendor Assessment, doc #254761, March 20151 report, for being innovative and excelling in the pace and productivity of its research and development efforts with respect to managed print and document services. The report cites Canon’s achievement in demonstrating strengths in all of IDC’s key requirements to help ensure MFP market success, including a broad product portfolio, leading MFP market share, support for a wide range of customer targets, pricing models that fit customer requirements and a solutions/services model to help drive value-added differentiation.

“The evolution of today’s market requires MFPs to no longer be simply copy/print-focused devices, but high-performance business information systems,” said Keith Kmetz, vice president, Hardcopy Peripherals Solutions and Services, IDC. “As in the past, Canon’s strategy for growth, including investments in software platforms, software applications and services delivery, has helped ensure that its MFPs provide for the market’s requirements.”

“Canon takes great pride in our deep understanding of customer requirements and long-standing reputation for technology leadership,” said Junichi Yoshitake, senior vice president and general manager, Marketing, Business Imaging Solutions Group, Canon U.S.A. “We are honored to be recognized as a leader and look forward to continuing the Company’s commitment to research, design and innovation.”

For more information about Canon technology, visit www.kotasolutions.com

About Canon U.S.A., Inc.

Canon U.S.A., Inc., is a leading provider of consumer, business-to-business, and industrial digital imaging solutions to the United States and to Latin America and the Caribbean (excluding Mexico) markets. With approximately $31 billion in global revenue, its parent company, Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ), ranks third overall in U.S. patents granted in 2014† and is one of Fortune Magazine’s World’s Most Admired Companies in 2015. In 2014, Canon U.S.A. has received the PCMag.com Readers’ Choice Award for Service and Reliability in the digital camera and printer categories for the 11th consecutive year. Canon U.S.A. is committed to the highest level of customer satisfaction and loyalty, providing 100 percent U.S.-based consumer service and support for all of the products it distributes. Canon U.S.A. is dedicated to its Kyosei philosophy of social and environmental responsibility. In 2014, the Canon Americas Headquarters secured LEED® Gold certification, a recognition for the design, construction, operations and maintenance of high-performance green buildings.

About IDC MarketScape

IDC MarketScape vendor analysis model is designed to provide an overview of the competitive fitness of ICT (information and communications technology) suppliers in a given market. The research methodology utilizes a rigorous scoring methodology based on both qualitative and quantitative criteria that results in a single graphical illustration of each vendor’s position within a given market. IDC MarketScape provides a clear framework in which the product and service offerings, capabilities and strategies, and current and future market success factors of IT and telecommunications vendors can be meaningfully compared. The framework also provides technology buyers with a 360-degree assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of current and prospective vendors.

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† Based on weekly patent counts issued by United States Patent and Trademark Office.

All referenced product names, and other marks, are trademarks of their respective owners.

1 IDC MarketScape: U.S. Smart Multifunction Peripheral 2014-2015 Vendor Assessment, doc #254761, March 2015

Toshiba Spotlights Suite of Products at HIMSS 2015

Company’s Content Management Products Target Key Healthcare-Specific Applications
On April 13-15, Toshiba America Business Solutions, Inc. will display its array of document and content technology during the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Annual Conference and Exhibition 2015 (HIMSS15) at Chicago’s McCormick Place, booth 6439.

Toshiba will demonstrate how its latest suite of content management products may enhance the healthcare experience for patients and providers, alike. From facilitating check-in and registration, to providing wayfinding directional guidance via interactive touch displays, to educating and engaging patients and visitors in waiting rooms, Toshiba’s ElluminaTM digital signage solutions can help healthcare organizations connect with people in a meaningful way.

During the largest IT healthcare event of the year, Toshiba representatives will further exhibit how the company’s line of thermal barcode printers seamlessly fulfill such key functions as printing prescription labels, specimen samples, asset labels and patient wristbands. Toshiba’s award-winning e-STUDIOTM5055c multifunction product will also be on display to show how the Cerner® certified printing product better enables physicians, nurses and other authorized users to share data and streamline processes across an entire healthcare enterprise.

“At Toshiba, our commitment to quality and affordable healthcare is a vital element of our company’s heritage. Developing technology to heal and improve peoples’ lives is something we take very seriously,” said Toshiba America Business Solutions Chief Marketing Executive, Bill Melo. “By attending the foremost event in IT healthcare, we are looking forward to sharing how our suite of products touch and facilitate many of the steps throughout the patient care process.”

About Toshiba America Business Solutions, Inc.

Irvine, Calif.-based Toshiba America Business Solutions, Inc., is an independent operating company of Toshiba Corporation, a Fortune Global 500 company and the world’s eighth-largest integrated electronics manufacturer. TABS provides printing, scanning and copying solutions, managed document services and digital signage for businesses of all sizes. The company’s award-winning e-STUDIOTM copiers and printers provide quality performance with the security businesses require. Complementing its hardware offering is a full suite of document workflow, capture and security services including EncompassTM, the company’s industry-acclaimed Managed Print Services program. Encompass enables clients to print less and optimize workflow while improving energy efficiency.  ElluminaTM digital signage offering includes all of the hardware, software and services needed to implement both static and interactive digital signage installations. TABS provides content creation and management, displays, integration, installation and project management services as well as financing for solutions ranging for a single screen to the biggest arenas and stadiums.

KOTA was present to sponsor and support this year’s 40th Anniversary Awards Gala of the Greater New England MSDC

This annual gathering inspires both MBEs and corporate members to continue to promote the GNEMSDC mission of economic inclusion. 

GNEMSDCEach year the GNEMSDC recognizes those certified MBEs who have distinguished themselves and their businesses by successfully demonstrating growth in sales and employment while overcoming significant obstacles,  consistently providing high quality products and services at competitive prices and offering innovative approaches and cost saving ideas, continuously growing MBE to MBE purchases, and significantly contributing to the growth and development of society and their community.

ABOUT GNEMSDC

The GNEMSDC is a non-profit affiliate of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC). Our membership consists of local and national Fortune 500 corporations, government agencies, universities, financial institutions, associations and organizations. Since 1975, GNEMSDC has provided services to these members and to our certified minority business enterprises (MBEs). The Council is governed by a Board of Directors and funded by corporate membership dues, certification fees, contributions, in-kind services and grants. The GNEMSDC serves the six New England States: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

 

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