Timeline of BluEdge
125 Years of History at BluEdge
George W. Earle & Edwin Bernstein
In 1898, a family-owned reprographics shop was established in New York City under the name National Blueprint Inc. Its founder, George W. Earle, possessed remarkable foresight and purchased a struggling blueprinting operation. He recognized that with the rapid expansion of the city, there would be a surge in demand for innovative blueprints for buildings. Edwin J. Bernstein was employed to assist with administrative tasks and maintain the books. He played a pivotal role in laying the foundation for a four-generation family enterprise.
Within a few years, National Blueprint outgrew its small 17th Street loft space, prompting a move uptown to West 32nd Street. The new location opened doors to collaborations with leading architects and engineers.
Edwin Bernstein was ready to take the leap. Having risen through the ranks from bookkeeper to executive manager, he bought George Earle's interest in the company.
He believed in hiring people with the "right stuff," teaching them everything about the business, and training them from the ground up.
Edwin Bernstein formed the International Association of BLUEPRINT and ALLIED INDUSTRIES.
Advancements in reprographic techniques and the need for quality control created a dual requirement for knowledge dissemination and standardization of procedures and practices. Communication among trade members was deemed essential in achieving these goals, and the International Association of Blueprint and Allied Industries served as a primary platform for this purpose.
In 1932, Edwin's son, Robert Bernstein, joined National Blue Print at the age of 20. He received extensive training in various areas, including blueprinting, bookkeeping, and business development.
Robert would later assume the position of President of the company in 1962.
1929 - 1945
The Great Depression
The Great Depression hit New York's business community hard, and National Blue Print was no exception. Despite the setback, everyone was considered family, and instead of laying off employees, the company implemented a four-day workweek and job rotations to ensure everyone stayed employed.
The staff of National Blue Print repaid that loyalty. Once they had made the company their home, employees - many of whom started as teenagers in their first job - settled in for a lifetime. Some veterans even dedicated up to 50 years to the company.
In the early years of the war, the military approached National Blue Print, and guards arrived at the office on 32nd street carrying large cases filled with classified drawings. Soon, the war effort took precedence, and the company's production for architects was put on hold. Certain areas of the facilities were sealed off, and guarded doors were implemented to accommodate top-secret projects.
It was only years later that National Blue Print discovered that among the drawings entrusted to the company were the plans for the Manhattan Project.
National Blue Print had significant government business during the war years. Another major contribution was made for a Navy project through its relations with Kahn & Jacobs (HOK), the project contractor.
National Blue Print's Greatest Reward:
Out of its wartime contributions, the proudest moment for National Blue Print was being assigned to create the official photostats of the United States' Declaration of War, the Act of Surrender imposed on Germany, which ended the war in Europe, and the Instrument of Surrender imposed on Japan, which ended the Pacific War.
Fifty years after the founding of National Blue Print, Robert Bernstein joined forces with colleagues in the blueprinting business to establish the Regional Blue Print Association (later changed to the International Reprographic Association (IRgA), and now known as the Association of Printing and Data Solutions Professionals).
For the remainder of his career, he dedicated himself to the growth and development of both the International Association of Blue Print and the Regional Blue Print Association, making them his personal mission.
At National Blue Print, the year 1962 held significant importance for several reasons. Edwin Bernstein, at the age of 80, had passed away, and Robert succeeded him as President.
One of Robert Bernstein's initial executive decisions was to hire his son-in-law, Sol Magid. Sol approached National Blue Print with the perspective of an Industrial Engineer and trained computer programmer - a vision that would revolutionize the company beyond imagination.
Similar to Robert, Sol underwent a comprehensive training program overseen by experienced National Blue Print employees who treated everyone equally. Sol gained proficiency in various roles such as Printer, Trimmer, Checker, Wrapper, and even Shipping and Receiving Clerk.
With the increasing demand came the need for more space. After 60 years in business, National Blue Print embarked on their first expansion. The move was meticulously organized, resembling a military operation, in order to minimize downtime and accommodate the large equipment. The company secured the sixth floor of 110 West 32nd St, located in the prime area of Herald Square.
One particular piece of equipment, the Robertson 42-inch copy camera, posed a unique challenge. It measured 35 feet in length and weighed several tons, making it impossible to transport through the building's interior passages. To solve this issue, a giant crane was utilized to lift the apparatus to the sixth floor and carefully maneuver it through a window that was just large enough for its entry. This operation caused traffic congestion in Herald Square, amusing some but frustrating drivers and police officers. Nonetheless, the objective was to complete the move as swiftly and efficiently as possible, a feat they accomplished in approximately three weeks.
Mike Heller joined the company as an assistant to the president in 1971 and showcased his dedication and skill throughout his time with the company. In recognition of his outstanding work, he was promoted to the position of Vice President of Production in September 1984. Mike proved to be a valuable asset to the organization. He played a pivotal role in implementing and maintaining quality control measures, contributing significantly to the company's commitment to excellence. Moreover, Mike's expertise was instrumental in rolling out the Philip Crosby system, a renowned quality improvement approach. Under his guidance, the quality improvement process witnessed significant enhancements. Mike's exceptional contributions extended beyond the confines of the organization, as he played a crucial part in the first expansion of BluEdge beyond its initial base in New York City. Heller retired in 2011, but his legacy lives on at BluEdge.
In 1972, Madeline Bernstein assumed the role of President, following the passing of her husband, Robert Bernstein. This marked the beginning of National Blue Print's history as a women-led business. Madeline faced the dual responsibilities of preserving the company and safeguarding the interests of its heirs. Despite primarily having fulfilled domestic roles as a wife, mother of two, and grandmother of four, Madeline gracefully and skillfully increased her involvement in the corporate realm.
Under her leadership, National Blue Print flourished, expanding to employ 230 individuals in New York alone. Even at the age of 89, Madeline consistently visited the office, warmly greeting everyone with her presence.
What set Madeline apart was her distinctive and special personality - she was cherished by all, a genuine people person. She genuinely cared about everyone and took an interest in their lives. Her remarkable ability to bring people together and make them feel like they were part of the National Blue Print family was truly exceptional.
“She was the most amazing person. The reason I am still here.” - Lori DeHart, Vice President of Human Resources.
The movement toward dynamic, younger management achieved its most significant milestone in 1974 with the appointment of Sol Magid as National Blue Print's fourth President. At the age of 36, Sol was wholeheartedly dedicated to upholding the principles of quality and service, just like his predecessors Madeline, Robert, and Edwin Bernstein.
Sol spearheaded the reorganization and enhancement of National Blue Print's sales operation, focusing on the concept of a collaborative team effort. He played a crucial role in modernizing not only the sales methodology but also the overall character and image of the company.
In 1978, Sol expanded the company's service offerings to include photo enlargement for various purposes such as murals, theater backdrops, displays, and posters, in addition to mounting services.
This expansion became possible through the acquisition of Merit Studios, one of New York's renowned experts in photo murals. This acquisition resulted in an immediate 50 percent growth in business and greatly enhanced the company's reputation and identity.
National Blue Print's identity experienced further expansion in April 1979 when the board of directors officially adopted "National Reprographics Inc." as the new corporate name. This change was a reflection of the company's increasing variety of services and its capacity to cater to a wider market.
Another significant milestone in 1979 was National Reprographics receiving certification from the State of New York as a Women Business Enterprise (WBE). This achievement was crucial and allowed the company to proudly celebrate as a step toward promoting and recognizing women's roles as entrepreneurs.
Nan Magid is an indispensable part of National Reprographics' history, having joined the company in the early 1970s. As the Advertising and Promotion Manager, she played a pivotal role in the company's marketing and advertising endeavors, which, during that time, primarily involved hardcopy materials such as brochures and print work.
Nan is a graduate of New York University and is highly respected for her warm and encouraging nature, fostering a positive and supportive atmosphere. In acknowledgment of her valuable contributions, she was appointed to the Board of Directors and later assumed the position of Director of Marketing in the 1980s.
Nan's dedication to the company's success is evident through her involvement in organizing the 25th Anniversary Club Dinner, a special event that recognizes employees who have completed 25 years of service and celebrates the contributions of all veterans who have served for 25 years or more.
CAD entered National's vocabulary when CADGRAPHICS Inc. was established as a joint venture between National Reprographics and longtime client Gibbs & Hill, Inc., a move that Sol spearheaded.
This venture marked the introduction of the first resource of its kind in New York City and represented one of the most significant expansionary steps the company has ever taken.
Upon the commemoration of National Reprographics' 90th Anniversary, the company celebrated its remarkable expansion, growing at an astonishing rate of 30 times its humble beginnings. It proudly employed a workforce of 300 dedicated employees, alongside an additional 110 individuals who played essential roles as messengers and truckers. Despite this significant growth, National Reprographics remained steadfast in its commitment to expansion, showcasing its enduring success and continuous growth potential.
In 1990, Ellen Feuer joined National Reprographics and initially played a key role in managing administrative and accounting-related responsibilities. At that time, National Reprographics was located on W 32nd Street and later relocated to W 18th Street. Ellen initially held the position of "Director of Special Projects." However, as time went on, she became more involved in executive operations, eventually being promoted to Director of Administration. In 2006, she assumed the role of CEO, a position she holds to this day as BluEdge's chairperson and CEO.
Ellen made significant contributions to the growth and development of National Reprographics. She worked diligently to separate family matters from business affairs, overseeing the president and granting them the freedom to make decisions for the company.
Over time, Ellen had to collaborate with the visions of the next generations and maintain confidence in the company's innovation and expansion. She recognized the value of listening and played a role in obtaining WBE certification in various states. Under Ellen's leadership, National Reprographics thrived and continued to grow.
Lori Hason began her career at National Reprographics in 1990 as the CAD and Digital Manager. Throughout her tenure at the company, she transitioned to the Sales Department, eventually assuming the role of Director of Marketing and later becoming a Board Member.
Prior to joining National Reprographics, Lori worked as a Controller for a fashion company. Seeking new challenges and entrepreneurial opportunities, she decided to join National Reprographics. Her background in sales and production enabled her to make valuable contributions to the business.
Lori's contributions to the company have been significant. She led the rebranding efforts, resulting in the transformation of National Reprographics to NRI and a complete overhaul of the company's identity. Her extensive industry knowledge and expertise led to her appointment to the board in 2023.
Throughout the years, Lori has expressed her pride in the company's adaptability and evolution. She has witnessed the growth of the company through four generations of family involvement and eagerly anticipates the innovative advancements that lie ahead.
Alan Sussman was a highly detailed-oriented and dedicated employee who consistently performed well in his role. Known for his meticulousness, he had a reputation for double-checking and triple-checking everything, ensuring accuracy and minimizing errors. He made significant contributions to the company, including establishing the master and exception forms and implementing new operating systems and software. Alan successfully completed a billing system and played an instrumental role in implementing ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and facilitating the migration to NAV. Notably, Sol Magid personally selected Alan after interviewing numerous candidates for the CFO position, recognizing his potential to help the company succeed. Alan began his journey with the company in 1991 as the VP of Finance & CFO and spearheaded the first budgeting process. After a successful career, Alan retired in 2018, leaving behind a legacy of precision and dedication.
Always prioritizing our clients, we were among the original participants of Canstruction. Canstruction is an international nonprofit organization that collects canned food for local food banks through a charity competition. Architects, engineers, and contractors compete to design and build giant structures made entirely of canned foods. At the conclusion of the competition, all of the canned goods are donated to local food banks. National Reprographics has proudly participated in Canstruction every year for over 30 years and continues to do so. BluEdge holds the distinction of being the ONLY company in the world to have participated every year since the inception of the event.
1994 - 1998
Rise of the Digital Age
National Reprographics launched its private bulletin board system, "Open Express," which allowed customers to place orders electronically for the first time.
The paperless archive was introduced with NRI's Electronic Document Management Services. Computer-aided design, digital imaging, and the web became significant components of the business.
In 1994, Doug Magid officially joined the team in a working capacity. Prior to that, he had gained experience in the family business during his youth and later pursued his MBA at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. After completing his degree, Doug initially decided against returning to the family business. Instead, he chose to explore opportunities in management consulting, seeking to gain insights into various company operations. Through this experience, Doug discovered more about himself and his true aspirations: to lead and expand an entrepreneurial business. This realization marked a pivotal moment for Doug, prompting him to make the conscious decision to take on a role at National Reprographics.
Throughout his time here, Doug quickly advanced in his role, serving first as an Account Executive, Director of Special Projects, then as Vice President of Administration, and in 2008, he became President of the company. While working with Sol, Doug was educated on the ways to be an optimal leader for BluEdge. When Doug was ready to lead, Sol started working at a reduced capacity and eventually retired. Sol's mentorship helped Doug develop the leadership skills and business expertise needed to successfully run the company.
Doug stepped up to take the company in new directions. He is most proud of incorporating new services for the company, such as the 3D, Creative Graphics, and now, Experiential Graphics Units. Strategic acquisitions during Doug's leadership have helped bring the company to new heights. Even during tough times, the business has been resilient, especially throughout the pandemic. Moving forward, Doug remains excited for further innovation and growth.
As of today, Doug has been running the company for fifteen years, and he has grown tremendously both professionally and personally.
When asked what message he had for our clients:
“If there is any way in which we can improve as a business, please let us know. It’s no accident that we have been in business for 125 years – we’ve always maintained the mindset that there are always ways to improve and better serve our clients’ needs.”
- Doug Magid, President
NRI fostered a company culture that prioritized treating its employees with the highest degree of respect, valuing them as integral members of the organization's family. This positive and welcoming atmosphere generated a deep sense of loyalty and dedication among the staff, resulting in a significant number of employees spending their entire careers at NRI. Some of them started working at a young age and retired from the organization.
In recognition of the exceptional contributions made by employees who dedicated 15 years or more, Lori Hason, former Director of Marketing and now a board member, was among the pioneering members of the exclusive Marathon Club. This distinguished membership hosts an annual celebratory dinner to honor long-term employees, serving as a testament to NRI's commitment to recognizing and valuing the outstanding efforts of its employees.
Lori DeHart joined National Reprographics in 1999 and is currently serving as the Vice President of Human Resources. Throughout her career at the company, she has held various positions, including Office Administrator, Office Manager, HR Supervisor, and HR Manager. With over 37 years of experience in HR and office management, she has spent more than 20 years in the printing industry.
Lori was attracted to BluEdge by the opportunity for career growth and has grown to appreciate the family-like atmosphere within the company. Her current responsibilities encompass HR and facilities management.
One of Lori's notable achievements is earning the designation of Professional in Human Resources (PHR).
In the early 2000s, Daniel Gabrich, Frank Plum, and Ira Packer played a key role in spearheading a strategic shift for NRI. This shift transformed the company from a solely reprographics-focused company to a forward-thinking and diversified service provider. Together, their efforts resulted in the expansion into new service areas, the establishment of several new locations, and strategic acquisitions throughout the Northeast. Under their leadership, NRI achieved numerous notable milestones, including the formation of the MPS division, the establishment of the Systems Group, the acquisition of significant accounts, and the expansion into new locations in New Jersey, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, and D.C.
Daniel Gabrich joined the company in 2003 as the Director of Facilities Management, later assuming the role of Vice President of Operations. Daniel played a crucial role in the formation of the MPS division alongside Frank and Ira, establishing a skilled printing team and fostering a supportive work environment. He implemented process improvements and introduced technology upgrades that significantly enhanced efficiency, quality, and customer satisfaction. Some of Daniel's notable achievements include successfully integrating several acquisitions, launching a new online ordering platform, and developing a national account program that has attracted major clients from diverse industries.
Frank Plum joined us on the same day as Daniel in 2003 and has been instrumental in the company's success. He climbed the ranks, starting as the Vice President of Marketing. As he ventured into the Color Graphics field, he assumed responsibility for the division, becoming the Vice President of Color Graphics. Eventually, he was promoted to Vice President of Sales, overseeing the sales department for the entire company.
Alongside Daniel and Ira, Frank identified opportunities to acquire companies, revitalize them, and seamlessly integrate them into the organization during the early 2000s. Frank cultivated valuable, long-term client partnerships, drove BluEdge's expansion, and led successful sales teams for many years. Recently, he has been working closely with the Regional Sales Directors to develop new business and accomplish measurable objectives for their respective teams.
During Ira's career at BluEdge, he joined as the VP of Sales, drawn to the company's culture of class, professionalism, and integrity. He was inspired by Sol Magid's leadership and the enduring dedication of the associates, who were recognized through membership in the Marathon Club. Together with Dan Gabrich and Frank Plum, he fostered a sense of camaraderie and nurtured a positive work environment. As the VP of Sales, Ira achieved substantial growth in new business and cultivated strong relationships with existing clients, particularly in the OSS/MPS Division.
Ira collaborated with IT companies, resulting in increased sales and expanded technology services. Furthermore, he played a key role in the company's expansion to multiple locations by acquiring clients with a nationwide presence. Throughout his tenure, Ira prioritized relationship-building and mentorship, forming lifelong friendships and earning appreciation for his guidance. Even after officially retiring, Ira continues to be an invaluable part of BluEdge, serving as the company's Ombudsman and providing assistance to associates navigating challenging situations.
Beginning in the 2000s, an era of acquisitions began to expand NRI's footprint throughout the country.
NRI purchased Color Imaging in Washington, D.C.
A branch of Centennial Blueprint was purchased in Philadelphia, PA.
Bay State Reprographics in Boston was acquired in October. Later, Digital Output Corp (DOC) in New York and Washington, D.C. were acquired on January 1st.
We purchased Triangle Blueprint in Princeton in 2007 and eventually moved the office to Belleville, NJ.
We acquired Digital Imaging Resources (DIR) in Chicago, IL.
Once again, NRI underwent a strategic rebranding initiative, resulting in the adoption of the new name, BluEdge.
"We wanted to create a name that could encompass the diverse range of services offered by the company, including color printing, 3D printing, and traditional document management and reprographics, it was a big challenge"
- Doug Magid, President
The company arrived at the new tagline, "Pixels, Particles, People," which reflects the broad scope of the services, highlighting the commitment to innovation and technology, while also emphasizing the people-centric approach to doing business.
Brian Madigan is an experienced professional in the large format printing industry with extensive experience in building printing facilities from the ground up. He joined BluEdge in May 2017 as the General Manager and played a crucial role in the relocation of the Princeton facility to Belleville in 2018. The objective of this move was to be closer to clients and to upgrade/add new equipment to the new space to meet the increasing demand and growth.
Although handling both objectives simultaneously was challenging, Madigan, along with his team, made it work. During the 410 moves, Madigan faced difficulties in finding suitable warehouse space due to the high demand for warehouses in Jersey as retailers were shifting to e-commerce. However, he successfully moved the Vernon and Belleville facilities to a larger facility - 410 Commerce Blvd, to consolidate workspace and integrate new teams and systems.
His notable accomplishments include leading the color division from a small shop to a major operation, as well as becoming a member of the executive team and earning the title of VP.
In pursuit of its ongoing expansion efforts, BluEdge made the decision to relocate its New York City branch to a new location on 8th Avenue, nestled between 38th and 39th streets. The new office space boasts an optimized layout that caters to the diverse needs of the company, with different departments occupying specific floors. The 3D, CAD, and small format departments are situated on the 9th floor, while the IT, Marketing, Billing, and the Executive team are located on the 8th floor.
The outbreak of COVID-19 brought business operations around the world to an abrupt standstill, and BluEdge was not immune to its impact. Despite the challenging circumstances, BluEdge stepped up to the plate, demonstrating its commitment to serving the community in a time of need. The company pivoted its operations to produce protective gear, including face shields, for healthcare workers on the front lines. Additionally, they created social-distancing graphics and dividers to help limit the spread of the virus.
Notably, BluEdge donated face shields to 16 different hospitals across several states, including New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. This act of goodwill and support was aimed at assisting those working tirelessly to combat the pandemic.
In 2021, Carl Tabor joined BluEdge as the Chief Financial Officer and a member of the executive team. He assumed a critical role in reorganizing the financials and streamlining the company's accounting processes, which proved especially valuable during the difficult period when many businesses were affected by COVID-19.
Carl's efforts had a significant impact on BluEdge's success. He was responsible for completing and successfully applying for 100% forgiveness of the 2nd PPP loan, a governmental program designed to provide COVID-19 assistance in 2020. He also simplified NAV purchase coding to increase workflow efficiency and implemented multiple bank fraud protections, eliminating instances of theft ever since.
Additionally, Carl created financial projection processes that enabled the company to better understand its current state and plan for the future. He played a crucial role in the successful move and integration of new systems at BluEdge's newest and largest facility, the 410 Commerce Building.
Vernon Display Graphics
BluEdge executed an acquisition of Vernon Display Graphics, a Carlstadt, New Jersey-based wide format printing company specializing in the production of high-quality signage, retail displays, and vehicle graphics utilizing both digital and traditional screen printing techniques.
This represented a significant milestone for the company, augmenting its existing capabilities in print graphics and broadening its range of services to better meet the needs of its clients.
One year later, BluEdge embarked on yet another expansion initiative, recognizing the necessity of adapting to the rapidly evolving digital landscape. To address this need, the company created a new department dedicated to digital media, marking a significant milestone in its growth trajectory.
As part of this development, BluEdge acquired a digital design studio, which was subsequently rebranded as BE Media. This strategic move facilitated the incorporation of advanced capabilities, such as CGI, VFX, photo retouching, and video animation, into BluEdge's repertoire, further expanding the company's service offerings.
410 Commerce Building
BluEdge recognized the need for a larger physical footprint to accommodate its continued growth, so the decision was made to merge both Jersey plants - Belleville and Carlstadt, and relocate to a new, spacious facility spanning 60,000 square feet. The new plant at 410 Commerce Blvd, Carlstadt, NJ, would serve as the home base for the Experiential Creations unit, as well as house equipment for lease/sale.
"BluEdge’s strategy is to become the premier provider of high end Creative Graphics in the United States. In so many ways, this move and expansion are a critical step in our achieving that vision by giving us a facility that is unmatched in our industry.
Our rapid growth in sales in our Creative Graphics division has necessitated that we quadruple our space in the last two years alone. We have used that space to increase our production capacity by multiples, add a brand new Experiential Graphics unit with exciting new capabilities, and add 3D printing capabilities.
At the same time, this new space gives us room to grow as we add anticipated new capabilities in the future. We have also used the opportunity to redesign our operations from the ground up to create the ideal kind of production environment that is typically impossible using legacy facilities.
Co-locating these units with our large format and small format creative graphics capabilities will be a home run for our clients, because it broadly expands what we can do for clients. Moving to a beautiful new first class facility allows us to elevate the experience of our clients who choose to visit, and aligns our physical space with our image."
- Doug Magid, President
“Every move that we have made is part of our strategic plan. Over the past 10 years, we have researched our market, hired very talented associates, rebranded our name, and retrained our sales force, all for the culmination of this move.
Our largest facility in 125 years, will better facilitate not only this NY metropolitan market, but all of our markets throughout our company footprint. We have positioned ourselves to be a 'premier supplier' of creative visual designs, for print, fabrication, distribution and installation. This will benefit our associates, our clients and our future.”
- Frank Plum, Vice President of Sales
The Experiential Creations unit was added to the 410 Commerce Building in Carlstadt, with enhanced experiential design capabilities, including custom fabrication and projection mapping.
“Having so many disciplines under one roof creates an amazing synergy that improves our ability to value engineer solutions customized to our client’s needs. Our goal has always been to create experiences that get that second look from the target audience”
- John Gagliardi, Director of Experiential Creations.
Our Packaging & Realization team joined us at our New York facility in the spring of 2023. This experienced team of creatives and artisans creates high-end comps and mockups suitable for commercial broadcasts and close-up photoshoots. This new unit adds significant value to our clients' brands.
Today, BluEdge has evolved into a full-service partner for our clients, helping their businesses on two fronts:1.Optimizing operations through our Business Technology division
2. Promoting their brands via our Experiential Marketing division