From the New York Times - East’s Copy King Duplicates U.S. Success
From a story shared in a publication of the George Washington Univ School of Business
From the Moscow Times – Copying His Way into Russia’s Market
From the New York Times – Heard about the Copy Shop in Budapest?
From a college-level textbook – Case Study on Management
This section of the Hall of Fame web-site is devoted to the memory of Paul Panitz and to his accomplishments in the reprographics business. After a brief battle with cancer, Paul passed away in 2008.
Very few reprographers in the U.S. knew Paul, for Paul was never in the reprographics business in the U.S. When in business in the U.S., Paul founded Unicorn Graphics, a typesetting and pre-press business grew Unicorn to a significant size company and, in 1986, sold it to an entity owned by Mort Zuckerman. (Yes, he is the Zuckerman – the billionaire - who controls Boston Properties, The Atlantic Monthly, etc.) Paul was never in the reprographics business in the U.S.
Paul Panitz, without question one of the most humble personalities ever, founded Copy General Europe, not long after the fall of the Iron Curtain. Actually, there isn’t an entity called Copy General “Europe”, Copy General Europe is a collection of four different enterprises, Copy General Hungary, Copy General Czech Republic, Copy General Poland, and Copy General Russia.
Although Copy General in Europe started as a “copy shop” business, it morphed over several years into a full-blown “reprographics” business, and, yes, it served (and still does today) firms in the A/E/C Industry in the countries in which it operates. The Copy General brand name is as strong in its markets in Europe as the Kinko’s brand name was in the U.S. (Shame on Fedex Office for discarding one of the most recognizable brands in the U.S.!)
Paul Panitz was the first person inducted into The Reprographics Industry Hall of Fame, but he is not the only Copy General Europe team member in the Hall of Fame. Roman Petr, Managing Director of Copy General Europe, was also inducted into The Reprographics Industry Hall of Fame.
I met Paul in 1970 or 1971, shortly after I began my career in the reprographics business and industry. We were both working in Silver Spring, MD (a Washington, DC suburb), both of us were at the beginning of our careers – he in the typesetting business, I in the blueprinting business. I am blessed to have known Paul and feel privileged to call him a friend. In the past, I’ve heard some people describe Paul as ‘cheap’. That’s incorrect! Paul was ‘frugal’, not cheap. There is a difference. In establishing Copy General Europe, one of Paul’s goals was to create jobs. And, that he did. From the humble beginnings of a single copy shop in Budapest, Hungary, he and his associates grew Copy General Europe to be a multi-country, multi-location enterprise in eastern/central Europe. To date, the business has employed thousands since its founding in the early 90’s. Year after year, Paul poured the profits of the business back into the business. That fostered faster growth and that created careers. As to Paul’s frugality, I don’t think I ever saw Paul in a suit and tie. I’m not sure he even owned a suit or tie. I’ll remember Paul for his jeans, flannel shirt and sandals; never dressed to impress, but with a mind (scary-smart) that would easily impress anyone.
Before I introduce you to the articles in The Panitz Archives, I’d like to mention Paul’s partners in the Copy General Europe enterprise: Ken Chaletzky, owner of Copy General in the U.S. (Wash, DC area), Dirck Holscher, former partner of Copy General in the U.S. and current owner of Larry Hunt Publications (the Larry Hunt Newsletters), Steve Haas, Roman Petr, Martin Hoffmeister, and, last but not least, the brilliant Patrick Snodgrass. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting these gents, and, not surprisingly, all of Paul’s partners were/are also scary-smart people.
I’d like to thank Paul and his partners, Patrick Snodgrass and Roman Petr, for inviting me to serve as a consultant to Copy General Europe. That engagement was the most amazing experience in my career in the reprographics industry.
Here are the articles in The Panitz Archives: