Lambert takes ownership of family business, Julin Printing

After 47 years, John Williams decided to retire from Julin Printing Company in Monticello. He handed ownership over to his daughter, Shannon Lambert, who has worked for the business for 14 years. From left are daughters Jamie Thompson, who has worked at Julin for 16 years, and Lambert; Williams; and son Jason Williams, who has worked there for seven years. (Photo submitted)
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     A long-standing business in Monticello is under new ownership, and staying in the family.

     Julin Printing Company is owned by new CEO, Shannon Lambert. Lambert is the daughter of John Williams, who owned the local commercial printing company for 23 years.

     Shannon has worked alongside her father for the past 14 years, learning the ropes of the Monticello-based business.

     “Seeing his pride in Julin, his commitment to his employees and family, made me want to follow in his footsteps,” said Lambert, who served as general manager the past few years.

     Throughout the last few years, Williams has included Lambert in the finances and purchasing decisions, prepping her to take over.

     “I’ve been mentoring under him,” Lambert said. “We’ve collaborated together on the direction we want the company to go.”

     The business has operated in Monticello for almost 70 years. It was founded in 1949 by Bill and Ruth Julin, and was originally located on Locust Street. After three flood events, the company made the decision to move to higher ground. Today, Julin is located on N. Birch Street.

     Williams began working for Julin in 1970 after he returned home from serving in Vietnam. After eight years of guideance, Bill Julin passed away unexpectedly in 1978.

      Williams slowly worked his way up in the comapny, and in 1988, William C. Brown Publishing purchased the company, headquartered in Dubuque. Williams was named general manager of Julin Printing.

     In 1993, it changed hands again when William C. Brown was sold to Times-Mirror, based out of Los Angeles.

     Two years later, Williams and a business partner purchased Julin Printing. In 1998, Williams became the sole owner.

     Williams worked his way through the business, starting out operating the pre-press and moving into sales, then management before purchasing the company.

     Lambert’s new role as owner/CEO became effective Dec. 31, 2017. Williams said he’s officially been retired since Jan. 1, 2018, and he’s been able to focus on his health and enjoying retirement.

     “I am proud to carry on the Williams and Julin name,” said Lambert. “The Julins had such high standards, great integrity and created a great reputation within the printing industry. The name represents the Julins and John and how they managed their company with strong values and morals.”

     Williams added, “She’ll continue to lead us in the same fashion.”

     “John’s leaving us with a strong foundation and legacy,” said Thompson.

     Over the years, Williams brought his family into the business. Aside from Lambert, a daughter, Jamie Thompson, has been with Julin for 16 years. Thompson handles sales and marketing. Son Jason Williams has been with the company for seven years, taking hold of purchasing and estimates.

     When Lambert came on board, she was hired initially for reception. After a short time, she created her own position, bringing in some skills for sales and marketing. She then moved into management.

     “Collectively they have all been keys to the success of this place,” praised Williams.

      Lambert shared that the decision to take over the company was something that was discussed with each family member individually and as one.

     “It was important that everyone feel comfortable with the decision,” she said.

     Lambert said having been with the company for multiple years, she has a tie to the business.

     “We really are a family company,” she said, which includes the dozen or so employees who live and work locally.

     Williams left such a strong and stable business that his children can just pick up where he left behind.

     “There’s nothing we need to reinvent,” said Lambert.

     “We’ve all taken something valuable from John,” Thompson said of learning from the best.

     With Thompson taking over the marketing, she plans to extend that with social media promotions.

     “Since we work ion a niche market, it is important for us to have a strong online presence that allows us to complete on a national level,” she said. “Facebook, LinkedIn and our website are all important tools to maintain our online presence.”

     Williams said it’s important to bring in some fresh ideas.

     “I’ve never been afraid of change,” he said. “We need to continue to build on the success and growth.”

     Over the years, Williams admitted he had several opportunities to move Julin outside of Monticello, especially after the floods. He said a business like this really is fit for a metro area; however, it was important for him to remain local. “It had everything to do with the employees and their families,” he said. “We have a tremendous reputation in Monticello.”

     He said he didn’t have to look far in terms of ownership when it came down to the decision to retire.

     “They have the commitment and are very good business people,” he complimented.

     Lambert said the work environment really doesn’t feel any different for anyone under her management.

     “If it had been another owner, it just wouldn’t have been Julin Printing,” relayed Thompson of the strong family ties.

     Jason Williams offered, “Being a member of the Julin team, I can’t imagine working anywhere else. This is a place you look forward to coming to work each day, knowing you are surrounded by knowledgeable people.”

     Julin has a history of diversity when it comes to ownership. Williams was a disabled veteran, and now the company has been certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).

     “We believe being part of the WBENC network will provide visibility and new business opportunities with corporations that value diversity in their supply chains,” said Lambert.

     As part of the certification process, a business has to be at least 51 percent owned, operated and controlled by women.



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