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Keith Sparks

Keith Sparks


I started in the print trade on 29th July 1974 at the erstwhile Chard Printing Company, a letterpress company, that had previously traded as Youngs Printers since the Victorian era, some of the kit looked like it had been there since then! In October 1976 the owners closed the business and as an indentured apprentice I was moved to their Axminster works, apprenticeship terms then being five years. During this period I attended the Exeter College of Art & Design, School of Printing on block release, achieving City & Guilds basic letterpress craft printing with credit, followed by the advanced certificate again with credit. I was also awarded machine printer of the year in both my third & fourth years.

On completing my apprenticeship it was obvious letterpress was obsolete, moving into being a niche process at best, having spent most of the last two years at college, studying lithographic printing, it was time to move on. In 1979 I joined the RGM Group initially in Crewkerne, then from 1980 in Yeovil, printing greetings cards and print for melamine lamination. The management decided spare capacity should be utilised for commercial print, a sales director was recruited and as I had by then completed a two year, printing production management City & Guilds course, I became estimator and production controller, for the lithographic side of the business. RGM also had an extensive silk screen printing business, catering mainly for the estate agency market nationwide. At that time all of our multi colour work was produced on single colour Heidelberg & Thompson presses, with multiple passes, I can remember having to match a fourteen spot colour textile print, also matching ceramics, colour matching to exacting standards without Pantone specifications. After attending college on block release for four years, then evening school for two years I was awarded the Licentiate Award of the City & Guilds Institute.

In late 1986 my employers approached me with an offer to help me set up my own company, utilising their equipment and retaining a certain amount of their business. Thus in April 1987 KS Press Ltd was formed, using a part of RGMs premises with a Heidelberg Kord press, guillotine, folding machine and saddle stitcher. The premises were extended in 1990 with a self contained unit for KS Press, a second press was installed, a Roland Favorit B2 single colour press. We subsequently installed a two colour version and purchased RGMs share holding.

In late 1996 I approached Graham Bunter and David Duley at Remous Ltd. Our lease was soon to be reviewed, it was pretty obvious our landlords wanted us to move, as following the sale and relocation of their business, we would be the only tenants in 25% of the building. Negotiations were completed and we were finally incorporated into Remous Ltd. on 1st March 1998.

KS Press had started to move into packaging print in 1994, with two good customers who are both still with Remous today. My responsibilities have seen me expand this part of the business, while still retaining various commercial clients and getting my hands dirty on the shop floor most days.

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