2017 Benjamin Franklin Award Winner – James “Butch” Mooney, Sr.
James David (Butch) Mooney SR. was born in Atlanta on September 14, 1947 to Claude and Lois Mooney. His father was a cotton farmer who passed away in 1974. His mother never worked outside the home, and she passed away in 1984. Butch and his 12 brothers and sisters grew up in Atlanta. All of his brothers were involved in the printing industry in one way or another.
Butch started caddying at the age of ten years old. He and the rest of his brothers practically grew up at Bobby Jones Golf Course. He started playing at the age of eleven after finding an old three iron. He started playing cross handed and still plays that way today.
After Butch left High School, he took a position on an assembly line rebuilding automobile motors. After two years, his brother Ron asked him if he would be interested in taking an internship as a pressman at his shop. He accepted, then took classes and training on printing equipment at Dekalb Technical College. Following this education, he accepted a position with Harris Lithographic, Inc. as a lead pressman in 1971 working under Danny Cason, the pressroom supervisor. Danny taught Butch how to run, maintain, and repair every press in the pressroom. Butch married Terry Jean Arnold of Conyers in 1970, had their first daughter Terina in 1971, and their first son, James David Jr. in 1973, before divorcing in 1980.
In 1973, Butch was promoted to pressroom supervisor. In 1979 Butch’s Brother Ron, who was Plant Manager at Steven Graphics asked Butch to take over the pressroom supervisor position there, and he accepted.
On July 11, 1981, Butch married Dondra Gail Dorsett of Rockmart, Georgia. Together they had a son, Lance Tyler and a daughter, Leslie Anne. Now they have eleven grandchildren and celebrated 36 years of marriage in July.
In 1980, George Crews, the Plant Manager at Geographics, Inc., recruited Butch to take over the Webb and Sheetfed Pressroom Supervisor position. Butch was heartbroken to leave Stevens with his brother Ron still there, but, the new Harris Web Press and Sheetfed were challenging, and he couldn’t turn the opportunity even though Geographics was a relatively new company. He was the pressroom supervisor, printing 24 hours a day seven days a week on the web press for two years. Butch was promoted to Production Manager in 1982 and Plant Manager in 1983.
As Geographics grew rapidly Butch began traveling throughout the U.S. and Europe to keep up with the innovations in equipment and electronic equipment. Butch also had the opportunity to tour the Heidelberg Headquarters in Germany. Butch returned to Germany for the Drupa Trade show in 1986 to demo new machines there and at the Heidelberg facilities. The next two years were exciting and challenging with Geographics, but Butch said Geographics by far was the best learning experience working with the owner Norvin Hagan, a great person who has become a great friend.
Butch had been considering opening a trade printing company. So in 1987, when his brother Ron approached him about starting their own business, Butch decided it was time to move forward and opened Mooney Trade Litho. Butch was responsible for sales and estimating and Ron was responsible for production. Their wives shared responsibility of accounting and HR. Sales were great the first month of production and in three months, they added prepress and finishing equipment.
After five years, Ron and Butch decided to go their separate ways. Butch continued to manage and run Mooney Trade Litho while Ron opened a general commercial printing company. However, Butch closed the business in 1992 and opened American Color Graphics with his wife, Dondra. Butch formed D&B Investment Properties in 2003 and purchased a thirty one thousand square foot building with four acres. After remodeling all the office space and adding a twenty two hundred square foot prepress area he was able to move to the new location later that year. They had some great years from 2003 until 2008.
In 2009 through 2012 most printers like Dondra and Butch were struggling due to the lack of volume of printing. The banks were limited to how they could help, even when you loyal and paid each month on time! In April 2012 Dondra and Butch decided to sell all of the equipment and ACG was closed.
One of the companies that purchased a press asked Butch if he would consider keeping the press at his location and run it for him while allowing Butch to also use it himself. Butch asked why he was willing to make such an arrangement, and the press owner responded, “you’re the best printer there is. I don’t want to be the best printer, I have you.” Butch thought, how can I lose?
Butch started American Craftsman Technology Trade Center LLC (ACTTC) in 2013 and was able to build the company until it was sold to Rapid Color of Las Vegas the next year. Butch would remain with the company for one year before returning to Geographics where he currently works in a broker position.
Don’t ask him why! Knowing God is more important than knowing the answers.
In January 2017, Butch started another venture, Mooney Unlimited LLC. Keep him on your radar; great things are going to happen! No, he’s not retiring, ink is in his blood!