Shining Without the Spotlight
With a keen ability to put industry before the individual, Rex Williams has helped secure the future of the IADD.
by Jessica Millward, Associate Editor
A painting without a signature? An article without a by-line? A movie without credits? Achievement without specific acknowledgement isn't exactly commonplace in today's world; pats-on-the-back seem contracted before the first ounce of effort is expended.
It's understandable, then, that the International Association of Diecutting and Diemaking should want to shine its spotlight squarely on Rex Williams, general manager of Dies, Inc., in Kansas City, whose specialty lies in making "stars" out of other members, through example and encouragement. In recognition of over 25 years of such selfless service, Rex Williams has been selected as packagePRINTING's 2000 IADD Diecutter/Diemaker of the Year.
Raised on a farm just outside Humphreys, MO, Williams studied business administration at Northeast Missouri State College. A two-year stint at a retail lumber company company followed, but Williams quit the lumber business when faced with a transfer to Salt Lake City, miles from family and friends.
Williams' brother Ray was working for a die company, Dies, Inc., based in Kansas City, MO, and mentioned they were looking for diemakers. Rex was hired for the position in September 1969, and has called the company home since. He has progressed through the ranks as production supervisor, salesman, and, finally, general manager.
Dies, Inc. became the breeding ground of sorts for Williams' vision for the entire industry. Refusing to accept the "die as commodity" model often thrust upon die businesses, Williams sought the bigger packaging picture.
Unlike many companies, Dies, Inc. works directly with the end-client, from the design stage through to production. "We go a little farther along with our customers," Williams explains. The starting point, he emphasizes, is not: "How can we make the cheapest die?" It is, instead: "What is the best way to process this manufacturing?" A broader perspective on the project, one that encompasses every aspect of the end product, and a true partnering with other players involved, results in a better package and a higher standard for the die industry.