Riecken named NSW LIA Heidelberg Graduate of Year
Heiko Riecken from trade print operation Industrial Print Co has been named the NSW LIA Heidelberg Graduate of the Year, receiving his award on-site at the Lithgow NSW factory, in a special ceremony attended by industry leaders.
Riecken – the oldest-ever winner of the award at 58 – will now go forward to next year's National LIA Heidelberg Graduate of the Year award, with the chance to win a $10,000 study grant from supplier's association Visual Connections.
At the ceremony in Lithgow, were Savas Mystakidis, managing director, Heidelberg Australia & New Zealand; Terry Nolan, print teacher at TAFE NSW; Peter Harper, general manager, Tradeshows & Publications, Visual Connections; Mitch Mulligan, managing director Bottcher Australia, and LIA committee member; and Angus Scott, president LIA NSW.
Riecken said, "I would like to thank Industrial Print for all the support. I would say to anyone of a more mature age that you are never too old to gain certification. It has been a rewarding experience. I would like to thank Terry Nolan particularly, and TAFE NSW for all their input."
Savas Mystakidis, managing director of sponsor Heidelberg presented Reicken with his award, and said, "Congratulations to Heiko. Heidelberg has been sponsoring this award form 1972. We believe in the necessity of high quality training in the print industry. We are pleased to be able to play a part in supporting that. Well done to Steve Scott and the whole team at Industrial Print."
Reicken has been working at Industrial Print Co since 1991, and is married to the founder's daughter, so is brother-in-law of general manager Steve Scott. Reicken said, "I have worked on sheetfed and web presses, but never had the opportunity to take my certificate, so I went for it at a later stage."
He was nominated for the award by his TAFE NSW trainer Terry Nolan. Most of the training was on site, with Reicken going into Sydney four times for the colour management part of the course.
The LIA Heidelberg Graduate of the Year is usually revealed at the National Print Awards event, which this year was online thank to Covid. Mitch Mulligan said, "Given there was no physical event this year due to Covid-19, it was decided that it would take place at the winner's place of employment."
It's been quite a year for 60-year-old family-owned Industrial Print, which spent Christmas battling bushfires, with staff working quickly to protect the premises, which at point was under seige with red hot embers flying in every direction as a mountainside fire raged just 200m away.
The Award is the longest running continuous award of the Institute, dating back to 1972, when it was known as the LIA Apprentice of the Year – sponsored by Seligson and Clare, then the Heidelberg agents in Australia. This award is presented annually in each mainland state at special award presentation dinners. Heidelberg provides handsome award plaques to the winners and certificates to the employer.
The winning graduate in each state is chosen by a highly qualified judging panel of LIA members. The candidates are put forward by TAFE teaching staff as the pick of the bunch in their particular stream. There are usually four to eight such candidates in each state, generally covering the spectrum of the printing trades.
Every two years Heidelberg funds the air fares and accommodation of the winning state graduates to the LIA’s Biennial conference. There, apart from active participation in the conference programme, they are individually interviewed by a national judging panel of eminent industry leaders and a winner is selected to receive the Visual Connections – LIA National Graduate Scholarship Prize.
A condition of acceptance of the prize is that the money must be used in the furtherance of the winner’s education.
The winning state graduates from the current and previous year are vying for the $10,000 prize. They are hosted by major printing companies, who provide informative plant tours and hospitality, they get to know each other and in some cases form lasting friendships.