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The long haul

Employee: Bill Desantis
Sees trust as a driving force at Millcraft

For 40 years, Bill Desantis has worked for The Millcraft Paper Company, and during that time, he has learned a lot about how to do right by customers.

Some of the lessons are business basics, such as, “Always maintain trust.”

“There’s nothing more important in our business than our customers trusting us, and us trusting them,” says Desantis, senior account manager and commercial printing specialist at Millcraft. “It’s a ‘can’t-say-no’ attitude. If we can’t do it, we’ll provide another solution so they can find their answer.”

Other lessons come from years of building deep relationships with customers and suppliers — for instance, the idea that the customer is always right, sometimes.

“The old adage, ‘The customer is always right’ is true when you’re handling delicate situations,”
Desantis says. “But the customer isn’t always right in how they think they want to resolve a problem. You need to bring a solution that might work. It’s really asking, ‘Have you considered this yet?’”

In his four-decade career with Millcraft, Desantis has always been attracted to the company’s transparent and family-driven culture. As a private, family-owned company, Millcraft can be nimble and flexible in addressing customer challenges without the hierarchy of larger organizations.

“It’s kind of like camping,” Desantis says. “If something needs to be done, everyone says, ‘OK, I’ll do it.’ That’s the culture we have, and I don’t think it’s widespread throughout our industry by any means.”

Desantis joined Millcraft in 1973 after graduating from Ohio University. After his start in the sample department at the company’s Cleveland office, he held customer service and outside sales positions in Akron, Ann Arbor, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis and Toledo before returning to Cleveland, where he works today.

As a senior account manager at Millcraft, Desantis balances his time between customers and mentoring younger sales and customer service staff. By helping the next generation forge lasting relationships of their own, he believes Millcraft will uphold its reputation with customers and employees as a business that people want to be a part of for many years.

“The more that the industry is asking for close relationships in a world that’s driven by the dollar, our relationships are standing the test of time,” Desantis says. “No matter how big we get, I hope we can look back and say we still have a pulse on exactly what our customers want us to be doing for them.”