General Manager/Sales Manager
Susan Kessel, General Manager and Sales Manager, is the second-generation co-owner of her family’s printing and design business. She enjoys working closely with other business owners who are growing their business and need help with their image, keeping it professional and clean in order to attract more and higher level prospects and clients.
The company was established on July 1, 1978 by Walt and Thelma Francis, Susan’s parents. Susan began working in the business part-time while in her teenage years, helping in production and customer service. She feels very fortunate to have been raised in a home with entrepreneurial parents. This mindset affects how she approaches challenges and is able to find creative solutions for herself and her clients.
Susan is a graduate of Cook College, Rutgers University (now known as the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences) with a B.S. in Agricultural Economics. She began working full-time at the company shortly after graduation, beginning with a position as typesetter. After hands-on training in the company and offsite training with CPrint International, she was appointed to the General Manager position in January of 1995. Susan added the position of Sales Manager to her title in May of 1996.
On January 1, 2000, Susan and her brother Walter Francis purchased the business from their parents and became second-generation business owners. They own the business and working in the day-to-day operations together.
As a CPrint International certified printer, Susan works continuously to maintain the level of business professionalism that has helped her business thrive in the challenging world of print. Education is key, and Susan’s love of learning is critical to her success and to her enjoyment of the industry. Business owners in any field cannot rest on what they know, and must constantly seek out knowledge. The printing industry is certainly no exception, and the staff of Chatham Print learns together, sharing knowledge to improve the company and its services.
Susan successfully completed the Dale Carnegie Course in Human Relations in 2007 and the Sales Training course in 2012. She also coached eight Human Relations courses, helping the instructor manage the classes and encouraging the participants to excel. This initial training and follow-up coaching experience are so important to developing the skills of positive teamwork, and has provided many tools to deal with the kinds of stress we all face.
Susan’s personal passions include the environment and animals. She is on the Communications Committee of the Great Swamp Watershed Assn., helping the organization create awareness of their environmental initiatives and increase association membership. She also volunteers with the Associated Humane Society of Newark, promoting cat adoptions, Trap/Neuter/Return programs, and animal welfare causes.
As a personal creative outlet, Susan is a knitter and handweaver, and a member of the Jockey Hollow Weavers guild. She has several looms and enjoys the practice and creativity of weaving. She also enjoys learning about and planting vegetables and native flowers, and uses organic growing methods for the health of her family and the environment.