Banking & Finance, Human Resources, and Manufacturing

Private equity firm appoints execs for portfolio company

September 27, 2017
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Dickinson Press web screenshot
Grand Rapids-based Dickinson Press, founded in 1884, is a book maker and printer. Photo via

A local private equity firm has named the CEO and CFO for one of its portfolio companies.

Grand Rapids-based Blackford Capital said yesterday it appointed Aaron Day as CEO and John Ruther as CFO of the Grand Rapids-based religious book printing company Dickinson Press and its parent company, Printing Consolidation Company.

Blackford acquired Dickinson in 2015, the fifth investment in the firm's Michigan Prosperity Fund, which is focused on investing in lower middle-market businesses in Michigan.

“We are pursuing companies with a focus in the book industry, and with Aaron’s leadership background over the past 25 years, we now have the experience to accelerate our M&A growth strategy,” said James Cook, associate, Blackford Capital.

Stephen Parker, chair, Dickinson, said the company believes Day and Ruther are both the right fit for their new roles.

“Aaron and John will elevate Dickinson as the company enters its next chapter, and we are excited to see their passion as the new leadership team of Dickinson and PCC,” he said.

Aaron Day

Before joining Dickinson, Day served as CEO of Trend Offset Printing, a commercial printing company headquartered in Los Alamitos, California.

Before that, Day was VP of sales at Creel Printing and director of technology at Creo Products, revitalizing both companies through technological improvements and sales development.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations and political science from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

John Ruther

Ruther joins Dickinson after leading The Ruther Group, a Grand Rapids-based international management consulting firm.

Ruther brings decades of experience leading large manufacturing companies in financial and operational capacities. 

Before forming The Ruther Group, he was director of finance for Motus Integrated Technologies, a portfolio company of Atlas Holdings.

Ruther also served as CIO at Univar USA, formerly Chemcentral Corp., before the company was acquired by Univar in 2007.

He earned an M.B.A. from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Central Michigan University.


Founded in 1884, Dickinson Press is a book manufacturer and printing service provider offering sheet-fed lithographic printing, heat-set web lithographic printing, digital printing, warehouse and fulfillment services and perfect binding.

The company produces Bibles, dictionaries, reference books, children's books and a variety of other printed literature for the religious, business, education and other markets.

Blackford Capital

Blackford Capital acquires, manages and builds family owned, lower middle-market manufacturing, distribution and service companies.

Founded by Martin Stein, Blackford has 11 portfolio companies located across the U.S. and was named one of America's 5,000 fastest-growing private companies by Inc. in 2016 and 2017. 

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