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FLEXO Magazine : May 2009
FTA TODAY At home, Mark is an avid landscape gardener who has taken to massive plantings of daff odils. He is an ardent collector of hosta and peonies and a recognized member of the American Peony Society, which was established in 1903 to promote cultivated peonies and foster studies to improve their worth as a garden plant. Even in his downtime, to no surprise, this fl exographer fi nds himself linked to a society where, “The fi rst order of business, at the beginning of the 20th Century, was to bring some order and standardization in the names of peonies and how they were marketed.” Living up to his reputation, friends claim that he can quote the scientifi c name for every fl ower in most any garden. Many have heard him do just that, as they pause from the fl exo tour circuit and visit botanical gardens, arboretums and other vast bastions of fauna and fl ora. Snakes and fl owers aside, there is one, soon-to-be-restored (???) vintage sports car, included on Mark’s list of prized posses- sions—a 1967, light yellow, Jaguar XKE. Donna says he has had it since the early 1980s, when he actually drove it. Today is sits covered by a blue tarp in the Mazur’s West Chester, PA yard. Donna admits that the Jag is the focal point of a project yet to get off the ground and describes the pending work as, “a grand project slated for later in life.” For now, fl exo remains Mark’s focus. Donna recently ex- plained, “Mark works very hard and puts in lots of time making sure DuPont is leading the way for the fl exo industry and its customers.” To that, Collins adds, “Mark does what few others can do. He is constantly looking to improve, run and tag things. He is very personable and has such a strong desire to help people to learn. Simply put, he is driven to make them (fl exographers) better. What a great asset to FTA!” ■ Mazur. Photo courtesy Donna Mazur. the entertainment. In the end, we did. Although fl exo versus fl exo print contests has been conducted since the early days of FTA, no one had compared fl exo to off set or gravure until project FOG. To present the fi ndings, Dave Horsman had the stage set up like a wrestling ring and Mark and I dressed up as Hans and Franz (ala Saturday Night Live) representing fl exo, while Dave Haradon and Jim Wegemer dressed up as the evil villains, representing off set and gravure. FLEXO: How did the bantering back and forth style that you two are famous for develop? authentic person. He’s the same driving in a car late night from Atlanta to Clemson, as he is chairing the session at the FTA. I will say one thing: His conversation is always interesting. He may talk shop, and the technical detail and the information he provides will be very interesting; but he may talk about any number of topics such as Ayn Rand, Greek mythology, or snakes, and that will be interesting as well. He’s not one for small talk. The famous Hans and Franz presentation with Mark Samworth. Jim Wegemer and Dave Haradon portrayed the “evil” offset and gravure, while Hassan Shareef refereed. FLEXO: What drives the man professionally? SAMWORTH: A com- SAMWORTH: It evolved naturally. Neither Mark nor I are known for our diplomatic skills and, perhaps in a related way, neither of us is off ended when interrupted or corrected by the other. So, we interrupt and correct each other when teaching classes at DuPont or speaking at an FTA event. We are not trying to be funny. But it’s a bit unusual in Corporate America and I guess people get a kick out of it. Mark is an authentic person; what you see is what you get. Bantering is actually an authentic behavior. You have to be good friends to banter each other without off ending each other. Part of the reason people laugh is that they see us laughing at ourselves. FLEXO: What’s it like working with Mark off stage? SAMWORTH: Even your wording, “off stage,” is funny, but in a sense, it does apply to Mark. Mark’s not an actor, he’s a geek (used in a positive way). I guess you’re really asking what it is like traveling or working one-on-one with Mark? I would say that for the most part, it’s the same as when he is “on stage.” Again, Mark’s an mitment to doing a good job, often with complete disregard for the politics of any given assignment or situation. FLEXO: Do you recall or have any interesting personal anecdotes that shed some light on the man outside of work? SAMWORTH: Many of us have a lifelong goal of getting Mark to start drinking alcohol. We are kidding, of course. And it’s a good thing. If he has not started drinking after 20 years in fl exo technical consulting, I guess he never will. The fi rst time we ever did a talk together was at a DuPont trade shop council. We were to give a joint presentation on Color Management in 1995, before most people had ever heard of color management. At the beginning of the two-day meeting, someone made a disrespectful comment about having to sit through a talk by two “propeller heads.” That night, either Mark or I—I can’t remember who—went to a kids’ toy store and purchased two of those propeller head hats. The next day, we wore them during the presentation. Even though we joke about Mark being a propeller head and a geek, his real skill is being able to bring advanced concepts down to a real-world level and teach them to the rest of us. www. f le xography. org MAY 2009 FLEXO 15