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Academy of Achievement Don Lowe

Don Lowe

Inducted 2004

Don Lowe learned the significant values that made him successful while delivering newspapers and working on farms during his childhood. In rural Kentucky, marketing and glitz accounted for little; only hard work, fairness and integrity made a difference. And it’s his commitment to family values that has shaped the culture of an entire organization. Throughout his career in the franchise industry, his values have been executed in his signature leadership style and helped Don to build the world’s largest quick printing franchise.

While at Kampgrounds (KOA) of America as marketing Executive, Don quickly demonstrated his natural leadership through a philosophy of fairness and respect to build relationships with franchisees.

When KOA was looking to acquire another franchise company, they learned of a struggling printing franchise that was in bankruptcy, Sir Speedy. KOA purchased Sir Speedy in 1978 and selected Don to lead the revival of the struggling company and to rebuild trust.

Under his direction, the Sir Speedy franchising model and its business practices changed dramatically—beginning with the franchisor/franchisee relationship. Don’s vision and leadership lead to the growth of a mutually beneficial relationship and the development of a network-wide advertising initiative for Sir Speedy, a success that would position the company for 20 years as the only quick printing franchise to have national television advertising.

That solid relationship allowed Sir Speedy to lead its network through many changes in the industry. Through his convincing manner and solid vision, Don led the Sir Speedy network to adopt an aggressive outside sales and marketing presence, giving Sir Speedy franchisees the advantage of bringing customers the newest technology offerings of color, faxing, desktop publishing, digital printing, print-on-demand, online ordering and document management.

Through a strategy focused on generating outside sales for the franchisor and the franchisees, Sir Speedy, Inc. realized unprecedented growth that positioned the company to expand, and prompted the creation of a holding company, Franchise Services, Inc. (FSI).

In January 1996, FSI purchased MultiCopy, the largest franchise printing chain in Europe. Later that same year, FSI had the opportunity to purchase PIP Printing, the nation’s first quick printing franchise brand.

Under his leadership as CEO, FSI has gained worldwide market share. Today the company spans 1,100 locations in 23 countries. In an industry that is struggling, the brands of FSI continue to have the highest sales, and its franchisees surpass overall industry sales and profitability.

Don’s leadership, accomplishments and business ethics have made him a recognized leader throughout the industry.. He also plays an active role in industry associations, with a specific interest in providing opportunities for education. Don was one of the first to pledge money to the International Franchise Association for education, and allocates grants for education in graphic arts as a member of the Electronic Document Systems Foundation Board of Directors since 2001. He is also a founding member of the Quick Printing Council, a group created to represent the interests of the quick printer.

In his career, Don has helped over 1500 people fulfill their desire to own their own business, control their own destiny, and provide for their families.