Pressing on in Faith
From rolling meatballs and wiping the counters to filling the ice cream machine, Adrianne Camasta Kihm, one of the owners of Triangle Press Inc., learned at a young age that when your parents own a restaurant, there was “always something to do if you looked for it,” she said.
However, she also credits those experiences for the strong work ethic that she still has today.
“They set the groundwork,” she said. “We learned responsibility.”
Tammy Shelley, another of the owners of Triangle Press, said that she grew up seeing the same kind of work ethic and commitment to getting the job done on display in her home.
“My parents both worked for over 40 years at their companies,” she said.
Triangle Press is a Pennsylvania Certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) that provides print and digital services for its many professional, business, and organizational clients. Kihm and Shelley, along with Eric Baum, have owned the business since 2010.
“We excel at creating projects from a simple thumbnail sketch to a fully integrated printed product,” Kihm said. “The majority of my time is devoted to design work. My specialty area is monthly publications, corporate identity design, brochures, newsletters, annual reports, and appeal package.”
Although she occasionally does some design work, Shelley spends most of her time focusing more on “formulating policies, managing daily operations, and planning the use materials and human resources for our budget,” she said. “I’m responsible for the management and development of new business accounts and coordinate those jobs for pricing and turn times.”
Together, they work to keep everyone involved with the business heading in a common direction, while “sharing the company vision and strategy,” Kihm said.
Each of these happily married women have faced some challenges to get where they are today. Shelley recalls that as a new college graduate, she expected to get the perfect job in graphic design right away.
“Didn’t quite work out that way,” she said. “I started off at a company stripping negatives for the presses and making plates … I started to learn the industry from the bottom up, which I am now grateful for. I strive to keep learning and taking advice. I have worked with my partners for over 25 years … our journey together has taken us into ownership now, so we are constantly striving to keep up with technology and develop new business opportunities.”
How the public views the work that a printer can provide has changed over the years as well, Shelley said.
“In the past, printers were viewed as vendors whose only job was to produce products on time and on budget,” she said. “Today, we are trusted advisers who help our clients reach their target audience with new and creative ideas.”
Kihm found that her biggest challenge came when the company went fully computerized and she no longer was able to do her work by hand, which had been her comfort zone for a long time.
“I found myself apprehensive because somehow I secretly felt the emotional part of doing my job would be lost,” she said. “I fought the idea of not using pen and ink, T-square and triangle, and giving up the smell of my magic markers.”
But Kihm, too, was open to learning from each new experience, and it wasn’t long before she “fully embraced this new way of doing my job,” she said. “Now I can’t imagine not having this appendage, my laptop, which truly has become an important part of my life.”
Another important part of both of their lives is their commitment to giving back to their local communities. Some of Kihm’s volunteer activities include serving on the St. Elizabeth Guild steering committee and volunteering at the annual Catholic Charities Shelter Shuffle 5K Run/Walk. She is also on the board of directors for the Middletown Area Blue Raider Foundation.
“I feel very strongly about giving back to your community, and at Triangle, we encourage our associates to do the same,” she said.
Shelley has also donated her time and talents over the years working with her local church, volunteering at fundraising events for Wounded Warriors and the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, and participating in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day, a 60-mile walk in Washington, D.C., in 2009—an event Shelley said changed her life.
“We set out to help others and try to make a difference and ended up leaving blessed by the stories shared from the survivors and the ones still fighting for their lives, standing by the road, cheering us on,” she said.
Breast cancer research and the search for a cure are important to both Kihm and Shelley for very personal reasons—both of their mothers have been diagnosed with the disease.
“My mother, at the age of 84, was diagnosed a year ago during her yearly mammogram,” Kihm said. “Until her diagnosis, I wasn’t aware of how many women her age and older are diagnosed with cancer.”
What made the challenge of getting through the diagnosis and treatment even more difficult for her mother was that Kihm’s brother had passed away suddenly from esophageal cancer only four months prior to her mother’s diagnosis. Moreover, another brother was diagnosed not long after with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, although, fortunately, his treatment has been determined a success.
“The shocking thing was until that point in our lives, no one in our immediate family had ever had cancer,” Kihm said.
But even with all of the emotional challenges the family was facing, her mother “pulled through her surgery and radiation like a trooper … I admire her so much for her determination and strong will,” she said.
Shelley’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2010, also during her yearly mammogram.
“She had a lumpectomy and seven lymph nodes removed at that time,” Shelley said. “Through her surgery, radiation, and chemo, she continued to inspire everyone around her. Her strong faith in God and family brought her through stronger than ever.”
Sadly, Shelley’s aunt on her mother’s side of the family succumbed to ovarian cancer in 2012, and so that year, “my mother’s side of the family was tested for BRCA1 and BRCA2, the best-known genes linked to an increased breast cancer gene. Everyone has these genes, but some people have inherited a mutation that increases the risk of breast cancer.”
Shelley said that she felt lucky to test negative, but her mother was not so lucky.
“Still remaining positive, she made the choice recommended by her physicians to have a hysterectomy and a double mastectomy … back in 2013,” she said.
Since that time, Shelley’s mother has enjoyed good health and has been declared a cancer survivor.
Kihm and Shelley both grew up understanding how important a strong work ethic is and how important it is to be willing to keep learning and growing if you want to succeed. Yet they are both quick to point out that a focus on family and faith has also, and perhaps more importantly, had a big impact on their success.
“Family and faith have always been a priority in my life,” Kihm said.
Shelley echoed the same sentiment.
“Both of my parents’ work ethics, life choices, and strong faith have helped shape the choices I make in my own career and life.” BW