One of Alaska’s largest printing businesses did not emerge in Anchorage by accident, nor was it serendipity that allowed it to grow and prosper for more than half a century—despite economic downturns.
It was the dogged determination of the company’s founder, Frank Martone, and the dedication of his family that helped keep the enterprise on course as it navigates —and continues to find its way— through challenging times.
Born on January 19, 1919, in Albany, N.Y., Frank Martone was the son of Italian immigrants who came to America in 1914. Like other new arrivals, the Martones had to work extremely hard to gain a foothold, and they instilled that work ethic into their eight children; among them Frank.
In 1942 he entered the U.S. Army and became a radio operator for the Army 35 Transportation Corps Service Group, a position he held until his discharge in 1946. He then joined the Merchant Marine as a radio operator. In 1954 he left the Merchant Marine and the following year, married his wife, Edna. Like his parents, he would eventually raise a large family —eight children—who would become inextricably involved in his future.
North to Alaska
The Martones came to Alaska just before statehood in 1958 and settled in Spenard. Frank worked at Elmendorf Air Force Base as a contractor on the installation of the White Alice Communications System (ACS).
By 1961 he started Alaska Technical Office Supply in Anchorage, where he sold and repaired office equipment for the military and local businesses. He soon opened an office in the basement of the landmark 4th Avenue Theatre, where he launched his first venture into publishing. One of his publications was the Alaska Legal Record, a subscription service that followed Anchorage court cases. Others included Alaska TV Viewer and This Alaska Magazine, not be confused with ALASKA Magazine, founded in 1935 and originally titled The Alaska Sportsman.
A printing dynasty begins
In 1971, Frank Martone realized that business was evolving toward printing rather than office equipment and repair. He re-incorporated Anchorage Technical Corporation, Inc. under the name A.T. Publishing and Printing, Inc., laying the foundation for what would become one of Alaska’s largest and most respected commercial printing firms; with four Anchorage office locations, including a 40,000-square-foot shop on Abbott Road; where they have operated since 1993. The company has a staff of about 50 and annual revenues of about $5 million.
Gaining a foothold: Alaska’s economy surged in the 1970s due to the construction of the trans-Alaska pipeline and in June 1977, the startup of the giant Prudhoe Bay oilfield. As Anchorage’s population grew, the private business sector gained momentum, including the printing industry. Recognizing the talents of his children, which would eventually number eight, he brought them into the fold at early ages, and today, six are still directly involved in the business on a full-time basis. He ran the business until 2011 and finally retired at age 92. He passed on in 2017 at 98 following the death of his wife, Edna, two months earlier.
“Back in the day we did everything in the offices and shops,” reflects Andrew “Andy” Martone, company president and co-owner. “I was a janitor for quite a while until I was moved into production and looking after the presses. I remember how happy my brother Paul was when dad moved him into sales. Over time we did just about every job there is in the business.”
Today Paul, 61, is Vice President of A.T. Publishing and Printing and co-owner. With Frank Martone’s passing, Paul became the oldest member of the family involved in the business. He now has more than 40 years of continuous service administering sales, estimating projects and job engineering. He is proud of his father’s legacy and keeping the company family owned and forward looking.
“Dad worked tirelessly for decades to turn this company into a success,” he says. “When he finally left us, we knew we had to step up and keep it going.”
In addition to Andy and Paul, co-owner William “Bill” Martone oversees all production personnel, equipment, job scheduling, ordering and quality control. Co-owner and Pre Press Manager is Marie McConkey (married name), who has won numerous awards for her graphic designs. Lead Pressman is Greg Martone, who operates the company’s largest four-color press.
Accounting Manager is Joseph “Joe” Martone, who oversees the accounting at all four shops, maintains the financial records and daily account activity.
To learn more about the company, visit atpublishing.com
A.T. Publishing and Printing, Inc. has maintained its strong position in a highly competitive industry by upgrading and modernizing equipment and expanding its services. Equipment includes state-of-the-art digital, offset and wide format printing; a modern bindery and mailing services. With the motto: “We Color Alaska,” the company prints everything from newsletters and magazines to annual reports, catalogs, car wraps, banners, signs, posters, brochures, business cards and many other products.
Andy Martone says the company actively maintains ongoing recycling and waste-management programs.
“All paper trimmings and printing spoilage is bailed,” he says. “We recycle paper, cardboard, aluminum plates and pop cans, and we encourage the use of soy-based inks and post-consumer waste papers for our printed products.”
During one recent year, the company collected and delivered 185,000 lbs. of mixed paper, cardboard and aluminum and other recycling materials to RockTenn, Inc., a Georgia-based paper packaging and manufacturing company.
“We’re very aware of the challenges the printing industry faces,” mentions Martone. “During the 2008 recession, for example, the commercial printing industry revenues declined by about 30 percent. And with the internet, online readership has increased significantly. But we still believe there is strength in print, and that combined with digital services, we will continue to have a strong position in the Alaska market.”
A.T. Publishing and Printing also owns Service Business Printing, Inc., which supports two copy centers in Anchorage. The also own Eagle River Printing, Inc., and its two publications: The Alaska Cache and the ECHO News.
The Alaska Cache is a monthly publication delivered to homes via the USPS. The ECHO News is a community newspaper printed and distributed throughout Eagle River and Chugiak. Starting with this issue, the ECHO News will be mailed out monthly with the Alaska Cache to over 15,500 homes in the area.
John “LJ” Kennedy, general manager of Eagle River Printing, Inc. and publisher of The Cache and ECHO News, says that A.T. Publishing and Printing has been helpful and highly supportive of his efforts to develop and grow Eagle River Printing as well as the Cache and ECHO.
“They give me a lot of latitude and freedom with the work we do—both print and online,” he says. “We have moved ECHO News from weekly to monthly to coincide with the Cache’s home delivery. However, the ECHO will still be online weekly and continue to contain news, features and other community-based information.”
On any given day you can hear the sound of presses humming and paper swishing inside A.T. Publishing and Printing’s large shop on Abbott Road—the fruition of Frank Martone’s humble beginnings in the basement of the 4th Avenue Theatre half a century ago.
“He never stopped thinking about the business,” notes Andy Martone. “Even a day before he died he was asking about different things.”
Frank E. Baker is a freelance writer who lives in Eagle River with his wife Rebekah, a retired Birchwood ABC school teacher. To reach Frank, email: email@example.com