It’s fair to say that Mark Barnhart is a reluctant winner.
âI am very proud to receive the award, but I am uncomfortable with the ‘I’. For me, it has always been a “we” “ Barnhart said.
Barnhart, owner and chairman of the board of directors of NPC Inc., will be honored Monday as the 19th recipient of the Blair County Chamber’s Business Excellence Award for Lifetime Achievement.
He was named the winner of the award in 2020, but the presentation dinner has been postponed three times due to COVID-19.
The chamber created the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002 to recognize business leaders who have made a difference in the community for an extended period of time.
Barnhart, 60, is the youngest recipient of the award.
“It is a testament to the consideration that his candidates and the selection committee have for him that his monumental achievements are deemed worthy despite the fact that his best days may be ahead of him.” There is no doubt that he is far from finished â, said Speaker of the House / CEO Joe Hurd. “Anyone who knows Mark, who has witnessed his incredible drive and understands how much of a community advocate he is will likely consider his selection as long overdue.”
Barnhart is a very deserving winner, said Marty Marasco, retired president and CEO of Altoona Blair County Development Corp.
âMark is just an exceptional person, an exceptional and successful businessman and family man, he loves the community and the people who work for him. He has done so much for his people beyond what he is doing. a normal employer would do “, said Marasco. “He is a strategic thinker, always thinking about the future and how to improve the situation for his employees and the community as a whole.”
Barnhart grew up in Roaring Spring, son of Barney and Charlotte Barnhart, who founded News Printing Co. in 1954.
After graduating from Central High School and studying English at Penn State, Mark went to work at a printing house in Washington, DC, in which his father has a stake.
He stayed there for 2.5 years until the business closed. He came home to get married and work for the family business. “It was something I wanted to do” he said.
He took over ownership of the company in the late 1980s.
“Dad and I organized a buyout, and I took over the company and put together my team, we took the company in different directions”, Barnhart said.
He said his father instilled good values ââin him.
âMy dad didn’t teach me specific things about the business, he taught me the important things. He said that as an owner it can be whatever you want it to be if you have the principles and values, work hard and run the risk of having the skills required â, Barnhart said.
New name given
Under Mark’s leadership, the company, renamed NPC in 1997, has grown from 50 to 500 employees and has seen revenues increase 50 times since he took over.
What started as a printing business has grown into a critical information delivery engine that customers depend on. NPC makes it easy to manage print, web and mobile communications, saving customers time, money and frustration throughout the lifecycle of communications programs.
NPC serves a variety of industries, including federal, state, and local governments, high-stakes testing, survey data collection, stimulus letter outsourcing, and commercial printing, according to the company’s website.
Barnhart said NPC is more mission driven than vision driven.
âThe mission has been the same for 30 years: to help independent people reach their level and quality of life. I am proud that we have been consistent with this philosophy. We have created an extended family-like environment, many of us have been together for over 40 years. It’s fun to be at the succession stage with my three children who are part of this succession team. We’ve always been a small business in a rural area, we’re not going to change that. We feel like we are making a difference in the community, we are very proud of it â, Barnhart said.
The importance of family
Asked about his greatest individual achievement, he cites his family.
âThis is my wife and my children. I have the perfect wife and children and nine grandchildren and extended family, the people who work for us and have been together for so long â, Barnhart said.
His wife, Karen, three children and son-in-law work for the family business.
He said his parents were his role models growing up.
“Much of the culture of our organization is rooted in my mother: be kind, don’t take yourself too seriously because no one else will.” Barnhart said.
He also cited the late Irv Kosloff, founder of Roosevelt Paper Co. and founder and former owner of the Philadelphia 76ers.
Ask the right questions
âHe spent a lot of time with me when I first started in business. He helped me do a lot of things. He said it was more important to ask the right question than to have the right answer. Barnhart said.
He also mentioned Ben Stapelfeld, co-founder of New Pig Corp., as a good friend and mentor.
“He is not only a sounding board, his willingness to share the scope of his business is important for me and for the company”, Barnhart said.
Giving back to the community is very important to Barnhart and his business.
âThe influence we can have in the community is extremely important, whether it is about the time or the treasures we devote to things. I’ve never tried to price a check to show what we’re doing. We do it because it needs to be done and it makes sense to the community. We do a lot of things that were done discreetly, we don’t seek publicity â, Barnhart said. âWe are very proud of our connection with the Claysburg Education Foundation. “
“We have had a working relationship for seven years since the creation of the foundation”, said Richard Allison, board member of the Foundation for Education. âHe was fully involved with the time personally and his staff over time. This guy is amazing, his financial resources have been amazing. Four years ago he provided iPads to every child in Claysburg-Kimmel. Last year he donated 140 computers. We started a pre-K about a year ago. His help and donations got him started.
âIf anyone in the community needs anything, they go to their business and they come to help them with what they need. He’s an unsung hero “, Allison said.
Barnhart hopes people will remember him in a good way.
âThat I was honest and transparent with them, that I cared about myself and liked to share with them. The people with whom I have worked the longest, I hope they enjoyed being part of our history and traveling with us â, Barnhart said.
Set of succession plans
Banhart said he had no plans to retire, but a succession plan involving his children was in place.
“I continue to invest in a lot of other things that create new opportunities for the business and create new platforms”, Barnhart said.
He also said that the future of NPC is bright.
âI see continued growth, which continues on the path to diversification. Technology will continue to evolve and change, and we have a business capable of adapting to it â, Barnhart said.
The Chamber’s Business Excellence Dinner will be held Monday at the Lakemont Park Casino. The event includes a reception that starts at 5.30 p.m. followed by dinner at 6.45 p.m.
Mirror staff writer Walt Frank is at 814-946-7467.