Keith Ferrel celebrates 30 years at Cactus Imaging

Thirty years ago in 1992 two Kiwis, Keith Ferrel and Warwick Spicer, threw caution to the wind and left their jobs to start a printing business called Cactus Imaging.

Today, and after many twists and turns including forays into India, a private equity takeover and the eventual purchase by ASX-listed giant oOh!media, Cactus Imaging is going strong with Ferrel still very much involved as general manager – operations as he rings in his 30th year with the company.

He is certainly not showing any signs of slowing down with overseas trips coming up including a trip to Denver for the HP Dscoop conference in March and then later in the year he is heading to the FESPA Global Print Expo in Berlin.

“I am feeling healthy, fit and raring to go,” Ferrel told Sprinter just after landing in Melbourne to attend last night’s FESPA Australia BBQ.

“I enjoy this industry and the people in it too much. It is just so much fun, the people in this industry make it a lot of fun so as long as I am enjoying it I will keep going. If I wake up one day and say ‘I’ve had enough’ well so be it, but I don’t see that happening.”

Cactus Imaging co-founder Keith Ferrel speaks to printers during one of many open houses at Cactus Imaging

Having a background in newspaper sales and marketing, Ferrel didn’t know much at all about printing in 1992 but together with Spicer, who had been the CEO of New Zealand Newspapers, they put their heads together, invested in an electrostatic printer and got started.

Four years after launching in New Zealand and once the business was sufficiently staffed and running as it needed to be, the pair headed across the ditch and worked from their kitchen tables before moving into a serviced office in North Sydney.

Breaking into the Australian market was tough and the jobs they got were printed in New Zealand and then shipped back so it wasn’t long until they set up an Australian production plant.

The opportunities of billboard printing beckoned and the value digital printing technology could bring to this type of printing was not lost on the pair. So began a pattern of early technology adoption which ensured Cactus Imaging had the newest tech available to ensure speed to market and a high quality product.

In 2000 Cactus Imaging launched in India, and whilst this subsidiary has since been sold off there has been a continual reinvention and investment in technology which has kept the company at the top of its game.

Keith Ferrel on the factory floor at Cactus Imaging in Silverwater, NSW

And then in 2007 the company was purchased by Knox Investment Partners, which part owned Opus Group, and Spicer retired with his son, Nigel Spicer, now the general manager at Cactus Imaging. In 2016 oOh!media, which had been been a long-term client of Cactus Imaging, made the move to purchase it.

Ferrel is highly respected in the industry, both domestically and globally. He is always prepared to help out other printers with advice and acts as an advisor to many printing equipment manufacturers to help ensure the products they are making deliver the results printers need.

He is globally recognised as a leader in his field, having been awarded the Fespa World Printer of the year in 2014. He also sits on the Dscoop Global Board as well as the Dscoop APJ Board, and the Fespa Australia Boards.

Ferrel is also a long-time member of the ProPrint Power 50 and a regular attendee at the ProPrint Awards.

He is also a devoted lover of horse racing and enjoys a good day out at the races having a laugh and enjoying the company.

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3 thoughts on “Keith Ferrel celebrates 30 years at Cactus Imaging

  1. Mentor and Friend. Happy to share his knowledge with those in the industry plus his passion is infectious. Congratulations Keith.

  2. No matter how busy he is, he always has time to support others. Awesome to work with and great to be around!
    Simply the best. Legend.

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