SICPA, with sales of almost US$800 million and 3,700 employees, is the world's largest privately held manufacturer of ink. This isn't just any kind of ink though, but the kind countries around the world use in the printing of their currency. SICPA keeps an extremely low profile. Though founded in 1927 and headquartered only a few miles from downtown Lausanne, you could stop 100 people here on the street and not a one would know who SICPA was or what business they're in.

Headquarters is a four-story building who's one side butts up to the next door factory/head office complex of Bobst Group, a company I'm visiting when leaving here. It's a mixed-use area with rows of apartment buildings located directly across the street. The company name (SICPA) appears in large letters atop the sides. It's a strange looking building because it's not very wide but deep, plus the top two floors don't extend anywhere near the same length as the bottom two. I count three flagpoles outside but no flags flying.

Kudos to the two friendly and helpful blue suited receptionists as I'm told to have a seat while they find out who ended up with my introductory letter sent a month earlier to CEO Hans Loeliger. One of the receptionists speaks FIVE languages and the other four.

Wow, it sure is nice waiting in the reception area because they've posted little "no smoking" sign on several coffee tables. I'm so tired of reception/waiting areas stinking of tobacco and my clothes/body reeking of it when leaving. I learn from the receptionists that the building was recently remodeled and smoking is now banned.

Visitors can plop down on either two blue leather sofas or two blue leather chairs. Four large coffee table-size books sit atop one coffee table-one is about the city of Geneva, one on the International Olympics, another on tapestries and lastly, one on Prilly-the town right around here. The wood paneled walls and marbled floor gives the place an elegant feel.

Orlia Castro, Human Resources, invites me into her office and makes a valiant attempt to answer my questions. Unfortunately she's only been with the company a few months. Seems my letter to CEO Hans Loeliger went nowhere due to his having left the company several months ago. I mention checking the company website and finding it completely lacking in information ( The current CEO is Jean Daloglou.

About 100 employees work here. There's plenty of parking with management getting reserved spots. The windowless cafeteria serves hot and cold food. Thumbing through a brochure showing pictures of various company facilities around the world I spot a picture of this place and don't recognize it because it was taken before the recent remodel. From the photo, the building's drab ugly exterior lets me know the building was probably built in the late 1950's or early 1960's.

I can't see CEO Daloglou's third floor corner office because "he's busy". Who's on the top floor? Members of the Amon family, 100% owners of the company.