A Career In Transit
For 25 years, Rick Levine has toiled to build up his in-plant at the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority.
By Carol Brzozowski
The biggest compliment Rick Levine ever received was being told that if his department were a commercial printing operation, it would be one of the country's top 10 firms, based on output per employee.
Levine heads up Replication and Digitizing Services (RADS) for the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority in Washington D.C. The authority serves a half-million bus riders and 700,000 rail riders daily, requiring the in-plant to provide millions of pieces of printed matter: brochures, maps, bus timetables, forms, flyers, bids, specs, drawings, stationery and more—all printed at a substantially lower cost than outside printers would charge.
Plus, the in-plant provides the value-added service of extracting data from the mainframe system used by bus and train operators to create timetables.
A Long Journey
It's been a long journey for Levine, a Boston native and son of a Washington bureaucrat, whose interest in printing started in junior high school.
"The fact you had to be organized and follow a sequence of steps appealed to me," he says of printing, adding that he believes it to be still largely a journeyman craft in which one learns by doing.
Though he says there were no degrees in print management back when he attended college, he feels the courses he took at Park College, in Parkville, Mo., and the University of Maryland gave him the equivalent of what would now be a print management degree.
Levine worked nearly a decade for the U.S. Catholic Conference, where he did production-oriented print jobs, before moving to WMATA 25 years ago as the head of printing. Once there, he took charge of two reorganized facilities that included a satellite copy center run by Xerox.