A Family Tradition
As the fourth generation to work in the graphic arts, Lise Melton has done plenty to make her forefathers proud.
By Bob Neubauer
As a child in Rockford, Ill., Lise Melton may have had an inkling she was destined to work in the printing industry. It was, after all, a family tradition.
"I kind of grew up around printing," she explains. "My great grandfather was a graphic artist who drew on litho stones."
His son, in turn, started a printing company called General Lithographic. Melton's father worked there as an estimator. So when it came time for Melton to attend college, small wonder she majored in graphic design.
That early introduction to the trade helped guide Lise Melton into her current role as public service executive officer for the Iowa Department of Administrative Services, in Des Moines. Her hard work and willingness to handle multiple projects recently earned her the Leader of the Year award for her department, an accolade presented to her by Governor Tom Vilsack himself. On top of all that, Melton is hosting the National State Publishing Association (NSPA) conference this month in Des Moines.
After graduating from Drake University's graphic design program in 1981—and spending college breaks in the prepress area of General Lithographic—Melton tried her hand at interior design and art restoration. She eventually took an order entry job at Plain Talk Printing, in Des Moines, and in her seven years there gradually worked her way up by accepting additional responsibilities.
"I'm one of those people that can't say 'no' to anything," she confesses.
Seven years ago Melton took an executive officer position with the state of Iowa, where she bid on outsourced print jobs and did management planning. The state was in the midst of a year-long activity-based costing (ABC) study, analyzing the cost of each job function. Melton was placed on the ABC team, reviewing all in-plant functions and deciding which to retain. In the end, the state eliminated forms management and microfilm to save money.