A Lifelong Obsession
Charlie Tonoff has worked at the same in-plant since he was in high school. In 30 years he has expanded the operation considerably.
Charlie Tonoff wasn't even out of high school when he walked in off the street in May of 1971 and applied for a job as a press operator at Pennsylvania Blue Shield, in Harrisburg.
Today, almost 30 years later, Tonoff still works in that print shop. There are differences, though. He's now manager, for one thing. And what was then a four-person operation is now a modern, 23-employee in-plant in a new 15,000-square-foot facility in Camp Hill, Pa.
When he reflects on the in-plant's growth over the past three decades, Tonoff can't help feeling satisfied.
"I'm proud of growing the operation to where it is today, and providing the amount of service we're able to," he says.
That service includes digital printing on a Xerox DocuTech, color copying, one- through four-color printing on the shop's six presses, plus desktop, digital prepress and bindery services.
That's a vast improvement over the three 8-1⁄2x11˝ Davidson presses, one 3M platemaker and one collator that made up the shop when Tonoff started. He had no complaints, though. He was familiar with small presses like those from his high school vocational technical courses, and his part time job with a local printer.
Over the next seven years, the shop grew, adding two people. When its supervisor left in 1978, Tonoff was picked—above two others with more seniority—to replace him.
"There was a little bit of resentment," he recalls—but it didn't last. "We worked together well anyway. We were all friends."
He was selected, he says, both because of his training in the "votech" school and his extracurricular printing experience—in his off hours, Tonoff worked for several local commercial shops. When they needed help, they knew they could count on him.