All In The Family
J.T. and John Sarantakos have made in-plants a family business.
Back in the '60s, when John "J.T." Sarantakos was teaching high school printing in Harvey, Ill., he used to bring his young sons in to help out in the in-plant after school and in the summer. They would handle small tasks, like hand-collating jobs from piles laid out on a table—and Sarantakos worked out a sophisticated incentive plan.
"When they got to the end of the table they picked up a nickel or a dime and stuck it in a bowl," he recalls. "They got an instant reward."
For one of those boys, however, the reward was more than a pocketful of coins. That early exposure to printing sparked a lifelong interest in the trade for John Sarantakos Jr. Today, both father and son are in-plant managers at two major U.S. universities. The elder Sarantakos heads up Central Missouri State University's in-plant, while his son oversees the printing operation at the University of Oklahoma.
The novelty of father and son both ending up in separate in-plants has its roots in the similar paths the two followed. They both started as teachers and progressed into management.
For J.T. Sarantakos it all began in Bloomington, Ill., when he got a mailroom job at a local newspaper. He later moved into the composing room.
Though he didn't see the pressroom as his future, he didn't want to let it go either.
"I decided that I would like to teach, and the only thing I knew anything about was printing, so I decided I wanted to be a printing teacher," he says.
This led him to Illinois State University where he got his undergrad and graduate degrees. While studying, he worked in the school's in-plant, running duplicators and bindery equipment. He got his first teaching job in printing in 1962, and he taught in two schools before the job began to wear him down.