Back In Black
PrinTech has grown to become a model in-plant—but it wasn't always in such great shape. A new director and dedicated staff turned it around.
PrinTech, Texas Tech University's in-plant in Lubbock, Texas, celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. What makes this celebration important is that five years ago the in-plant, deep in debt, looked like a candidate for the scrap heap.
The turnaround has been a teamwork effort led by Shauna Peterson, director of Fiscal Affairs Services at Texas Tech. Peterson, who was previously the university's director of Engineering Services, took over the troubled shop shortly after her vice-president approached her with an offer that almost anyone could refuse.
"He asked whether I would take over PrinTech because they were deeply in debt and had lost most of their customer base," she recalls. "My first comment was, 'No way.' "
But she and her boss continued to discuss what the in-plant needed and what was expected of her, and a month later, Peterson accepted the challenge. Although her responsibilities included all six service departments in what became Fiscal Affairs Services, the in-plant was the area that needed the most attention.
Down In The Hole
Peterson immediately started getting to know the people and systems she would be working with.
"I didn't feel that I had all the answers," she says. "I really needed to know the issues that were facing us before I could make recommendations on how to repair the damage."
Surprisingly, closing the 33,000-square-foot in-plant never seemed to be an option.
"I faced that rumor 10 times a day when I came on board, but I felt like they wouldn't have gone to the trouble to bring me in if they were going to close it down," says Peterson. She did bring up this possibility herself, though, when she started meeting with employees on a monthly basis and showing them the devastated state of the in-plant's finances.