A Quarter Century of Superb Service
RIGHT NOW, somewhere in the world, a teacher is admonishing students: "Don't copy!" But within the Bethel School District, in Spanaway, Wash., educators and staff are applauding Diane Karl for nearly 26 years of consistent, finely executed copying (and printing).
As the district's print shop manager, Karl oversees graphic design, production, reproduction and print distribution services for 17 elementary schools, six junior high schools, three high schools, an alternative school for grades eight through 12, an online academy and district administration. Total student enrollment is approximately 17,500. Jobs range from classroom worksheets, booklets, testing materials and student planners to stationery products, handbooks, posters and newsletters. At this stage of her career, Karl is well-schooled in all the printed accoutrements of academic operations.
The longtime print professional credits a lifelong passion for taking pictures as the inspiration for her vocation. After graduating high school in Tacoma, Wash., Karl hoped to study photography at Clover Park Vocational-Technical Institute. However, once she discovered that there was a two-year wait for the class, she decided to give offset reprographics a try.
"I would still be working in a darkroom, with halftones and negatives," she recalls. "Plus, I liked the idea of designing and typesetting."
While Karl was still a student, her instructors tapped her to assist in the production of printed course materials for the institute. After graduation in 1977, she took a job with a local forms business, and then was recruited by a large forms shop in Sparks, Nev. (where she worked two jobs simultaneously—the second with a full-service printer). When she returned to Washington, she gained additional experience at a high-end, design-oriented shop.
The start of her career path wasn't entirely smooth. "When I came into the business, it was realistically a man's field," Karl points out, noting that, at one shop, "although I was doing the same job as two men, they were paid 40 cents more an hour." She remembers that the boss "justified" his policy by saying that the men had families to support.