For Gordon Ryan, director of design, printing and fulfillment services for the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA), a career in printing is as much about communication as it is about ink on paper. For the past 31 years, the native Mainer has split his time almost equally between working face-to-face with customers and working the production floor. In fact, the diversity of his experience—partly a product of chance, partly of design—is what won him the job at NYSBA in the first place.
NYSBA is a private and independent 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization supported by the 76,000 attorneys and judges who form its membership. When Ryan signed on in June 2010, the association had recently relocated its print operation to a brand new, 21,000-square-foot off-site location. The site had been purpose-built to serve as the in-plant for an organization with a constant demand for high volumes of everything from ID cards to books. Even the HVAC system was designed specifically to support a printing facility.
On his first day, Ryan was faced with managing a team of eight employees (today it's 13), some of whom had been with the in-plant for more than 30 years. As for the operation itself, it was churning out about 80 million pages a year. To meet the challenge, he only had to look to his own experience.
Ryan's printing career began in college. He attended Rochester Institute of Technology for two and a half years, then returned home to enroll at the University of Southern Maine. He took his first full-time printing job after college, as a press operator for Minuteman Press. From there he jumped to another print shop, Quick Print Plus, where he moved from the pressroom, to the front of the shop to manage customer service, then back again as the production manager.