Ex Band Manager Keeps In-plant in Tune
BACK IN the early '80s, when he was touring with rock legend Elvis Costello, John Barron didn't give much thought to the world of printing. He was the road manager for a band named Sussman Lawrence—well known in the Twin Cities at the time—trying to help his high school buddies make it big.
"We toured with Blondie and Elvis Costello, and had some fun on the road," reflects Barron, now director of Printing & Mailing Services at the University of St. Thomas, in St. Paul, Minn.
In his six years as road manager, he mastered the art of "creative problem solving," a skill that's come in handy many times in his subsequent career.
"You've got to think on your feet, and make something happen," he explains.
Barron has certainly made a lot of good things happen in his 16 years at the university. From streamlining mail procedures to consolidating copier contracts, he has saved the University of St. Thomas countless thousands of dollars.
Back in 1986, though, Barron had other priorities. After six years of rockin' and rollin' he was ready to move on. He returned to the University of Minnesota, where he had been studying mechanical engineering in his pre-band days, and enrolled in business finance courses. But after graduation, he found few job openings in the turbulent economic climate of 1988.
"I had to 'settle' for a job being basically a gopher at my brother's father-in-law's printing company," Barron says. "It was difficult for me, because I knew nothing."
In his three years at Ambassador Press, he learned all about film stripping, keylines, match prints, Dylux proofs, typesetters—"all the old school stuff," he says.
In 1991 he was hired by Bolger Publications, a commercial printer, as a second shift production manager. Here, he managed 27 employees and got experience preparing budget reports, forecasting production requirements, cutting purchase orders, and perhaps most importantly, he became acquainted with the methods of W. Edwards Deming.
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Bob has served as editor of In-plant Impressions since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited nearly 170 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, co-sponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.