Looking Beyond The Label
Russell Gayer has found success right in his own home town.
Russell Gayer is devoted to his home town. That's not surprising considering he's the fourth-generation owner of the family house in Springdale, Ark. His great-grandfather bought the property as a homestead back when "frontier" meant a mortgage rate even lower than the current dip.
"I met my wife here," says Gayer, print services manager for Tyson Foods Inc. "We both had roots here, and we're very fortunate for all the opportunity that's here. I could probably go somewhere else, but there's no reason to."
As a place to carve out a niche in the printing industry, Springdale is ideal. It is home to two of the Top 50 in-plants, Tyson and Wal-Mart, and has become something of a small, booming city thanks to those two corporations.
Gayer, a father of two and an outdoorsman, got his start working for a five-employee shop called Zip Print while he went to school to study graphic arts. After that, he got on board at the University of Arkansas' in-plant, working with camera and plates in the prepress area while lending a hand with the shop's huge Goss web press.
Then Gayer made the move that would define the rest of his career.
"After U. of Arkansas I went to this place called Packaging Specialties, which printed on film with flexo[graphic] presses," he says. The experience he collected working in flexographic printing with labels is precisely why Tyson hired him in 1986 as a buyer and estimator.
A New Method
"When I came to Tyson, they were printing on paper labels and then gluing them onto the packages," he says. That's not a great system for an in-plant that gets 80 percent of its $12 million in sales from label printing. So under his guidance, the shop began to accrue some more appropriate equipment, including a trio of six-color, 10˝ label presses.