Manager Profile - Changing Attitudes
When he started his job, strict rules and inflexibility ruled his in-plant. Today it's one of the most customer-friendly departments on campus.
Monday used to be a red-letter day at Grand Rapids Community College. In fact, it was the only day when red ink—or green, or blue—touched the in-plant's presses.
"They only ran colored ink on Monday," says Doug Miller, recalling his first days at the in-plant, 18 years ago. "There were very strict guidelines as to what got done when and by whom."
Miller's arrival changed all that. Since taking over as director of Printing and Graphic Services, he has upgraded equipment, increased color printing and changed the attitudes of both employees and customers. These are impressive results from a man who got into printing purely by accident.
Back in the 1960s, Miller's high school wood shop teacher, weary of Miller's unsuccessful woodworking efforts, advised him to transfer into print shop instead. To Miller's surprise, he took a shine to the trade.
"I was pretty good at it," he reveals, "unlike trying to square up a piece of wood, which I was pretty bad at."
Ironically, despite his bad luck with wood, Miller's first job after graduation was with Thompson Cabinet Co., in Ludington, Mich., as a spray painter.
"It was just a horrendous job," he recalls—so bad he decided to give college a try. He enrolled in the printing program at Ferris State University, ending up with a bachelor's degree in printing education. His first job was running the in-plant for the Meijer Stores retail chain.
After seven years there, Miller took a sales position at Addressograph-Multigraph Corp. The commissions flowed in for five years—until the Xerox 9200 appeared on the scene, threatening sales. Miller saw the writing on the wall and left to join Compugraphic Corp. He did well for a year, until corporate downsizing put him out on the street.