Nerves Of Steel
In 1994 Tony Loster took on the challenge of reviving an out-of-date in-plant. Today, print quality and business are soaring—and he's not done yet.
BORN IN California and raised in the Chicago area, Tony Loster, director of print production at The American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) in-plant in Rosemont, Ill., came from humble beginnings in the printing industry.
"I went to work for my brother-in-law who was at a company that set type," recalls Loster of his first job out of high school. "I started out delivering type." From there Loster did some proofing and various other jobs, before getting his hand into printing.
Loster later took a job with Color Communications, trying his luck in the management end of the business—and it stuck. He started there as line manager for coating machines and moved up through the ranks, eventually becoming production manager.
Then in 1994, Loster took on a new challenge: The revamping of the out-of-date AANS print shop, which at the time was getting by with old equipment and outsourcing much of its work.
"We had a couple of Multis that were probably 20 years old," Loster recalls. "We shot all of our halftones with a camera and we had a paper platemaker." The shop was working with outdated PC software and produced mostly one- and two-color work, Loster says.
Loster knew things had to change in order for the in-plant to be successful. In the five years since he took over the reins of the shop, he has added an imagesetter and an A.B.Dick 9985, and now 90 percent of the work goes direct to polyester plate.
The shop uses PCs, but has updated its computers with current versions of PageMaker and PhotoShop software. These upgrades are what Loster feels have made the in-plant able to handle a drastic increase in volume.