Steering Out Of The Merge
With careful leadership and an eye for the bottom line, John Hurt guided his in-plant through a major change.
By Mike Llewellyn
A VETERAN of Operation Desert Storm and a pilot who uses his own Piper Cherokee to help the local sheriff's department chase down stolen cars and deer poachers, John Hurt is not afraid of facing challenges.
So when his company, Oklahoma Gas and Electric (OGE), decided to merge its printing and mailing operations in 1999, Hurt jumped right into the task, moving into his current role as supervisor of Printing and Mailing Services in the process.
Hurt had been working for the utility since 1973 while he was still in school at Southern Nazarene University in Oklahoma City. He worked his way up through the ranks of the accounting department for 20 years until he arrived at his post supervising the formidable mailing operation.
Three years ago, as part of a company-wide directive to slim down, OGE's printing department swung into Hurt's jurisdiction. Before he knew it, the human resources major was trying get three separate budgets to mesh (printing, mailing and administrative) while simultaneously getting 17 employees cross-trained for a much different workflow.
"Because mailing is so closely related to printing, the two merged to provide the company with an end-to-end process," he explains.
And since OGE prints and mails 40,000 statements every day to its 700,000 retail and wholesale customers in Oklahoma and western Arkansas, this made perfect sense. Still, the merger wasn't easy.
"When I first started as manager [of both operations] making sure the two departments were working together properly was the top priority," Hurt recalls.
It took close to a year to have the staff cross-trained to Hurt's satisfaction, and by the time it was all over, the new operation had even undergone a little construction to knock down a wall and install a door between the two facilities.