The Golden Touch
Her dream was to work in the music business. She majored in business administration with a concentration in music at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. And yet now, Tammy Golden is the Assistant Commissioner of Communications, Publishing and Distribution for the State of Tennessee, and she has no regrets about the path that she took.
“Sometimes, I do think … ‘how did I get here?’” she laughs, noting that her high school self would never have believed she would one day work in the printing industry.
Golden moved quite a lot as a child, because her father was in the Air Force. She was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, before moving to Virginia, Chicago and then central Illinois, all before first grade. Her family settled in Illinois though, because at that point, her father had retired.
Golden’s love of music led her to Nashville for college, but that wasn’t how she ended up there permanently. After getting married, she and her husband moved to Montgomery, Ala., where she worked for Dees Publishing, a publisher of directories for school athletics, and then to Chattanooga, Tenn., where Golden took a job in customer service, which she describes as her “passion,” at Top Flight, a manufacturer of envelopes and spiral notebooks. It wasn’t long before the couple moved back to Nashville, where she still lives today, to take a job in customer service for a wholesale printing company, Triangle Wholesale.
It was the end of 1999 when Golden joined the State of Tennessee as an administrative manager, the role in which she served for approximately five years before being promoted to director of the printing operation. About a year and a half ago, she was promoted again to her current position, from which she manages printing, warehousing, postal operations, scanning, photography and graphic design.
Print Shop Evolution
Since joining the state, Golden has overseen the evolution of the printing department. Originally it was “similar to a commercial print shop,” she says, with offset presses, a Xerox DocuTech, a full bindery and graphic design.
Over the years, the in-plant evolved to add services, including transactional mail, which came to the department about five years ago, when the operation merged printing, postal and warehousing. The in-plant has also grown its digital fleet and expanded its value-added services, such as videography and web page design.
One thing that stands out about Golden’s operation is its internal marketing strategy. She explains that in addition to the traditional methods, including enewsletters, the department began producing a yearly calendar featuring state employee photographs submitted via a photo contest. She says that when a state employee has his or her photo chosen for the calendar, they tend to want to show everyone, which is great PR for Communications, Publishing and Distribution.
This year, however, the in-plant is doing something a little different; it is expanding the photo contest to 52 winners, and will use their photos to produce decks of cards instead.
Although the department looks a lot different than it did when Golden first joined the team, the technology advancements are not what Golden considers her biggest achievements as manager. Instead, she says, it’s how the department has affected the state government as a whole.
“When we took over transactional, IT was managing it and they were losing between $400,000 and $500,000 a year,” she explains. “We absorbed them into us, and now they’re making more than $1 million a year in the black.”
Saving the state money has enabled Golden to bring in new equipment, incorporate new services and reduce costs for print jobs. The in-plant plans to install a production inkjet press very soon, to cut printing costs even further. In the next two years, Golden hopes to consolidate the department into one central location to streamline the work and become more efficient.
Staying in contact with peers for advice and inspiration is very important to Golden. One way she ensures she gets the best and most up-to-date information is by being very involved with the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association (IPMA), where she currently serves as secretary/treasurer. Golden, a Certified Graphic Communications Manager (CGCM) through the organization, attends conferences and says she relies heavily on calling her IPMA peers to understand what they’re doing in their operations.
Golden has come a long way since her first job — detasseling corn in high school — to become a manager who has shaped her shop for the better. She even recently hosted Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam to show him how the in-plant is saving the state money.
Although her grandfather was a printer and worked for R.R. Donnelley in the 1940s through the 1960s — something she didn’t learn until after he passed away — Golden says her two daughters have chosen different paths. Macy is an accountant, who recently gave her a “grandpuppy,” while Megan followed more closely to Golden’s path; she’s currently a music major at Belmont University and performs several times a week in Nashville and other cities. She’s also recorded a CD.
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Ashley Roberts is the Managing Editor of the Printing & Packaging Group.