An Extreme Makeover in Georgia
The snowstorm that shut down the University of West Georgia (UWG) and much of nearby Atlanta in January was nothing compared to the gale that nearly blew away UWG's in-plant a few years ago.
Back in 2009, UWG administration floated a plan to shutter the school's Department of Publications and Printing and reallocate funding. The idea was to begin contracting for printing services with outside vendors.
Fortunately for the Carrolton, Ga.-based in-plant, Mark Reeves, associate vice president for auxiliary services, had other visions for the shop, which, at the time, had annual revenues of around $230,000.
"I remember the day [Reeves] came over here and we sat down and he said if we could turn things around, we could become an auxiliary," recalls Sally Roberts, director of UWG Publications and Printing. "I didn't even blink and said, 'yes that is what we want to do.' Mark really stuck his neck out, but he thought we could do it. And we did."
Fast forward to 2013, and the shop's annual revenue figure ballooned to $730,000.
"Previously, we were never allowed to make a profit," Roberts explains. "That had never been a goal. We were supposed to fly under the radar and just print what the university needed. I always said that we could do better."
Roberts believes that the in-plant's resurgence was the result of research that showed having an in-house printing operation could be an advantage for the school, coupled with the fact that, within a year of reorganizing as an auxiliary service, the shop was making large strides in generating new sources of revenue.
"The university gave us the opportunity, and we took it and ran with it," she says.
Roberts notes that a remodel and expansion of the in-plant's facility increased the shop from 7,500 square feet to just over 9,000 square feet. Much of the new space was added in the large-format and sign production areas, but the offset shop, quick copy area and front office also were expanded.
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