Warren Fraser: Quality from the Start
THERE COMES a time in everyone's life when the desire to "get away from it all" simply kicks in. Suffice to say, Warren Fraser loved getting away so much that he decided not to come back.
More than 40 years later, Fraser—manager of Printing Services for the University of Alaska-Fairbanks—has no regrets about having left New England. Fraser had followed a friend's lead and decided to transfer to UA-Fairbanks from Plymouth State (N.H.) for his junior year in 1970. And despite the fact that temperatures routinely reach -40 degrees, Fraser was hooked from the beginning.
"It's just completely different, really a frontier town," he says. "Those were the pre-pipeline days, and it had only been a state since 1959. Very small town, small university, but it was an adventure."
Upon arrival, Fraser noted that the cost of living was significantly higher in the wild frontier, so he took a job making $2.50 an hour as a student assistant in the steno pool, running mimeograph machines and hand stapling. Six months later, Fraser was asked if he wanted to run the A.B. Dick press. A new manager arrived and the department's name was changed to Graphic Services. The manager was old-school, and taught him stripping, how to use the camera, platemaking and the bindery.
Fraser soon took over the role of production supervisor under another department manager. Quick copy technology came through the shop like a holiday parade—Multiliths, Bruning Plate Paper Masters, Xeroxes, Ricohs and now Océs. In time, everything Fraser learned from his mentor went away, save for the bindery.
"About the only thing I do anymore is help out in the bindery," he says with a chuckle.
As the years passed, so did Fraser's original plans of becoming a math teacher. As much as he liked the idea of having summers off, Fraser didn't relish the thought of pulling down a teacher's salary.
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