2019 Women in Print and Promo: Lynn Buck, Copresco
Production Manager, Copresco, Carol Stream, Ill.
How she got her start: Ten years prior to my official start in the printing industry, my husband (boyfriend at the time), told me he was picking me up at 3 a.m. and that I was going to work with him in a downtown “Printer’s Row” company to assist him with a bindery job. Ten years later and married, I offered to help out for a week with my husband at Glenbard Graphics. That week turned out to be 21 straight 12-hour days. At the conclusion of that bindery job, the owner asked if I would be interested in learning other jobs to be able to fill in for the regular help over the summer. After a few short weeks, he asked me to become a full-time employee. I worked in the bindery for a couple years, but then had the opportunity to take over the shipping/receiving department, which then led to an opportunity to try my hand in the production/customer service arena. I joined Copresco in 1997 as a production coordinator.
What she does: I am the production manager at Copresco, a digital printing company, where my duties include customer contact; overseeing all the internal operations from the customer quotes and job tickets once a quote is accepted; making sure all necessary supplies or outside services related to the production of the jobs are in place; keeping close contact with prepress, printing, bindery and shipping to ensure all jobs are completed to meet our customers’ requirements; monitoring quality throughout the various stages of production; updating of all customer changes throughout the production cycle; and making sure the shipping details are in place for final distribution.
What brings her joy professionally and personally: Knowing that our customers can drop their jobs into our hands and not have to worry if their demanding deadlines will be met and the quality they expect will be delivered [brings me joy]. It is rewarding to work with a staff that is committed to turning out beautiful digital printing on short, sometimes “Mission Impossible,” turnaround times.
Her proudest career achievement: [I’d say] the fact that I started my printing career as a hand bindery person, and through a lot of hard work, am now a production manager running the entire production end of our company. I feel that part of my current success is having started at the finishing end and, thus, knowing all the processes necessary to take a job from the onset to its completion and shipment out the door. I know how to offer little tips to a bindery person to make their job more efficient, how to coordinate making sure all supplies needed are in-house in advance to keep a job moving without delay, and how to keep our staff motivated to keep quality at the top of their priorities.
On working in a traditionally male-dominated industry: Back in my shipping/receiving days, I once had a trucker pull into our dock with a load of boxes from our box vendor. When he asked for our receiving “guy,” he was truly not happy when he found that person was a woman, which meant he would have to make the sacrifice and unload our order. To his total surprise, I hopped up on the forklift without hesitation, drove onto his truck and scooped up the first of many bands of cartons. All he could say was, “Well, OK, I guess I’ll stay out of your way.”
Her job advice to women: In order to be successful and good at your job in printing, you need to be committed to doing whatever is necessary to meet crucial deadlines. Most customers have no clue what it takes to get 2,500 of a 280-page convention program with four Mylar-reinforced tabs and a glued inside front cover pocket delivered 2,000 miles away, exactly when needed. Once the project has left their hands, it takes a crew of experienced people to make that happen. It requires attention to the smallest details and follow through all the way to make sure that the LTL shipment of two skids is delivered to the right place at the right time. Just as our children trust us as mothers, it is so satisfying to have our customers give us projects and trust us to deliver them right, and right on time.
Who she turns to for career advice: I learned the finishing end of the business from my husband, who was my immediate boss for the time I spent in the bindery. I then was under the wing of our production manager at my previous company who really taught me the production and customer service end. It was unfortunate that the owner didn’t realize my potential and didn’t reap the benefits of what I had learned. So, I took all my knowledge and moved on to Copresco, where Steve Johnson, president and CEO, has given me the reigns to grow with hands-on experience.
Her upcoming goals: I want to maintain the same high level of productivity and continue to grow professionally. Copresco is constantly adding new equipment and offering new services, which allows me to learn new things and pass along new techniques to our crew.
How she maintains a work/life balance: Is there life outside Copresco? Luckily, since my husband had been in printing, including management several years before me and has only recently retired, he knows what kind of time and energy are required in this business, so we make the most of the time we are together, and he understands those late nights that happen so often.
Final thoughts: Comments that I receive from customers are gratifying. The following was one mentioned in an article in Overnight Lite, Copresco’s newsletter: “I first met Lynn Buck when I took over Innovative Graphics,” recalls Copresco client Kelley Foulk. “I soon discovered after working with her on my first project what a gem Copresco has! Lynn is one of the most intelligent, knowledgeable and experienced people in the industry.
“She is very dedicated to her profession and always goes above and beyond with the rest of the Copresco staff to help meet my deadlines,” Foulk added. “I always feel 100 percent confident when handing a project off to her that it’s in great hands and will be a perfect product upon completion.”
Elise Hacking Carr is editor-in-chief/content director for Print+Promo magazine.