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A Tale Of Two Facilities

by Robin M. Giroux
September 23, 2013 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 91, Issue 38

Notice anything different about this print issue of C&EN? Go ahead, flip through it. Still no? Good.

Actually, there is something different about this issue: where it was printed. This issue is the first one in 15 years that was not printed in Waseca, Minn. It was printed in Woodstock, Ill. Brown Printing, C&EN’s longtime partner in publishing, owns both of those facilities as well as one in East Greenville, Pa.

The Jan. 5, 1998, issue of C&EN was our inaugural one with Brown. For the second issue there, our 75th anniversary special issue, Rudy Baum, then the managing editor, bravely traveled to Waseca to do the press check. (I say bravely because Waseca is about an hour-and-a-half drive southwest of Minneapolis, not a trip for the fainthearted in the winter.) A press check is a final approval of a printed job as the presses are running.

We were pleased with how smoothly those first issues in Waseca went, the result of extensive planning and knowledgeable, helpful folks at Brown—at the corporate level and at Waseca.

Our relationship with Brown grew quickly to one of mutual respect while we worked together week after week on C&EN. As our Brown friends learned they could rely on us to be on schedule, technically sound, and creative and flexible when faced with unusual circumstances, we learned that they were just as dependable.

Over the years we’ve made changes in the way C&EN looks; for example, we’ve had three distinct designs and we changed our trim size (our physical dimensions) in 2006. We’ve changed how we deliver pages to Brown, from transmitting files over a dedicated data line to uploading print-resolution PDFs directly into Brown’s imposition software via a Web portal. Brown has been an active partner in all of these changes, assisting in ones we instigated and helping us adapt to the changes in technology they made.

This latest change, the move to Woodstock, enables C&EN to be printed more cost-effectively and with less paper waste. Because we also offer a digital edition, our print run is smaller now, and Brown has presses at Woodstock that are well suited for us.

And this transition has gone smoothly, too, eased by the Brown teams at Waseca and Woodstock, and masterfully orchestrated by Robin Mattson, who has been our sales rep with Brown for all 15 years, and Denise Butler, also a sales rep. We started discussing the move in May, made the decision in late July, and flipped the switch with this issue. Quite a feat.

I visited the Woodstock plant, about an hour’s drive northwest of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, in July as part of our decision-making. It’s an impressive facility—no surprise there—and the folks I met with are every bit as knowledgeable, professional, and personable as their counterparts in Waseca.

Although we’re excited to be building new relationships with the folks in Woodstock, we’re a bit sad to leave Waseca and our Brown friends there. For space reasons, I can’t mention them all here, but I’ll single out three: Dennis Brauns­hausen, client services director; David Jorgensen, premedia specialist and our tech guru; and Lyle Kelling, C&EN’s first and only customer service rep in Waseca and our hero.

Lyle made a transition of his own a couple of weeks ago. He retired after 35 years with Brown. Lyle noted that the first and last issues of C&EN that he was in charge of were special issues: The first was our 75th anniversary issue, Jan. 12, 1998, and the last was our 90th anniversary issue, Sept. 9. After working with Lyle for the past 15 years, I can emphatically state that Lyle treated every issue of C&EN as special. I valued his expertise—and made shameless use of his experience and knowledge. I likely also tested his patience more than once, but he never let on, a Minnesotan through and through.

On behalf of C&EN, thank you, Lyle, for your expert, careful, and dedicated stewardship of C&EN. We wish you well and are happy that you’ll now have time to set your own schedule rather than ours!

Views expressed on this page are those of the author and not necessarily those of ACS.


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