A New Lease on Life

Leslie Rutledge, director of Graphic Services at Brown University, goes over a proof with Jim Smith (left), plant manager, and James Watkins, DI press operator.

Matt Trahan, Indigo and DI press operator, inspects a print produced on the in-plant’s HP Indigo press 5000.

Brown University Graphic Services staff outside Manning Hall.

Since adding this Duplo System 5000 bookletmaker, the in-plant has been able to deliver higher-quality work at faster speeds. Operating it here is Kennedy Arias. In the background, Joe Volante takes finished books off the conveyor to box them for shipping.

Bob Yuski and Phoebe Pitassi

To increase efficiency and cut costs, Brown University carried out a full-scale reorganization of its Graphic Services department. After adding equipment, and cross-training staff, the Rhode Island in-plant is busier than ever.

In the summer of 2010, Leslie Rutledge moved from her position at San Diego State University, where she was manager of ReproGraphics, to head up the Graphic Services department at Brown University, in Providence, R.I.

“Prior to my arrival, the university had undergone a reorganization, which had to be completed by June 30th,” Rutledge says. Targeting redundancy, the university was combining administrative services to achieve greater efficiencies.

“The decision was made to consolidate eight or nine graphic designers from different departments under the director of Graphic Services to create a centralized team to provide cost-effective, high-quality design,” she says. “The print facility was left alone until my arrival.”

When Rutledge came on board in August of 2010, she was charged with examining how best to reposition the 20-employee Graphic Services department to bring more value to the university.

“It was bigger than simply incorporating an art director and an additional graphic designer into the services,” she recalls. “We needed to figure out who we wanted to be, how we would position ourselves, and how we could modernize and update the department to meet the university’s current and future needs.”

Rutledge says she had terrific support from her boss, Elizabeth Gentry, assistant vice president, Financial & Administrative Services, throughout the entire process.

“She has supported me a million percent,” Rutledge lauds.

A Familiar Situation

Rutledge had faced a similar challenge when she first came to San Diego State University.

“Based on those experiences, the first thing I did was reach out and talk to customers,” she says. “I wanted to know what they liked, what they didn’t like, where they thought we needed to improve and how we might be able to capture the design work that was being outsourced to firms off campus.”

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  • Leslie

    Letter to the Editor:

    Thank you for the November 2011 article referencing Graphic Services at Brown University. In my new position, I was grateful to have the opportunity to apply new resources and equipment to enhance the operation. These changes have allowed the department to continue its long standing tradition of profitability and contribution of those profits to support other University initiatives – something we are very proud of.

    Many thanks.
    Leslie Rutledge, Director of Graphic Services