Chris Barclay: Connected In Connecticut

Chris Barclay, manager of Printing & Mailing Services at Connecticut College in New London, Conn.
Involving staff in decisions and focusing on customer satisfaction are the hallmarks of Chris Barclay's management style at Connecticut College Printing and Mailing Services.

Ask Chris Barclay how he became interested in the printing industry, and he points back to 1976, his freshman year of high school. He remembers being hooked after taking his first graphic arts class.

“When I was a kid, my dad told me I had some choices,” says Barclay, manager of Printing & Mailing Services at Connecticut College in New London, Conn. “He said you can go in the military, you can go to work, or you can go to college. Since nobody in my family had gone to college, I said ‘I will go to college.’ I picked the only college that I knew had a graphic arts program, Central Connecticut State University.”

After graduation, Barclay worked for commercial printers for several years, running presses, setting type and doing bindery jobs. In 1989, Barclay came across an ad in the newspaper. Connecticut College, located just minutes from his home town of Norwich, Conn., was looking for a new print shop manager. Barclay landed the gig and has never looked back.

But the job hasn’t come without its challenges. When he started, the shop had a modest budget of $90,000. The equipment was outdated, and there were only about a dozen copiers on campus. Also, the in-plant did not have such a great reputation.

“My predecessors just weren’t nice to people,” Barclay explains. “Everyone was afraid to come to the print shop. It took me five years to do damage control.”

Today, Barclay oversees a staff of four full-time, one part-time and six student employees and has a budget of $700,000. The campus has a fleet of 65 networked Canon copiers. The school’s Camel Print system allows users to send documents from anywhere to any machine in the network. Users can even print from smart devices.

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