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In-plants Mourn Loss of Ray Burd

February 2014 By Bob Neubauer
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The University of Scranton is still reeling from the loss of one of its most dedicated employees on January 1. Ray Burd, director of Printing and Mailing Services for the past 24 years, was killed by a falling branch while cutting down a dead tree on his property in northeast Pennsylvania. He had just turned 63 and was planning to retire in two years.

“The staff loved him,” lauds Kevan Bailey, who has been asked to serve as interim director of Printing and Mailing Services. “He was always fair. He never held grudges, and he didn’t let the small things bother him.”

Bailey was working at the in-plant as a press operator when Mr. Burd started as shop manager in 1989.

“Ray took me under his wing and was my mentor,” says Bailey, who was impressed with the many improvements Mr. Burd brought over the years. He oversaw the merger of print and mail at Scranton in the 1990s, took over and managed the campus copier fleet program, and introduced the concept of variable data printing to the skeptical university. Mr. Burd had faith that VDP would take off, and sure enough, over time, he convinced the campus of this. Today, Bailey says, the in-plant prints variable data and images almost every day.

Well-respected for his publishing and printing expertise, Mr. Burd was often consulted by faculty, staff and designers for advice on their publications.

“His knowledge gave him the capability of looking at something and heading off a big problem before it started,” Bailey says.

Mr. Burd fought to centralize all university printing under the in-plant’s control and then oversaw the procurement of outside printing from qualified printers. 

Mr. Burd’s impact extended far beyond Scranton, Pa., though. 

“We often called upon one another for advice and/or insight,” remarks James Sabulski, manager of Print and Mail Services at nearby Misericordia University. “I definitely received more than I could offer. Ray was a true professional in all aspects of his work, and he will be greatly missed. His premature passing is a tragic loss to the graphic arts community and anyone who ever aspired to achieve excellence.”

 

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