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Remembering the Past, Preparing for the Future

Publishing Services at the City of Los Angeles recently celebrated its 100th Anniversary with an open house for its clients.

September 2007 By Joe Ranoia
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VERY YEAR, the City of Los Angeles Publishing Services holds an open house to show off its capabilities and meet its customers. This year’s event had a very special twist: it celebrated the in-plant’s 100th year of existence.

Established in 1907 with two police officers working part time, the city’s in-plant has flourished over the past century to become a 47-employee operation incorporating some of the latest digital technologies.

Only a handful of in-plants can boast 100 years of operation, and Publishing Services made the most of this accomplishment at its recent open house. The event celebrated the rich history of the shop while highlighting its present-day state-of-the-art capabilities.

“The open house serves a couple of purposes,” explains Michael Leighton, director of Publishing Services. “It allows our customers to see what we do. It also gives our employees that don’t normally have an opportunity to deal with the customers a chance to show the work that they do and the involvement that they have. So often it’s the front office...that has the face time with the customer. And I think that making the connection with the actual people working on the job and the people ordering the printing has some value to it as well.”

Remembering the Craft

Leighton, a 39-year printing professional, has a deep-rooted appreciation for the history and craft of printing.

“My dad was a linotype operator,” he reports. “I learned linotype when I was 12.”

This is why Leighton is just as proud of the three antique presses the in-plant uses for numbering and die-cutting as he is of the recently added Agfa Apogee digital workflow and Agfa :Avalon CTP system.

“These two Miehle B-50s have consecutive serial numbers,” Leighton enthuses. “I’ve got a picture of someone running them in 1948. We use them for die cutting door hangers. I mean, it’s specialized equipment for a specialized purpose. At the same time we have a Heidelberg DI, we’ve got a five-color 29? coming in, we’ve got the four-color and two-color 36? [presses].”

“I think that it’s important to have a bridge to the past, especially in something like [printing],” Leighton adds. “It is important to have kind of a link to that because it did come basically from a craft, and now it’s evolved into more of a science. But having that craftsmanship, having it important to the people who are working here, gives it another element.”
Quick Fact

On the roof above the City of Los Angeles Publishing Services sits one of the nation’s largest heliports. It houses the police force’s fleet of choppers. When foreign dignitaries arrive in town, they land on the heliport, amid tight security. In-plant employees often hear the helicopters taking off and landing above them.
 

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