An Accidental Love of Printing
Robbie Feazel came upon his career in printing by chance. It wasn’t a field he had ever considered entering, but when a friend told him about an open position at a local printing company, he decided to take it. That’s when his world changed.
Now assistant VP and manager of Print, Mail and Procurement at Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, Feazel started out at ColorWorks running an ABDick 360 printing press, while educating himself on the graphic design element of the job.
“I would stay there sometimes until 2 to 3 a.m. ... learning graphic design and how to set up files,” he recalls. “So I sort of self-taught myself the graphic design piece. I was fascinated by some of the old technology, but it was really cool to me then.”
Enthusiastic about his newfound passion for printing, Feazel took a job at Connell Printing in 1994. He worked there for four years, before deciding to buy the company in 1998. He ran the business for several years and then sold it.
After buying and running a general store business for a year, Feazel wanted to get back into printing by purchasing another print company. But when the deal fell through, he went browsing on Monster.com and saw a position at Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta’s in-plant. He applied and got the job as a press operator.
Upon arriving at the in-plant in 2004, Feazel found a shop that was heavy in offset equipment with a press that ran non-stop. His journey up through the ranks was swift.
“When I first started at the bank,” he notes, “I ran a Heidelberg GTO, advanced up to supervisor and now I run Print, Mail and Procurement.”
Upon becoming manager in 2013, Feazel decided to transition the in-plant over to digital, where he says the bulk of the work is produced. He also implemented many other changes and improvements in the shop over the years.
Under his watch, the in-plant added a Xerox Versant 80, a Xerox Color 1000 press with a Plockmatic bookletmaker, Pitney Bowes Connect 3000 and 1000 postage machines, a cutter from Challenge Machinery, an automated shrink wrap machine, a Presstek platesetter for the in-plant’s offset presses and a perfect binder. On the software end, Feazel chose EFI’s PrintSmith MIS solution and Report Writer, and Pitney Bowes’ SendSuite Tracking and Live software.
Feazel also points out that he worked with Property Management to redesign and construct the Print, Mail and Procurement department. Some of the additions included: two offices, a lobby area with customer window, a conference room and a stockroom that includes 200-plus inventory office supply items for the bank.
A Full-Service Printer
Today, Feazel considers the five-employee in-plant a full-service printing company since it produces a variety of printed products including brochures, presentation booklets, collateral materials for various events, conference materials, envelopes, business cards and a host of other printed products.
With a positive attitude that is contagious, Feazel says that he keeps his staff motived with regular team meetings where he focuses on three key questions: “What works, what didn’t work, and what are we going to do differently?”
“We just really get in there and collaborate and work together,” he explains. “We also have a lot of one-on-one meetings with each other.” Feazel adds that he is proud to be working at the bank and is grateful that the in-plant is located on site. “Everyone is just great to work with.”
Feazel shares that his biggest success as a manger so far has been his ability to calmly work through and handle any problems that come his way. He also notes a success that wasn’t quite a success at first, but in the end, worked out.
Vision and Persistence
“I’ve always had a vision of what the bank could do and the resources that could come in,” he says. “I presented a plan in front of senior management — drawing a revenue model. While I didn’t get a ‘yes’ then on my idea, I took it as ‘no’ just means ‘not right now.’ So I scaled the idea back to just one system bank. It was later presented as a pilot and supported. So far, the pilot has been successful, and because of that, we are able to reach out to other system banks and grow the business. What this means to the in-plant is added value and a source of revenue.”
Moving forward, Feazel notes that some of the major goals of the in-plant are to get a Web storefront established, and to start looking at inkjet printers and begin phasing out the in-plant’s offset printers. Another goal, he adds, is to market the in-plant internally.
“One of the highlight programs that we’ve done for the past two years is to really turn our in-plant into a profit center, and that is going really well,” he remarks, “so we’re going to really market that and target some other areas of our shareholders.”
One upcoming addition to the in-plant that Feazel is excited about is the installation of a Mutoh ValueJet 1626UH LED UV hybrid printer with a Mutoh ValueCut 1300 cutter. The new printer, scheduled to be installed in April, will be used to produce signs, banners, posters, foam boards, cutouts and vinyl products. Feazel notes that this press will come in handy to produce materials for the bank’s meetings.
“I am really looking forward to having some fun with the new hybrid inkjet printer,” he concludes.
When not working at Print, Mail and Procurement, Feazel enjoys spending time with his wife, six children and grandchild, and enjoys rock climbing, kayaking and mountain biking.