University of Virginia Printing Celebrates a Century of Service

During the celebration, Bob Graves, printing technician senior, shows guests samples of jobs produced on the five-color Heidelberg Speedmaster SM74.

Not many in-plants can boast they’ve been around for 100 years, but this year University of Virginia (UVA) Printing and Copying Services got to join that elite club. The in-plant got its start in 1912, when William Howard Taft was president and the first World War was still two years away.

The 35-employee printing and mailing operation recently celebrated its century of service to the Charlottesville, Va., university with an open house celebration that drew 85 attendees. They toured the shop, enjoyed refreshments and won prizes (including an iPad).

“It’s a pretty big milestone to reach 100,” remarks Director Kelly Hogg. “We wanted to use the opportunity to show off the capabilities that we have.”

And show them off they did. As guests circulated around the shop floor, most of the in-plant’s seven offset presses—including a five-color Heidelberg Speedmaster—were churning away. The staff even fired up the Heidelberg Windmill letterpress (not quite as old as the in-plant), which never fails to draw a crowd. The in-plant’s Kodak NexPress 2100 and Roland SOLJET PRO III XC-540 wide-format printer/cutter grabbed lots of attention as well.

“We do tons of retractable banners,” reveals Hogg. “We just did a 79-foot banner.”

With such state-of-the-art capabilities, including oversight of five copy centers and a fleet of 700 MFDs, the in-plant has come a long way over the past 100 years.

“They have had to reinvent themselves to remain viable,” praised Leonard Sandridge, former executive VP and COO of the university, in a UVA Today article. “They took it upon themselves to change and become more responsive to the market and fill a gap.”

Though historical records are hard to come by, Hogg notes that in 1965, UVA helped change the in-plant industry when Manager Chic Moran hosted the first ACUP conference, during which members voted to call the new group “The Association of College and University Printers.”

The in-plant moved several times in the past century, and relocated into its current facility in 1985. Long-time director Scott Keeney took over in 1993, and remained in charge until his untimely death in 2006.

“When he took over, the department was a loss operation,” noted Hogg, who was hired by Keeney in 2005. “He turned it around to be a profit shop.”

Keeney did this by bringing in several very large jobs and adding services like design, mail and print-for-pay. The in-plant remains profitable today. As an auxiliary, it gets no university funding, so all new equipment is paid for out of the in-plant’s sales. This includes the five-color press, the NexPress and the Intoprint envelope press, all of which Hogg has added in recent years. It also includes the 15,000-square-foot addition the in-plant had built in 2008 (UVA’s first LEED-certified building).

The shop’s most recent achievement is attaining Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) chain-of-custody certification through the new InGreen group certification program.

Hogg feels the in-plant’s 100-year celebration was a big success, and says it even brought in some new business from attendees who hadn’t previously been customers.

“I think it speaks pretty highly that we’ve been here 100 years, trying to be everything to everybody within the university,” he says.

Bob has served as editor of In-plant Graphics since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited more than 130 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, cosponsored by IPMA and In-plant Graphics.
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