Steven Rigby: A Signature Career
From high-school graphics student to Washington State University director of printing, Steven Rigby has excelled as a production pro, plant manager, and all-around class act.July 2012 By Dawn Greenlaw-Scully
At age 14, Steven Rigby became an Eagle Scout, the highest achievement in the Boy Scouts of America program. As he completed the final leap to the top of the Scouting ranks, he also took his first step toward a top-notch career in printing.
"I received my Eagle Scout certificate, which was signed by [then] President Richard Nixon in blue ink," recalls Rigby, now director of Printing Services at Washington State University. "I wondered how that [signature] happened, since I was quite sure he didn't sign it himself."
Rigby's curiosity about ink-on-paper reproduction inspired him to sign up for the graphics program at Provo High School in Provo, Utah. "It just sucked me in," he declares. He credits his teacher as a major influence and mentor.
Rigby proved to be a more-than-apt pupil. So much so that, when the graphics teacher went out on sabbatical during Rigby's senior year in the mid-1970s, guess who served as the unofficial replacement?
"Well, the English teacher came in to take roll, but I really taught the classes," Rigby reveals. "I just thought it was a fascinating thing how ink got from here to there."
Rigby went on to attend Brigham Young University (BYU), where he studied business and advertising. He also met his wife Debbie there. They now have five children and nine grandchildren.
During his first year at BYU, Rigby also worked at the university in-plant. "My first job was melting lead for the linotype machine," he recounts. In the latter half of his college years, he worked for a couple of commercial shops in Provo.
After graduation, starting around 1980, Rigby worked at a few large commercial printers, including Paragon Press, in Salt Lake City. He served as pressman, paper buyer and sales rep, as well as in bindery and prepress departments, and eventually worked his way up to management.
"I'm a very hands-on manager and I'm willing to get my hands dirty with everyone else," he remarks. "Plus, no one can bamboozle me because I've done it all." His business and advertising knowledge came in handy when dealing with clients.
In 1995, Rigby left the commercial world to join Salt Lake City's University of Utah as plant manager. "When you go from a commercial shop to a university in-plant, you're in a completely different environment," he asserts. "I liked it better. I felt like I was contributing to a bigger cause at the university."