Dale Wymore: Overcoming the Odds
When Dale Wymore joined Print Services at California State University, Chico (CSU, Chico), in 2005, the in-plant was in serious financial trouble, and the university was ready to close it down. Since the shop was already $250,000 in the hole, Wymore says there was nothing to lose. Within one year, she was able to turn the shop around and have it operating in the black, something it has done ever since.
Today, Print Services is a fully digital shop with a digital storefront and variable data capabilities. Wymore has turned around the in-plant’s bad reputation, gaining back its customers’ trust.
What’s even more incredible is that Wymore, now director of Business Services, began her career in sales and marketing for Mary Kay Inc., with no prior experience in print.
A Fresh Pair of Eyes
Wymore was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she met her husband, then a youth pastor. They got married and moved to California, where she worked in sales. After leaving her position as sales director at Mary Kay Inc., Wymore worked in sales and marketing for various regional community banks in Chico, Calif., eventually becoming VP of marketing at one bank.
She saw the writing on the wall, however, as banks began to consolidate, so she decided to apply to work at one of the biggest employers in the area: CSU, Chico.
Wymore took a position working for the associate VP of the university, who oversaw the print shop at the time. When she realized that the in-plant was in trouble and was going to be shut down, Wymore asked the associate VP if she could try to turn the shop around. Within the year, she was named manager of print services and in 2010 was promoted to manager of Business Services, which included mail services, shipping and receiving. Less than one year later, she was named director of Business Services, which brought on the added responsibilities of property management, surplus property and bus reservation.
All it took to turn around the failing print shop was a fresh pair of eyes and some determination. Wymore explains that she was once a customer of the print shop and knew first and foremost that there needed to be a bigger focus on customer service. She decided that the shop needed to be proactive with customers; if the in-plant knew it wasn’t going to meet the intended deadline, staff would call the customer, instead of waiting for the customer to call. It was simply a matter of better communication.
“When there was better communication, we started having successes and realizing that we could get things done,” she says.
It also took a lot of one-on-one visits with managers and directors of departments to begin to gain their trust again.
“As we started to improve turnaround time and workflows, I started hitting the pavement,” she says. “Part of the problem ... was revenue. People had a lack of confidence in the shop so they were going other places. ... I definitely put all of my marketing and sales skills to use.”
One of the biggest challenges was getting customers to realize that the print shop had turned a new leaf.
“Things people would say about the print shop hadn’t happened in five years, but they still believed it,” she says. “That’s difficult to hear.”
The digital storefront has also helped to ease communication with customers, as well as facilitate more automation in the shop because the user does all of the setup, giving them the ultimate control.
Master of Marketing
With Wymore’s extensive sales and marketing background, it’s no surprise that Print Services has developed an extensive list of marketing solutions to let other departments know its capabilities. Print Services now hosts open houses, makes one-on-one sales calls, sends holiday cards, runs seasonal specials, sends personalized invitations to different departments that might benefit from a specific technology and even developed a paper sample book to complement its Web-to-print platform.
It doesn’t hurt that Print Services earned Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) chain-of-custody certification in April of 2008, one of the first California universities to receive it.
And while the shop has seen tremendous success under Wymore’s tutelage, all good things must come to an end. As of July 1, 2017, Print Services was transferred to Information Resources, the department that runs the student copy center, presentation graphics and creative media and technology. Wymore explains that the decision was made to combine Print Services with a department that has similar goals for cost savings and efficiency purposes.
Wymore retains her title of director of Business Services at CSU, Chico and still oversees the other departments. Since Print Services will remain in the same building, Wymore will be available for mentoring and to ensure a smooth transition.
“The first year was very challenging,” she reflects. “But I have really loved it. It has been a great journey.”
Integral Part of the University
Even though her time with Print Services has come to an end, she says she is most proud that she was able to turn the department around and make it an integral part of the university. Many employees thought that they would lose their jobs if the in-plant closed down. Not only were employees able to retain their positions, Wymore watched some of them complete their careers in the jobs that they had grown to know and love.
Wymore says that she expects to retire in the next year or so, and will spend time with her husband, three married children and seven grandchildren, with an eighth expected to arrive in September. She loves traveling, spending time outdoors and reading, and she even brews her own Kombucha — a popular fermented tea known for its purported health benefits.