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Career Story: Digital Print Services Manager

Digital Print Services Manager

Job Title: Digital Print Services Manager

Type of Company: American Kennel Club

Education: BA, English •• MA, Communication/Journalism

Previous Experience: I have had a variety of jobs in media, writing, education, designing curricula, computer applications, program development & project management.

Job Tasks: Our department designs and maintains digital designs for over 100 print applications. Daily work would include thousands of printed material output on high-speed production printers. Our monthly image count is about 1.2 million.

In the design program, we control layout -- fonts, text placement, graphics, etc. -- based on business rules and conditional logic we build into the design. In one print application, that logic may yield multiple variations of a letter or certificate for correspondence going to hundreds of households.

Each morning, we check for files that failed overnight due to bad data. We research the data, correct it, and reprint the corrected file.

After fixing daily work, we may have planning meetings with other departments or work on existing projects. When new applications are ready, we migrate them from the development environment to the test environment. Then, we release test data to the new app to see if it works. When it's been thoroughly tested, approval sets are printed and circulated for sign-off. After approval, the application can be moved to the production environment.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: the best part of my job? There's always something new, always something to do. The work requires the ability to see and plan for the big picture while identifying and planning for the details.

Worst: deadlines can be tight. One may be on call for nights or weekend work. Accountability is high.

Job Tips: Take programming courses in C, C++, SQL, as well as Adobe Acrobat and Live Cycle. Also, pick up a minor in page layout design.

The job requires a good balance of left brain/right brain.

Additional Thoughts: Read a lot. Practice thinking out of the box. Be a solution-finder, not an excuse maker.

Ask how something can be done, never if something can be done. Learn to step back and look at things from different angles. Form a project team with diverse thinkers, never with like thinkers.

Take the Myers-Briggs personality test. Understand who you are and who you need working with you to form a good team.

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