A Lifetime Commitment-Steven Grande
Stephen Grande has made a name for himself in the magazine industry by focusing on honesty, integrity and continued education.
Stephen Grande was born into publishing. His interest in manufacturing was fostered by his father, a bindery foreman who employed young Grande during summer breaks from school. While on the job, Grande learned the elements of printing and publishing. He spent time in the pressroom and bindery, and, as he puts it, "sort of grew into the business."
The desire to develop his knowledge of the business led Grande to high-school years spent studying at the New York School for Printing. During that time, he held jobs at several small print shops in the New York area. At the ripe age of 21, Grande landed a position with McGraw-Hill. While there, he obtained degrees from the New York Technical College and New York University's Center for Graphic Arts Management and Technology.
With the valuable experiences he gained during his employment with McGraw-Hill, Grande eventually found himself at CMP Media, Manhasset, NY, where he is now employed as the vice president of manufacturing.
According to James Pizzo, director of international commercial operations for CMP Media, Grande has been vitally instrumental in the company's growth, particularly in the international realm.
Among his accomplishments at CMP, Pizzo notes that Grande has been responsible for coordinating the editorial department's transition to desktop publishing and "implemented sound solutions to the escalating paper price demands of the past two years." Grande is now focusing his attention on developing the best methods for CMP's entry into the digital publishing environment, adds Pizzo.
In his more than 20 years in the industry to date, Grande claims to have learned many lessons. Perhaps the most valuable of all is the need to foster relationships with colleagues.
"It's always important to maintain communication with people—as many people as you know in the business—on a regular basis," Grande explains. "Even if it's an e-mail on Thanksgiving … just to say, 'Hi,' because you tend to cross paths with these people at some point down the road.
"When we did my first audit here at CMP," Grande continues, "we had a show daily, which was a massive project. … To produce that daily, I actually drew upon a relationship I had developed more than 15 years ago at McGraw-Hill, where we'd been producing an international magazine. It was printed in Switzerland, and I had established a relationship with a gentleman who ran the printing firm, called IRL. For the daily, he and I were able to figure out how to put together the publication and produce this massive project on very short notice."
It is apparent that Grande has, indeed, made a lot of true friends in this industry, considering the numerous nominations he re-ceived for the Production Exec-utive's Hall of Fame Award.
Mike Pusateri, general manager of Inserts USA, worked with Grande at McGraw-Hill. He recalls how their relationship began: "We got to be friends while he was working for McGraw-Hill, a customer of ours, and when Steve went over to CMP, he had obviously liked the type of service we'd given him, and he asked us to start quoting some jobs for him. Before I knew it, he had become one of our biggest customers.
"He's extremely knowledgeable," adds Pusateri, "and he has a great rapport with people. That is really critical in this business. … He's very fair. If you do a job for Steve, and if you have a problem with it, he's not going to jump all over you. He sits down with you and tries to reason it out. He's also the type of guy that, once he's established a relationship with you, and if you do your job well, he's very loyal."
"Steve has risen to the top of the production department at CMP Media because of his dedication to the production process and its relation to the success of each publication," explains Phil Palmer, senior sales representative, R.R. Donnelley & Sons, New York City. "Steve has an understanding of production that reaches far beyond 'the making of a magazine.' … He is extremely fast in understanding new technology and how value is much greater than price alone."
Similar views of Grande are shared by many industry representatives, including Thomas O'Reilly, president of Hassett Air Express, who notes, "As Vice President of Manufacturing at CMP Media, (Steve's) contributions to publishing are quite extensive, and his dedication to his craft has led the way for CMP's extensive growth."
"I have not met anyone in the industry who has as keen an operational sense as Steve does," confirms Patrick Nohilly, manufacturing business manager, CMP Media. "Steve also maintains a very diverse staff (that) is continually challenged to seek ways to do things 'better, faster and cheaper.' I have seen his goal achieved more than I previously thought possible."
His colleagues at CMP agree. "(Steve) has overseen the meteoric growth of one of the country's greatest business publishers. He is on the cutting edge of all of the printing industry's new technologies. His publications require high quality, fast turnaround, precise and de-pendable distribution. He has organized this effort nationally and internationally with constant innovation," adds CMP Media's Vice President of Manufacturing Henry Fry.
Harry Quadracci, president and founder of Quad/Graphics, Pewaukee, WI, gives kudos to Grande's commitment to education: "Steve is as committed to education as he is to the printing and publishing arenas." Not only is Grande continuing his own education by pursuing a post-graduate degree, he actively participates in industry task forces sponsored by the GCA, SWOP committee and the MPA. He also holds memberships with the APPM, MPA Postal Committee and the APPC.
Some might think that with such a full plate, Grande would have little time to devote to much else. Yet, he prides himself on being committed to the professional development of others.
"At (CMP), we have an institute for student achievement, which is a philanthropic organization that the company founded and developed to support youths at risk. I spend some time developing contributions to that effort and to their promotional materials, and, of course, I spend time with some of the kids in the program," Grande explains humbly.
For Grande, gratification stems from his role in helping others attain their professional goals. "The most important thing for me is seeing people on my staff who have either continued to grow within our organization or who have left and continued to grow in other positions," notes Grande. "I think as a citizen in this industry, you really owe it to people to allow them to grow personally and to allow the industry as a whole to succeed."
So what advice does Grande give to the young people he mentors or to his CMP staff? "I really stress honesty, hard work, integrity and a super-high sense of responsibility," says Grande. "Given that, you'll be able to succeed. Everything else is, after all, a learned skill."
You hear pride in Grande's voice when he talks about receiving the Hall of Fame Award: "(The award) sort of says that there's recognition that you're on the right track and that people do appreciate what you do. On those days when you go home and ask, 'What's it all worth?'—well, this is what it's all worth."
-Gretchen A. Kirby