The 5 O'Clock Split
Tom Fogarty is celebrating his two-year anniversary this month as vice president of production for a sizable roster of Ascend Media’s business-to-business magazines and other publications. The company has production locations in Princeton and Califon, N.J., Deerfield, Ill., Overland Park, Kan., and Los Angeles, and Fogarty oversees a team of senior production leaders from those divisions.
Before heading up production at Ascend, Fogarty, 45, worked as a sales service representative and then spent a 10-year-stint as the production manager of Interact Publishing’s Telephony Magazine.
Fogarty chatted with Publishing Executive about his challenges and best strategies for heading up a fast-paced multititle production environment.
How did you get started in the business?
Fogarty: After graduation, I started as a customer service representative for W.A. Krueger Printing in my hometown of Pontiac, Ill., back in 1983. ... I was a CSR [customer service rep] for seven years. Looking back, it was great training background. You are involved with all aspects of manufacturing, you have customer interaction and you get a good understanding of contracts, pricing, paper, etc.
What are your duties and responsibilities?
Fogarty: My duties and responsibilities include printing-contract negotiation, paper-supplier negotiation and the strategic vision of the production department. I look to put as much process standardization in place as possible. I try to determine where there are efficiencies for cost reduction and quality improvement. Revenue protection is our primary goal.
Can you offer any practical tips for other production professionals?
Fogarty: ... Always try to engage your brain before opening your mouth. Try to avoid knee-jerk reactions. Fully investigate problems, don’t rush to judgment.
I’m a big believer in utilizing the Outlook calendar on our desktops. The company invests all this money on these great computers and the software to run them. And I like to utilize that. I’m pretty good at maintaining my schedule. That’s the right-angle guy in me in being a former printer and now on the publishing side of the business. You have to maintain a schedule.