The Ethical Expert-Jack Grabber
He enjoyed working in an agency environment because the job afforded him the opportunity to work on many different types of catalogs. The primary disadvantage for Graber, who was eager to learn as much as possible about the industry, was the lack of in-house equipment to study and master.
But Graber proved resourceful, claiming to have "picked up a lot" on trips to printing plants. "I wasn't just going for a press OK; I wanted to check out the supplier's equipment and capabilities," he remembers. "I also studied on my own via books and became quite proficient in the areas of printing and color seps. I made the extra effort because I always liked what I did."
Putting theory into practice
AGA reaped many rewards from Graber's educational en-deavors. "Jack was instrumental in the company's transition to a direct-to-plate workflow," reveals Gay Gunderson, who heads up quality control for AGA. "He fostered the idea, investigated the technology and was very enthusiastic throughout the whole project. He was one of the leaders in the digital arena here."
Gunderson is quick to add that Graber's value extends far beyond his technical savvy. "He is very hardworking and one of the most morally responsible business people I've ever worked with," she stresses. "He always considers the best interests of all parties, especially clients' interests."
One client—Brylane—obviously agreed. In 1996, after deciding to bring purchasing and production in house at its Roaman's division, the cataloger tapped Graber as the man for the job and made him an offer. Graber accepted. "Starting up an internal operation was a challenge, especially since Roaman's has no stores and depends on catalogs as its primary sales vehicle," he notes. "But I saw it as an exciting opportunity."
Recently, Graber helped guide the installation of the first desktop publishing systems at Roaman's. "We used to have an agency writing copy and producing page files, which we'd send to the printer, and then monitor color proofs and blueprints," he recounts. "Now we've purchased high-end Macs and FPO scanners, are writing our own copy and instituted telecommunications with (Pewaukee, WI-based) Quad/Graphics for OPI." As for CTP: "All I did was call up Quad and say 'I want to go CTP.' I ran a job, saw the results and that was that. I went CTP."