Chris Gatzke, Ripon Prepress & Traxion Team Leader
Describe what you do at Walsworth.
I’m in charge of the Ripon Prepress Department, so I work on a lot of different things: prepping the files, receiving the files, making proofs and checking proofs, to making the plates and checking them and making the press proofs. That’s all handled by us. I oversee all the three shifts of the Prepress Department. I’m also in charge of both Traxion shifts on the digital side of our printing. That includes variable data, digital printing and storefronts. On this side of things, I manage five digital presses and short run finishing equipment.
Now, describe what you do like you are meeting someone at church or at a party.
Well that one’s kind of tough because we live in a small community, and I’ve been here for a long time. In this small community, everyone wanted to know why we needed 300 people to produce a weekly newspaper. So, when you met someone, you’d explain that you work at the printers, but you do way more than the newspaper, we produce books and a lot of other things you’d see in stores around town.
How long have you worked at Walsworth?
I’ve worked at Ripon Printers and now Walsworth — Ripon for 30 years.
What made you start working at Walsworth?
My wife was why I started here. I started here a month before we were married in 1989 and she was already working here. It was a full-time position, and I was looking for a solid career and a good company to work for.
What is the coolest thing you get to do at work?
Everything. It’s not just one thing. I’m not just sitting at a desk typing all day, or sitting by a press, I get to do all of it. I can make plates, produce things on the digital side, create the storefronts, talk to customers and plan for the future. I’ve got a great team and they’re a big reason I come in everyday, so it’s also about the people I get to work with.
What is your favorite work story to tell?
I was first hired to work in Opticopy, and on my first day here they said they forgot to give me a color blind test. I’m color blind, and so I failed that. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to do the job, and I had already left my previous job. But the owner of the company came in to meet me and said if he’s the best man for the job, he should stay, and I did.
What would you be doing if you were not at work?
I’ve coached cross country for Ripon High School for 30 years. I’ve also coached track and field there, as well as boys and girls basketball. I’ve also coached at the middle school and college levels. I’m also part of the maintenance crew at Ripon High School. When I’m not there, I like to spend time camping with my family.
If you were meeting a new customer and are working on a project for them, what would you like them to know about you?
In my 30 years here, I’ve done a number of roles. I can take your project from the art boards to the final product, I can invoice it, bill it, I can program your storefront, and we’re going to give you the best treatment we possibly can. And it’s all based on the experiences we’ve collectively had.