I started with Walsworth in February 1995. Now I'm showing my age a little bit. (laughs) I turned 50 on October 29. So yeah, happy birthday! No, you know what? Age is just a number and I'm kind of excited about it.
I actually started in the plant. At that time, Walsworth manufactured saddle-stitched yearbooks for a company called Olan Mills Photography. They took family pictures, baby pictures, and elementary school photos. We produced their elementary school books. I worked with that type of product. I then moved forward and worked in other various places throughout production and the office, including yearbook customer service and commercial customer service. My most recent position (prior to my current role) was production manager. I am now the Plant Manager of our Brookfield location.
They're so different. In commercial, I dealt with million-dollar customers, high-end books, and catalogs. You had to have answers right on the spot.
With yearbook, there's a fun side that commercial doesn't have, and I think it's the audience. You're dealing with kids and advisers. There are a lot of creative things that you can do with themes and putting a book together.
I developed a lot of strong bonds with my reps and my customers. When my customers came in, I met with them, and they were in the plant for two or three days. You would go to lunch and dinner with them. Every time we had a great press run where they loved the product.
We had a customer with McKenzie catalogs. They did taxidermy catalogs and were a big catalog customer. I really got to know Rob for all their press runs. When it was time for a press run, he loved coming here. He would be at the plant non-stop and sometimes stay in the customer lounge all night. For him, everything was personal.
I hit the ground running. Coffee is definitely a need for me. I'm very energetic. My “open door” policy probably gets me in trouble sometimes, because I usually have to shut the door to get things done.
I walk around the plant first thing, checking to see that everything is going well. And then I talk to people and answer questions and emails.
We’re constantly shuffling because it's cover season right now. For example, we had a big deadline recently and received about 2,000 covers in the door. There are a lot of moving pieces and parts this time of year.
I love a good success story. I love seeing ideas. From the beginning, I love to see what our customers have in mind. I love pages submitted on time and delivering books 100% on time. I take pride in helping from start to finish, to let them know that we're handling things here, and that we'll take care of the manufacturing.
It's very important and sometimes I find myself minimizing that role. I have worked very hard to progress to the role I am currently in. Hopefully, I am empowering others to do the same.
I grew up in Marceline and graduated from Marceline High School. I have lived here all my life. Matt and I built a house here about 25 years ago.
We live about five miles outside of Marceline on a gravel road. I hate gravel because I'm constantly putting air in my tires.
I have four kids. I lost my oldest child when he was 17. Zach would be 29, and Katie is 26. She just turned 26 and went off my insurance, which is great, right? She's in D.C. and works for a non-profit. Maddie is a senior in college. She's at UCM majoring in elementary education. She's student teaching right now and just went through her first parent-teacher conferences!
Max is 18. He just graduated high school. He's a freshman at UCM. I'm an empty nester.
I have never found another book like this: it’s called The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom. I love historical fiction. It is about slaves on a plantation and what they had to do, their struggle to find love and be part of the world back then.
I love good romantic comedies. I'm a sucker for a good love story like You've Got Mail.
Matt and I have not taken a lot of vacations. Most of our vacations were to girls' softball tournaments. But as long as we were together as a family, that would be my favorite place to be.
This year, something that's resonated with me is “Know better, Do better.”
When issues are brought up, I’m saying, “Did you know better?” Yes. And I'm saying, “Did you do better?” Or “We've got to do better.”
Oh, goodness, I'm an open book. I have recently paid to be in a football pool with my husband. It is an app. Every week, I’m doing NFL picks, and numbering one through 16 or however many games are played that week. I am aggressive with that, way more aggressive than I thought it would be.
I've almost been here 30 years, and in the last 20, there was this huge camaraderie. Even though we were working countless hours, nobody complained. You knew you had to do it to get the job done. We would all meet at the OK (Tavern) on a Friday, and have beers together, from the plant manager down to people on the floor
I love to read but don't read as often as I should. I'm going to start a flower farm, a wildflower farm, in our backfields… so that's something fun.
One strong word that comes to mind is stability. It has provided the best stable environment for us to raise our kids. We met, went to college for printing and came back here. We knew we wanted to raise our children here. We always felt like we were successful here and doing the best that we could. It feels like family.
Editor's note: Three generations of the Cupp family have worked for Walsworth – Laurie’s husband Matt worked at the company for several years; Joe Cupp, Laurie’s father-in-law, was with the company for over 50 years before retiring in 2017 as Executive Vice President of International Sales; Beverly, Joe’s wife, was employed at Walsworth for 25 years, and both Martin and Mary Cupp ( Joe’s parents) worked for Walsworth in the company's earlier years.
I love to see people succeed. I love to empower them and see the knowledge that they've gained over the years. I love to see people believe in themselves and what they're capable of.