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2004 HALL OF FAME Peter McLean -- Industry Finds McLean

October 2004
By Erik Cagle

Senior Editor

Of all the current and past inductees into the Printing Impressions/RIT Printing Industry Hall of Fame, Peter McLean is perhaps the unlikeliest candidate.

It's not a knock on McLean, who certainly has carved a name for himself after 30 years with 3M Co. and nearly a decade as COO with Continental Web Press, of Itasca, IL. It's just that printing was nowhere to be found on McLean's radar.

"It was never my intention to pursue a career in printing," he says. But 40 years later, he's pursuing it with a passion.

Rewind to 1995. McLean is serving as a liaison between 3M and its largest printing products customers. No longer active in the commercial printing arena today—large-format consumables a notable exception—3M was then a leading manufacturer of graphic arts film, offset printing plates and off-press proofing products.

In his capacity at 3M, McLean was helping printers institute Total Quality Management (TQM), a responsibility and accountability management philosophy that enables employees to set and reach objectives. McLean spoke at virtually every printing industry event and, during one such engagement, he met Ken (himself a past Hall of Fame inductee) and Diane Field.

Timing is the golden door knocker for opportunity.

"Ken was looking for a person to essentially help with the day-to-day running of Continental Web," McLean remarks. "He and I had dinner one night, and we talked about the many beliefs that we shared. At the same time, I had an opportunity to take an early retirement package with 3M."

Rewind to 1965. A native of Scarsdale, NY, McLean played the trifecta of getting married, going to college at night and getting a job at the same time. The first employment position he encounters is in a mail room, where he had the pleasure of operating a Multilith 1250W press.

While working toward his business degree at Pace University in Pleasantville, NY, McLean lands a job with 3M. After nearly four years of night school, he opts to work full-time.

In the process, McLean forges a number of close industry ties, including Diane Romano, president of AGT-Seven. Romano soon found McLean to be a little off center, in a good way, and 25 years later she still holds him in high regard.

"Peter is a jokester," she says. "In the middle of a serious conversation, he will say something totally outrageous and disarming that totally catches you off guard. It took me about a year to not let him catch me. Now he can say outrageous and totally disarming things, and I make believe like I didn't hear it. I've been in the industry a very long time, and Peter just happens to be one of my favorite people."
 

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