2004 HALL OF FAME Peter McLean -- Industry Finds McLeanOctober 2004
In 30 years with 3M, McLean operated in divisions that were all related to the graphic arts industry—printing products, industrial graphics, duplicating products and visual products.
Upon joining Continental Web, McLean noticed a different hierarchy structure than the one he had left at the industry supplier. Instead of dealing with layers of management with a corporate giant like 3M, McLean found the decision-making process to be shorter and the response time for accomplishing tasks equally quicker with the Illinois printer.
Jack of All Trades
In dealing directly with the owner, McLean finds himself donning many hats. "This has enabled me to become a far better businessman, a far better manager, and probably a far better coach and cheerleader than I was in the past," he notes. "Because I work for the owners, I tend to bring a lot more passion to the job than I did when I worked for a company that had less of a personality and maybe less of a face."
Among the tools McLean feels he brought with him to Continental Web from the multibillion-dollar international concern were some organizational and structural skills, as well as multi-tasking abilities. "I hope that I've helped some people at Continental Web learn to do their jobs a little bit better," he says. "That's what it's all about."
What publishers like about McLean is his ability to come through in a critical, clutch situation. Jerry D'Elia, vice president of manufacturing and distribution at Hearst Magazines, feels McLean maintains a pulse on the needs and frustrations of publishers, and a keen sense on what needs to be done in order to solve problems.
The measure of good customer service, D'Elia stresses, is the ability to find resolution to the problem when a job has "gone south" for whatever reason. "I don't think about the times when a job is well-done; that's when everyone is high-fiving," D'Elia says. "I measure the worth of suppliers when a job doesn't go well. And it does happen. How do their people respond to the jobs that haven't gone as we had hoped?
"Peter stays cool, listens to what the problem is, doesn't get emotional, and stays focused and objective. He says, 'OK, what do we have to do to resolve the immediate problem? What do we have to do to satisfy the customer? What do I have to do to make my plant a better facility? And what can I do to ensure that this doesn't happen again?' On the one or two jobs where there have been issues, Peter was extremely helpful in finding a satisfactory resolution."
Other than his "absolute madness," Romano admires McLean for his knowledge, dedication to quality and consideration for other people. "Peter is a diligent worker," she says. "When he makes a commitment, he personally makes sure it gets done. Peter just has a lot of perseverance. He's also a fun person to be around and that's important."
As for any one person who has had the greatest impact on his professional life, McLean would be hard pressed to select a single candidate. He credits a number of people with tutelage, coaching and the sharing of knowledge.
"Certainly Ken and Diane Field have played a significant role in my learning process during the last nine years," McLean praises. "There were also several people at 3M who were great teachers and coaches. I've been blessed with some tremendous friends in the industry that are currently customers from whom I've also learned a lot. I try to learn something and take something away from everyone I meet."
Time Outside the Shop
McLean has found time to be involved in a number of industry-related groups and associations, as well as some civic endeavors. In 1993, he was the recipient of the Luminaire Award by Women in Production (WIP) and was one of the first board members for the organization. McLean is also heavily involved with Partnership in Print Production (P3), the organization created via the merger of WIP and the Association of Publication Production Managers (APPM).
He has been active in the planning of SPECTRUM, an annual conference held by IDEAlliance that examines current and emerging technologies, particularly digital, in the graphic arts arena.
He has been involved with the Graphic Arts chapter of the New York council of the Boy Scouts of America and, in 1996, he received the "Good Scout" award.
McLean is the father of two sons, Peter and Shawn, and now boasts five grandchildren. He loves to spend time with his wife of seven years, Susan, and the pair enjoy traveling the globe in search of new adventures. The couple is planning a return trip to Europe and has already visited Asia four times, including stops in Singapore, Hong Kong and Bali.
"Susan is a tremendous inspiration, a great mentor and my best friend," he reveals. "We love good food and good wine, and we consider ourselves to be extraordinarily lucky people."