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Gateway Press — GPO Work and Beyond

October 2006 BY ERIK CAGLE
Senior Editor
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DO YOU want to know what kind of business is done at Louisville, KY-based Gateway Press? In almost any given month, turn to the “Business of Print” page in this magazine and look in the Government Printing Office (GPO) section. Gateway Press is more than likely to be listed among the one-time jobs.

In May, for example, Gateway landed a $2 million job to produce 6.8 million saddlestitched products—56 pages, two colors, four-color cover, aqueous coating, 81⁄2x11˝. Even sans a Printing Impressions listing of GPO Awards, it’s all a matter of public record, anyway.

But for Gateway Press, it’s just another day at the office for this $40 million annual performer, which has been working for ‘the man’ virtually its entire 56-year existence. Company President Nick Burrice, who’s been on board for all but the first dozen years of Gateway’s life, cannot recall a time without government printing jobs and, frankly, can’t imagine work life without it.

GPO, along with work for the state of Kentucky, accounts for roughly one-third of the business for this 240-employee operation. Some may look down their nose at printing for the U.S. government, believing it to be slop work, low-grade schedule filler. It is true that basic black-and-white jobs can be had from the GPO, and Gateway itself fills holes in the production schedule via the government jobs.

But while one might expect government work to be very regimented, by the book and bland, that simply isn’t true, Burrice notes.

“Many people look at government work as being fairly simple and cheap, but we do a lot of Level One and Two work,” he notes of the government’s rating scale of one to five, with one being the most demanding. “Level One work is just as tough as any demanding ad agency job. The GPO qualifies printers, imposing strict quality attributes that you have to meet.”

Not Just Filler Work
Darrell Embry, senior vice president for Gateway, notes that his company has ranked among the top GPO printers nationally for a number of years. Several factors have kept the commercial printer in good standing with GPO, perhaps none more than its approach toward the work. Gateway’s management does not distinguish between GPO and commercial customers.

“Many printers tend to treat GPO jobs as filler work,” he says. “GPO personnel have told me that many times they feel like second-class citizens when dealing with printers possessing this mentality. We try to go the extra mile to meet their needs in a timely manner. We make sure the GPO knows that we value and appreciate their business.”

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