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Receptionists that Rule —DeWese

December 2009

MY NOVEMBER column was my 25th anniversary column and I just slap-my-head forgot about it. Twenty-five years is a long time to write a 1,250-word column every month and never miss an issue. I have missed most of the deadlines, but never an entire edition. I should have remembered.

So this marks the first column of my next 25 years of writing a column for Printing Impressions. I'll be 92 when I celebrate my golden column anniversary. I sure 'nough hope I'll be able to remember that anniversary or, for that matter, still be able to remember anything at that age.

I wonder what Attila the Editor will present me for my 50th anniversary. Probably an engraved Rolex. But wait, there probably won't be Rolexes in 2034.

I could speculate on the industry changes that will occur during the next 25 years and try to paint a picture of the Star Wars technology. There will be dramatic changes to the mechanical, economic and demographic aspects of our industry. But I'll leave that futuristic thinking to industry geniuses like Ray Prince (NAPL), Andy Paparozzi (NAPL), Dr. Joe Webb, Dr. Ron Davis (PIA) or Frank Romano. Those guys are experts on the technological and economic sides of printing. I'm more into the human side of the industry, so I'll write about people.

First Impressions Count

Here's one special person I can write about—Karen Howerton. And, I'm betting that no matter how much technology advances, Karen's role will be as important, and maybe more so, in 2034.

Howerton, fresh out of high school, was hired as the receptionist at Pearl Pressman Liberty Communications Group more than 42 years ago. Pearl Pressman is the largest general commercial sheetfed printer in the Philadelphia market.

The company is highly respected for its quality, professionalism, integrity and dependability. All of that starts with Karen, who has invested more than four decades perfecting her role as the face of Pearl Pressman Liberty.

Maybe she's not the face; maybe she's the handshake or perhaps she's the first impression of many impressions at Pearl Pressman. Oh heck, she's all three—the face, the handshake and the first impression.

It's worth it to call the company and hear Karen answer the phone. It's worth even more to visit the company and see how she greets people and attends to their needs while they wait in the lobby. There is no superficial or gratuitous inquiry from her about the weather or your health. Karen's remarks and questions are sincere, and aimed at making your day better.



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