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Printers Stung by Attacks

November 2001
NEW YORK—The worst terrorist attacks on U.S. soil in the history of this young country left more than 6,500 people missing and presumed dead, reduced a pair of 110-story skyscraper buildings to an unimaginable pile of twisted metal and human debris, and left many Americans feeling more vulnerable than they had ever thought possible.

The multi-pronged terrorist attack of September 11 was unfathomable: four airliner hijackings, two of which resulted in collisions with the World Trade Center towers in New York City and a third that left a large cavity in the Pentagon in Washington, DC. Fortunately, it appears passengers thwarted a fourth kamikaze mission aimed at Washington, forcing down the plane some 80 miles south of Pittsburgh.

Printer Perishes
It has been learned that a passenger on one of the planes was Doug Stone, co-owner of Odyssey Press, a book printing specialist in Dover, NH.

At press time, President Bush and the U.S. government had identified Saudi national Osama bin Laden at the core of a loosely connected network of terrorist groups responsible for the acts. Bush has promised Americans that bin Laden and those responsible for the spread of terrorism will be brought to justice, a campaign many observers predict will take several years to accomplish.

The recovery process—physically, emotionally, psychologically and economically—will likely take months and years as opposed to days and weeks. New York area printers have found that just getting to work, let alone functioning on a quasi-normal basis, is an arduous task.

R.R. Donnelley Financial, located at 75 Park Place, across the street from the World Trade Center 7 building, reported that all of its 400 employees had been accounted for within several days, according to Vera Panchak, director of corporate communications. She noted that management teams personally called each employee to verify they were safe, communicate the toll-free number for operations updates and offer the services of the company's Employee Assistance Program.

Donnelley's building was evacuated after the second tower was struck. Within 48 hours, Donnelley Financial had reestablished its Manhattan Service Center at 99 Park Ave., near Central Station, which is home to another Donnelley office. Donnelley Financial continues to serve its clients 24 hours a day from that location. While 75 Park Place has been evaluated and deemed structurally sound, Panchak noted that variables beyond the company's control, including utilities and access to the area, leaves the timetable for returning an unknown.

R.R. Donnelley Logistics is functioning, sans seven ZIP codes within one local post office (90 Church St.) in Manhattan that remain out of service.

Tanagraphics, a 32-year veteran in the city, which realizes a great deal of its work from affected businesses, is located a mere two miles from the area dubbed "ground zero." According to David Jurist, president of Tanagraphics, the focus of the company is to "deal with the reality of what has happened."

One way that was accomplished was through a prayer session the company had on the Friday following the attack. Employees joined hands on the fifth floor and recited the names of people who were missing.

"Cousins, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, friends," Jurist related. "There were too many names. People were carrying pictures around (of the missing people)."

IGI Earth Color, located midtown at West 34th St., did not reveal the extent of possible damage to employees or property, but reported that business activity was not its immediate concern. "Business takes a back seat at a time like this," notes Carin Mifsud, vice president and marketing director. "We're concentrating on supporting those who may have been affected."

Sandy Alexander of Clifton, NJ, less than 10 miles from ground zero, felt the sadness expressed by the city and the rest of the nation. "Some relatives of our employees, including New York City firemen, are not accounted for," states Jonathan Fogel, senior vice president and director of marketing for Sandy Alexander.

"Who knows what effect this will have on us. We haven't been thinking about the bottom line, but any company who supports any of the businesses in the city is going to be somewhat affected. But the last week or so, it's been tough to concentrate on business."

Mike Graff, a senior executive vice president with Sandy Alexander, was in Chicago at the PRINT 01 show when the attacks occurred. A firefighter who is a lieutenant with the New City volunteer fire department in Rockland County, Graff rented a car and drove back with several co-workers to New Jersey the following day, wanting to do whatever he could to aid in the rescue mission.

"I couldn't get our guy to drive home fast enough," says Graff, who phoned and actually spoke with a friend in one of the World Trade Center towers after it was struck. "I also have several friends who work for the New York City fire department."

Graff wasn't allowed to help at ground zero, but he covered for a Manhattan unit that lost 14 of its men. He praised his fellow comrades who entered the towers without regard for their own safety in order to rescue others.

Sandy Alexander is just one of many companies attempting to pick up the pieces and move forward. How long that could take is anyone's guess.

"The employees have been holding up well," Fogel advises. "As each day passes, we try to get closer to what we need to do. I don't think we'll ever totally get back to normal."

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