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United Litho Plant Reports Progress in Tornado Recovery Effort

September 2004
ASHBURN, VA--On Friday evening, September 17, 2004, at approximately 6:00 p.m., the local United Litho plant experienced a near-miss from a tornado as the remains of Hurricane Ivan moved through Northern Virginia. Although a full crew was in the plant and working, everyone was able to reach shelter inside the facility and no one was injured. The tornado is believed to have not actually made contact with the plant, but the building did sustain damage from suction and high winds.

The roof was damaged or lost in several areas, including above the shipping dock and the pressroom. Several employee vehicles were damaged in the parking lot, including two that were picked up by the wind and thrown against the building. One of those severed the plant's incoming natural gas supply line.

On Saturday morning, clean-up and restoration efforts began in earnest. The company reportedly expected to resume full operation on Thursday morning, September 23. Its prepress and finishing departments were undamaged, and resumed operating once electrical power was restored. Operations management, scheduling and client services returned to work on Sunday afternoon.

United Litho expected any impact on job scheduling to be only for a few days at most. It has been working in concert with Sheridan Group sister companies to determine if production of any titles needed to be shifted to other plants.

The company released the following status update on Tuesday:

• 50% of the new roof has been installed over the pressroom. By installing the new roof from the lowest layers up, construction crews have been able to work above ULI crews while keeping both safe.

• Press parts began arriving today. Testing on the 8-unit press was completed, and the press was started without incident this afternoon. Press production will resume this evening with a full overnight shift.

• Testing of the 5-unit press is complete, and cleaning and repairs are ongoing. We now expect the 5-unit to return to operation on Thursday.

• Our Finishing department has completed binding and mailing all of the work in process that had been printed prior to the storm on Friday evening, and is ready for new work to reach them from the 8-unit press this evening.

• With a return to full production on all of our equipment expected by Thursday, we anticipate that the impact on client schedules will be approximately three to five days. We expect to return to full on-time performance within 10 days.

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