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WEB OFFSET REPORT -- Back to the Future

May 2003
By Caroline Miller

Tom Basore has no regrets when he looks back over his long career in the graphic arts industry. "It's been a wonderful experience. I've loved every moment of it," says the Web Offset Association's (WOA) executive director, who is retiring this month.

While Basore has loved every minute of his career, he is also not one to look back. Basore is now eagerly looking forward to the next phase of his life, which includes relocating to a home in Florida and an upcoming cruise to Alaska with his new wife.

Basore says that he plans to take a lesson from a fellow colleague who retired and then walked away from the industry several years ago. "He now volunteers with the local fire department and has a carpentry shop. I talk to him from time to time and he says that he loves what he is doing now. I am capable of doing that, as well. There are a couple of things I have in mind that I want to pursue," Basore remarks.

Still, he admits that he will miss the profession he found by accident—but fell in love with because of the challenges that it presented. "It really is just a fascinating industry. There are so many avenues one can take. Old printers talk about how they have ink in their blood. I fall into that category. I can walk into a printing operation, smelling the inks and hearing the sounds of the big webs purring, and feel very emotional. I still look in disbelief and marvel at what can be done on a printing press."

Military Man

Even so, Basore's printing career began in an unlikely place—the military. "I spent four years in the U.S. Air Force. I was a jet fighter mechanic. I rose to the level of jet fighter plan crew chief," reveals Basore, who joined the Air Force right out of high school. His stint in the military instilled values that would guide him throughout the rest of his professional life.

"You learn a lot when you work around fighter pilots—they're winners. The word failure is not in their vocabulary. In their profession, they can't. They have a real sense of pride in what they do and become incredibly self-confident. Military service teaches you to not be afraid to reach out and follow your dreams," he explains.

Basore loved military life and had planned to make it his career. But, in 1959, he found himself in his hometown of Hagerstown, MD, looking for a job. "I would have stayed in the military, but they were downsizing at that time, so I decided to get out," he notes.

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