DONALD ROLAND -- Accentuating Solutions, Not Processes
Donald and his brother, Philip, often worked alongside their father as early as elementary school. That's where he learned the printing business inside and out.
"My father was a real task-master—he would fire my brother and me when we had childhood fights," Roland recalls. "But he raised both of us with a strong work ethic. (Vernon) was an incredibly gifted printer in the classic, old tradition of journeymen who could literally do everything. That part of my childhood was rich in experiences, but lacking in stability and material wealth. We were like nomads, moving almost every year. But I certainly learned the printing business inside and out."
Tragedy struck the Roland family in 1956 when Vernon Roland died in an airplane crash. He had been returning to Texas from New Mexico with a newspaper publisher after having procured parts for a broken Linotype machine. Compounding the emotional loss was the absence of life insurance, leaving the Rolands in a tenuous position. But friends of the elder Roland came together and obtained enough equipment to allow Donald—a high school freshman—and Philip to open their own printing shop.
"We called ourselves 'Roland Brothers,' " Roland recalls. "We subtitled ourselves, 'The youngest businessmen in Texas.' "
The following year his mother remarried and the family relocated to Manhattan Beach, CA. By the time Donald Roland turned 16, he had gained full journeyman capabilities with hand composition, Linotype and all hot-metal applications.
|Don Roland relaxes at his home on the Severyn River in Annapolis, MD. He lives next door to the Naval Academy, and hosts a party every May to coincide with Academy graduation and the Blue Angels' tribute flight.|
"A journeyman Linotype operator could set a galley and a half in an hour," Roland says. "I could set as much as the machine could produce, which was usually two and a quarter galleys."