DONALD ROLAND -- Accentuating Solutions, Not Processes
Journalism appealed to Roland—his uncle, Orville, was editor and publisher of a small-town newspaper in Texas—but he received a full scholarship from Times Mirror Press to take printing management at Cal State/Los Angeles. He graduated with degrees in printing management and economics before earning his master's degree in econometrics from the University of California/Riverside.
Despite the sheepskins, Roland couldn't find a management job; companies were offering trainees a half or a third of what he was earning as a journeyman. With a wife and young child, he couldn't afford the pay cut, so he answered a blind ad that turned out to be for Times Mirror Press itself. The position was for a third-shift Linotype operator, but he grabbed it and quickly worked his way through the company.
In 1967, Roland was asked to manage the transition from hot metal to photo composition. When Times Mirror closed its hot-metal operations, Roland was in charge of the closure as plant manager.
"It was kind of a bittersweet thing," says Roland.
After 17 years with Times Mirror Press, Roland joined Treasure Chest Advertising, an entrepreneurial venture owned by Robert Milhous that had posted sales of $350 million in 1983. Milhous, who had a passion for big boats, was in the process of building the world's largest sloop, according to Roland, and wanted to concentrate on that project. Roland was hired as part of the Treasure Chest transition to a professional management team.
"He's at the top of the list when it comes to leadership ability," Milhous says of Roland. "In a room full of executives, people look to him for answers. He's a remarkable man.
"He's a terrific data gatherer. . .it helps him to make logical business decisions."
Milhous later decided to sell the company to a group led by the late Ted Ammon and, in 1993, Treasure Chest, which had ballooned to 15 plants and $550 million in sales, became the flagship for a M&A concern called Big Flower Holdings. The CEO was Ed Reilly, who oversaw Big Flower and sister companies Webcraft and Laser Tech.