Copresco president and CEO Steve Johnson checks is all smiles about the way his staff and other professionals came together to put Copresco back in action 48 hours after a massive storm struck the Carol Stream plant.
The company was founded in a one-room office in Wheaton by President and CEO Steve Johnson who believed that the future for commercial printing was in digital technology. He formed an organization specializing in the fast printing of publications, books and manuals.
Today, the Carol Stream company is recognized as a national leader in digital technology and on-demand printing. Copresco’s digital presses produce millions of impressions in a 14,000 sq. ft. plant for a diverse range of clients in the general business, printing trade, technical and institutional fields.
“Long before on-demand became an industry buzzword, Copresco was turning out high-quality, short-run documents in extremely short turnaround times,” Johnson says. “We thrive on doing the impossible, taking on jobs that others can’t or won’t handle.”
Copresco has won an impressive array of awards and honors from customers, the graphic arts industry and professional organizations. Achievements include international awards for printing excellence of digital books and publications as well as recognition for quality and innovation from equipment manufacturers and graphic communications industry magazines.
Copresco also knows how to deal with adversity, like the stock market meltdown on the day the company opened for business on October 19, 1987—and the company’s miraculous 48-hour recovery from a Sunday, July 1 weather disaster. The catastrophe was reported like this: “Mr. Johnson, this is the Carol Stream Fire Department. The roof has blown off your building. You had better get over there right away!”
A severe storm with 90 mph hurricane-force winds had violently battered Chicago’s western suburbs, drenching the area with pounding hail and an inch of rain in 25 minutes. Copresco was one of Commonwealth Edison’s 250,000 customers without power.
When Johnson arrived at his darkened building, he thought that he was out of business. He found the large part of a tree down on the lawn, and what was left of the plant roof scattered across the parking lot and loading dock. He splashed his way through the office to find the company’s digital press and bindery departments and the warehouse and shipping department soaked with rainwater.
He immediately put Copresco’s disaster relief plan into action. Staff members were told to rendezvous at the plant as soon as power was restored. A commercial cleaning and restoration company was notified, while the fire department installed large tarps to protect equipment. An electronic restoration services crew, flown in from out of state, worked into the night to clean and service computers and other digital equipment. Roofers also worked into the night, installing a temporary waterproof roof system to protect the plant against further damage.
Power was restored during the night. July 2 was spent cleaning up water, clearing debris and the staff reported back to their regular jobs the next day.
Despite the catastrophic event, the company’s “mission impossible” spirit prevailed, and Copresco was back in business, printing and binding clients’ work just two days after the storm struck the plant.
“Only one day of production was lost. Many companies would have been out of business for months, or would have had to go out of business altogether,” Johnson says. “But, Copresco understands how to work under extreme pressure, deal with unexpected problems and come up with fast, efficient solutions. Our experienced staff responded quickly and professionally.
“Our quick response to the storm was the result of a preplanned disaster relief plan that went into action as soon as the fire department call was received. Our plant is located in a well-established industrial area with excellent municipal and commercial business services,” Johnson explained.
Although the past few months have been peaceful at the Carol Stream plant, the remarkable recovery from the July 2012 storm will be a long-remembered event in Copresco’s 25th anniversary year in the digital printing business.
Copresco president and CEO Steve Johnson writes the monthy Johnson's World column for Quick Printing.