Century Printing & Packaging Team Members: Madison DeShields

Recently, we sat down with Madison DeShields in the Production Department of Century Printing and Packaging to discuss her role and work.

So Madison, tell us about yourself?

I’m originally from Woodruff, South Carolina and I started working here when I was 20 years old and it will be five years this month. I had some experience with screen printing in high school and experience in printing but nothing like at this level.

How did you find the job and where did you begin at Century Printing and Packaging?

I actually found the job on Indeed. I started in the back with entry level duties folding paper and putting it in boxes for shipping. Then I started doing different printing in the plate room, rewinding and I’ve done a lot of different things.

How did that prepare you for what you are doing now?

It helps me understand printing to know what they are doing in finishing. There are things I know now in how to help them back there.

What is your current role and what do you do?

Right now I’m a press operator and I’m on the digital press and bounce around wherever I’m needed. I fill in for people on breaks and run their press for them. Mount plates and do whatever is needed. If someone calls out I can fill wherever I’m needed.

What do you like about your job?

I like the communication between everyone and how we always work as a team together. We have a high level of communication and we are cross-trained on multiple presses or machines to be able to fill in the gaps when someone is out sick, or can’t be there. We don’t miss a beat and cover well for one another.

What have you noticed about the growth of the company in the five years you have been here?

I’ve seen so many different jobs that keep coming up. It’s such a wide variety. Some of the artwork is really cool like the beer labels and other stuff. It keeps everything interesting.

What’s a typical day like for you?

When I started this morning I had some @CityRoots labels to run picking up from yesterday on the digital press. They are a family-owned, urban, organic farm that specializes in year-round microgreen production based out of Columbia, South Carolina. Then I fill in for someone and when they get back I will fill in for someone else so I will be bouncing back and forth between printers and jobs. It makes the day fly by and I like it because I’m always busy and not standing in the same spot all day.

What do you like about your company?

They are just really nice people. They are understanding and have taught me everything I know about printing. All around good people!

What have you learned?

Coming from high school it’s a completely different level of printing. I’ve learned so much. I take notes on everything I’ve learned and have notebooks on everything. It’s a lot to take in but I just keep learning every day. I’ve always loved graphic design since tech school and I’ve loved the artwork and the process.

Tell us what you like to do in your free time?

I like outdoors stuff like tubing, kayaking, hiking and those kinds of things. I have two cats and live in Spartanburg so I’m relatively close to the shop. My family is from Woodruff and I’m close to them. I am the youngest of three with an older brother and sister.

At Century Printing and Packaging we have a long line of tenured employees who make up our team. We are proud of their work, spirit, and the contribution they make to our quality of work and production. All of them work hard to fulfill customers’ orders and produce high-quality work.

Connie Vincent, V.P. of Operations at CP&P

Tell us how long you’ve been with Century and your background

I’ve been with Century for seven years and working in the print industry for over 30 years. I had been working for another company and they downsized so I was looking for a position when I interviewed here. Initially, I was producing artwork and had a lot of experience working with color so flexo was ideal for me.

When I started I already had an understanding about different substrates, white inks, adjusting color for flexographic printing and things like that. Getting involved in artwork helped expand my skill set. Previously we had to manually enter job numbers, ink and other materials but software and automation have enabled us to focus on the artwork.

Describe your role at Century Printing and Packaging

I supervise the pre-press department and I initially work with the sales staff to preflight the art and help determine colors and any special concerns in printing and what we can do to maintain the aesthetics whether it is digital or flexo printing.

What’s your favorite part of relating to clients/customers?

I deal with the clients and their artists. Just being able to take their vision and reproduce it in flexo, which isn’t always very forgiving is rewarding. I often ask, “how will this go or look?” Then I huddle with Neil and Roger to see how we can help the customer. We come up with stuff that clients are not taking advantage of like silver substrates and more, or we’ve inverted the white ink and the client was thrilled. Exceeding customer expectations is really important and so professionally satisfying.

What do you still get excited about in your job?

I get a thrill any time I walk into a store and see packaging or printing that I had a hand in producing. Back in the day changes were crazy. Before everything went to the computer, we manually worked the camera, trapping and setting up the file for plating, etc. When using film we moved to less manual input and today it’s nice and neat. Technology has increased the rate of production and things that took ½ day we can now do in 10 minutes. It used to take us a long time to do one thing or concept, but now we can move faster and eliminate errors on the fly.

What do you like about Century Printing and Packaging?

It’s a family-owned business and that family-style transcends down to all employees. We get to know each other and know our strengths and weaknesses. The last seven years it’s evolved into a team atmosphere. It’s more than a place to work and the culture of “that’s not my job” has shifted and evolved into, “how can I help you and what can I do to make this better.” When you’ve got a label that works really well from start to finish everyone has a sense of pride in the production of it, so team pride is a big thing here.

Tell us about yourself, Connie?

I am Spartanburg born and raised. I’ve been married for eight years with three children and five grandchildren. My grandmother had a tradition of cooking Sunday dinner for the entire family and I grew up doing that so when her health began to fail we ended up serving at my house and I lost my Mom and grandmother, but we’ve kept the tradition going.

How did Covid affect your work?

It changed the dynamics of our work. Newspapers had lots of cancellations all in advance. We responded really quickly to adjust with masks, safe distancing, PPE, etc. We noticed what we are printing is changing with lots of labels for industrial, chemical, food and beverage like craft beer labels. Our labels are getting more sophisticated with performing and a more pronounced look and feel.

What have you learned in your tenure?

Well, grocery stores were one of the first jobs and I was fascinated by the labeling and how certain things sold better than others and how the value of packaging, aesthetics and appearance have evolved to impact branding and target audiences.

What do you do in your downtime?

I am an avid reader and an attempted novelist with a passion for Southern fiction.

At Century Printing and Packaging we have a long line of tenured employees who make up our team. We are proud of their work, spirit, and the contribution they make to our quality of work and production. All of them work hard to fulfill customers’ orders and produce high-quality work.

Century Printing & Packaging Team Members

Robyn Dewitz is originally from Eden, NY, but has resided in the Upstate of South Carolina for nearly 30 years. She is a Customer Service Representative for Century Printing and Packaging, where she has been employed for seven years. Her previous employment and experience are steeped in customer service. Robyn has a degree in Early Childhood Education and spent 25 years in the industry. She served as the director of a successful preschool and later as the CSR of a pet crematory. She is no stranger in relating to the public and customer service.

Robyn, what is your role at Century Printing and Packaging?

I’m a customer service representative and started mainly for newspaper clients and have expanded to non-newspaper clients for labels of different products. It’s been a great learning experience as I have learned to help in the plate room with orders and helping wherever I’m needed in the company.

What do you enjoy most about working at Century Printing and Packaging?

I enjoy my coworkers and how they appreciate each other as well as management. They let you know the in’s and out’s of the business while encouraging you in areas that are new to you. They are always available to explain things. I was very blessed when Ben Waldrop hired me, more or less on the spot from my interview and I’ve loved it ever since.

Tell us about your customers.

I have my favorites, of course, and some that can be challenging, but, since working here this long, you know what to expect from each customer. I know my job and what we need to do to provide great customer service. In the past year, due to Covid-19, everything has slowed down.

What kind of relationship do you have with your customers?

Beyond work, I am on Facebook with many of them and over the years have developed friendships. For example, there is one who lives in New York and just had her first grandchild and they were working remotely due to Covid-19 and due to some underlying conditions, she had to continue to work from home. I got together a care package of supplies she could not get and Century sent it to her along with some chocolates and a teddy bear. One client in Lowcountry knew we were expecting our first grandchild and she shared her experience and excitement with me. It’s really neat to see how these friendships develop from work and beyond.

What is one of the most critical things about your role at Century?

We have to work closely to make sure all the right information is obtained from clients and correct for the production department. I’m literally two feet from my boss in my cubicle so we work together to get things right with no delay. The graphics department is right behind me so if they are having trouble getting proof approval I can go back and forth with them without having to wait for days or weeks as some companies have to. We all work together to provide value and quality to our customers. I have to work with shipping and logistics to make sure the orders are fulfilled to meet or exceed expectations and on-time delivery. We are like a family, a team, when you lose one then something could fall through the cracks. But with us, we double-check each other and help wherever needed to stay on top of things.

What changes or trends have you noticed in the industry?

Newspaper coupons and labels aren’t as popular as they once were because everything is going digital. We deal with a diverse group of customers and products. Covid-19 has affected a lot of our customers and our output as a result of their slowdowns, but it is starting to pick back up.

Tell us about yourself

I’ve been married 31 years and we have two children and four grandchildren. We enjoy the outdoors, hiking, camping, gardening, and spending time with our grandchildren, three dogs, and two cats.

At Century Printing and Packaging we have a long line of tenured employees who make up our team. We are proud of their work, spirit, and the contribution they make to our quality of work and production. All of them work hard to fulfill customers’ orders and produce high-quality work.

Century Printing & Packaging Team Members

Cindy Julian has been working as a rewinder at Century Printing and Packaging for 17 years. She is one of the most tenured employees. We sat down with the Greenville native and long-time Greer resident to talk about her role in the company and the changes she’s seen over the years.

Tell us about your role at Century Printing and Packaging?

I am a rewinder. I take the rolls that come off the press and rewind the labels on them down to the size the customer wants. Then I inspect the rolls to make sure the labels are in the direction the customer wants. When the presses are running and something is flagged we stop them and take those out and then start it over.

So you are essentially quality and control?

Yes, that’s what I’ve done all my life. I started doing this with the looms in a cotton mill after I graduated high school and then worked at Kemet electronics in the same role with capacitors.

Our job is to make sure the labels on the press are exactly what the customer has ordered. We catch tears, faults, or mistakes before the labels are shipped to our customers. Quality is critical to our company because if we don’t get it right customers aren’t going to want to pay for something that isn’t right and they won’t return. For example, in the job I’m working on today I’ve got 77 rolls with 2,000 labels per roll, and then I have other jobs I’m doing in between. We have to multi-task between the printers, jobs, and rewinders. I would say I do an average of 50,000 labels a day.

You have really been able to be part of Century’s growth over the years, haven’t you?

When I started 17 years ago we had two tabletop rewinders and two old presses. Now we have four great presses, a digital press with one tabletop rewinder, two upright rewinders, and two fan-fold machines. When I started we literally did fan-folding by hand. Technology has really helped us increase production and picked up the speed of things. We are putting out more than I ever remember during my time here and it’s quality work.

We still have a tabletop rewinder but we use it for smaller jobs like tiny rolls which is hard to do on an upright. Now with the digital press when they take those rolls there may be four different jobs on one roll and you have to run them, slit it and flip it so you get it in the right direction which is easier to do on the tabletop because on the upright you have to web it up.

So what kind of numbers are we talking about in terms of a typical day for you?

It varies, but it could be over a hundred rolls a day, it just depends on the size and the size of the order. We are working on multiple jobs at the same time. You could have 10,000, one-inch labels on a roll and you may do ten rolls, or you could do larger labels with 200 on the roll. It really depends on the number of labels than it does the rolls.

Can you describe the culture of your role and the company?

You really have to be self-motivated to be a rewinder. No one is riding your back or trying to micromanage you. You are expected to know your job and do it, but you control your day based on the production schedule and customer orders. There is a greater sense of team. Like any job, we can ruffle each other’s feathers from time to time, but we are more like family, you disagree, work it out and move on. Even though we are all working in different areas and roles we communicate and work together. I’m one of the longest to be here and that makes me really proud and the fact that they’ve put up with me for this long.

Century was an “essential business” at the height of Covid, what was that like?

I never really felt it because I got up every day and came to work, nothing changed except for wearing a mask and wiping everything down all the time. We were working and yet it was hard to see how so many others lost their jobs or were laid off. I was very grateful our company kept going.

Cindy, why would you tell someone to choose Century over other printing and packaging companies?

I would say because we are loyal to our customers, we offer competitive prices on high-quality work, and we exceed customer expectations. And if something slips through the cracks we go back and make it right. We make good on our word to our customers.

Tell us about your family and what you enjoy doing when you are not working.

I’ve been married for 21 years and between us, we have four adult children and 9 grandchildren, four girls and five boys. We love to hang out at the pool and play with our grandkids. We have a new baby in our house, a Miniature Pinscher puppy who keeps us busy.

At Century Printing and Packaging we have a long line of tenured employees who make up our team. We are proud of their work, spirit, and the contribution they make to our quality of work and production. All of them work hard to fulfill customers’ orders and produce high-quality work.

Century Printing & Packaging Team Members

Allen Smith has been with Century Printing and Packaging for eight years. He serves as the first shift manager of production.

Allen, what do you do at Century? “I assist all the press operators with changeovers, color correction, the right die, any questions, and any assistance they need, I’m here to help our five press operators and make sure everything flows smoothly to fulfill customer orders and specifications. They have very unique jobs so I step in and assist them. It’s a learning experience doing new jobs and orders. You’ve got to keep a clear head, have patience with the machine and make sure the machine does the work.”

What do you love about your job?

There is always something different every day and I’m always learning something new. I love the challenging orders, or something new, you never know enough and the industry is constantly changing and we adapt to those changes as best we can.

Can you provide an example?

Heat seal was a big change for us and the game-changer, then the corona treater that electrifies the material. The chemicals in the heat seal are being realigned so we can apply ink to it, if it doesn’t get realigned it bubbles up and doesn’t adhere to the product as well. An example of those products would be flexo film with chips or cookies that require one seal.

How would you describe Century Printing and Packaging?

It’s the best company I’ve worked for because it’s family-owned and local. I’ve worked for big companies before and these guys get it. They are focused on customer service and quality output. The owners are more than willing to hear you out before making a decision and the team we have now gets along really well. I work with Neal and Roger and when I moved from second to first shift it made a lot more sense. The information flow from the press room to the finishing area flows so well. I write down what’s wrong so rewinders can keep going and don’t have to stop their machine, which would stop another machine and then another. We are producing some of the best products we can with limited interruptions or delays.

So you have a great team?

We are working on a way to get everyone to look at the big picture of the total production, we rip off a whole die, repeat checking the die, and color to see if any trash in it. Then we check the whole sample, color die-cut, etc. It all goes to quality control and making sure we eliminate any mistakes, or flaws before they can become an issue. Our team works well together and we are on the same page to produce quality products for our customers.

After eight years what have you noticed about the company?

The quality of work we do is so much better. Everything is coming together, technology, people leading by example, managers working to make sure everyone is doing their job correctly and safely.

Allen is from Greer. He is married and has three girls. Two with special needs. When he has free time he enjoys video gaming.

At Century Printing and Packaging we have a long line of tenured employees who make up our team. We are proud of their work, spirit, and the contribution they make to our quality of work and production. All of them work hard to fulfill customers’ orders and produce high-quality work.