Employee Profiles Century Printing and Packaging Tim Hess

I am originally from Illinois and moved to Indiana, but have lived in the Upstate for 30 years. Before coming on board with Century Printing and Packaging I worked for a distribution company for 22 years, but they phased out their operations in South Carolina and that’s when I ended up here.

Tell us about yourself

I am single and my father recently passed away, but my mother still lives close by. Dad had cancer and they gave him six months to live and he lived another six years. I have two brothers and one sister, one brother and my sister live close by. I like to run and I’m into mountain biking. I play a lot of basketball and they call me “old man”. I like camping and anything outdoors. I used to like trail running but those days are gone (laughter).

How long have you been at Century and describe your role?

I’ve been here eight years and I started out as a delivery guy. Then they moved me into the press room and now I’m up front in the office. I order all the materials like papers, laminates, substrates, boxes and much more to keep the warehouse going. I am part of the ISO team and perform the audits and corrective actions. I like doing the ISO certification and duties.

What’s the ISO certification process like from your perspective?

They can be pretty strict and I have a limited role in it. However, I get to learn what everyone here does when I do an inside audit. You learn their process and what they do so it makes you appreciate the entire operation. You get to see the big picture of our company and it opens your eyes. It’s just not that simple. When I was hired I didn’t know anything about printing and packaging. I was a warehouse supervisor for 22 years so I had no experience. I’ve learned a good bit through the years and feel like I have a good handle and understanding of what we do.

What do you think are the strengths of Century Printing and Packaging?

I would say teamwork. Ben and Neil will do anything and they won’t ask you to do anything they aren’t willing to do themselves. It makes you feel better because in some companies the owners don’t get their hands dirty and spend more time telling people what to do. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen Ben Waldrop take the trash out and simple acts like that just make you want to work harder. Both Ben and Neil reward hard work and I’ve been in companies where they don’t do that. It’s refreshing to see how they acknowledge the hard work I try to put into everything I do and others on the team.

How are the relationships with vendors in ordering materials?

They are pretty good, most of them are very honest with you and we’ve had problems with dates due to Covid and the supply/demand logistic issues. It’s not going to let up. We are still having to make a lot of changes to meet customer demands and expectations, but so far we have been able to do that without huge disruptions. So I work closely with production in terms of materials and the finishing department in terms of what we want to get out on a particular day.

You’ve been described as the “WD-40” guy at Century, so you are all over the place on any given day right?

I average about 16,000 steps per day between production, finishing, pre-production and the front office.

How do you think the company is viewed by vendors and customers?

Our vendors are very respective of what we do and circumstances even in times of material/shipping shortages or delays and Covid. Most of our vendors help us find alternative solutions to materials despite the global shortages. I’ve been over-ordering to compensate for the shortages and to get ahead of them for our customers. I’ve had to order for one of our customers and the materials are two weeks behind which puts production 6-8 weeks out. We’ve had several ship materials that are close to what they normally would get and we have to make sure those materials will work and we contact every customer to make sure they are okay with a substitution material that requires their approval before we go to production.

Given the extreme shortages and delays in manufacturing this year how have you dealt with suppliers and customers?

I got to Ben and Neil and we try to find an alternative supplier and material. If we can’t get what they want under normal conditions we tell them up front and we are honest about delays in material, or shipping. However, I have to say we’ve been really fortunate to find alternatives for our customers that work on the finished product. We’ve made the majority of our deadlines despite the global delays in product, shipping and logistic delays.

How do you deal with these challenges?

We had one customer where we couldn’t get their specific printed surface/material. The label wouldn’t stick to the box and we made it good with them. I was able to order a different material that sticks like glue and it’s working. We go out of our way to make it good for our customers.

Tim, describe the culture and dynamics of Century Printing and Packaging

When I first started the turnover was higher and we have made so many strides. They have invested in racks, shelving and turnover is no longer an issue. We have a team in place that is experienced and morale is good. We have a strong team in place. These guys reward hard work and they take notice of it compared to a lot of small companies that don’t reward or acknowledge extra effort. And with me personally, they have done that! I’ve had three major jobs in my whole life and these guys get it and take care of me and the rest of the team.

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 and Packaging, Inc.
Greer, SC 29651

CPnP Employee Feature Jacob Matthews

Century Printing & Packaging Team Members
Jacob Matthews, Graphic Designer

Jacob, tell us about your background and education.

I am a Greenville native and the majority of my family is from Georgia so we do a lot of back forth with our family. I went to Eastside H.S. in Greenville and then went to Greenville Technical College and got my degree in Graphic Design and an Associates in Arts degree.

Upon graduation, I was doing freelance photography and graphic design work. I kept applying for graphic design and arts positions. Then last year Ben and Neil gave me the chance to work for Century. I really like it because now I’m using the skills and knowledge I was trained for in graphic design and art.

Describe your role at Century Printing and Packaging

I am a graphic designer and every now and then I get to design a label for a customer. I’ve done our tradeshow banner designs. I recently designed the new butter wrap paper. I’m also the pre-press operator so when clients send in their art to go on a label my job is to go through and check for trash in the images and clean up anything that won’t print right as well as go through the different color channels to make sure it will print the way the client wants it. I also go through flexo jobs to make sure they have trap to make sure that when they are trying to register the plates lining up on top of each other that there is overlap. If there is not a certain degree of overlap the finished product can show up a lot of white that we don’t want. We extend the shape outward a specific measurement to ensure proper overlap and color matching or alignment.

Is digital artwork different from flexo artwork when it comes to you from a client?

Yes, there is less worrying about alignments and more worrying about matching color. In flexo, we have a viewer that will basically show you how it is going to look when it prints. Digital requires a lot of color profiling and figuring out how the artwork will react with the printer. Sometimes it’s printing a bunch of GMG samples before the job is out there so they are just different workflows.

Do you deal with the customer’s art department or graphic designer?

Yes, we communicate a lot about things like backside ink requirements which means if there is too much ink on the backside it will negate the adhesive so we have to keep it at a minimum. For example, a customer may have a big gray image that we can’t print on the backside because their label won’t stick if we do so there is a lot of back and forth between us finding the right solution for each job.

Jacob, what’s the best part of your job?

I enjoy making plates and trimming them down to the right size for a job and seeing the final result. It’s not something I was trained to do in college but that I learned at Century Printing and Packaging. I enjoy the process of working with Roger in production too. I also enjoy it whenever I get to design something because that’s my wheelhouse.

How does your work affect or relate to sales and production at Century?

If there is ever a problem we go back and trace it to the source. Usually, if there is a problem it comes to us and it’s either something we overlooked or something we should have done that we didn’t. Whenever there is a problem in production it typically comes back to pre-press so a lot of what we do is to make sure the art they bring prints the way they expect. That’s not always easy because some things aren’t going to work. For example, tan is a hard color to match, so many times we talk to production and the client’s design team to find an alternative if say for instance Pantone is a better choice than CMYK for the material we are printing on for them. Our goal is to make sure the client gets what they expect and want.

What kind of software do you use on the job?

I mainly use Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop. We don’t often receive files created using InDesign and Lightroom but we can adjust those as well. Most of my time is usually spent in Illustrator, but we sometimes have to spend time shuffling images in Photoshop.

Jacob, it’s been a year since you were hired, tell us what you think about the company and your work?

With any new job you start you are trying to catch up to speed and wondering if it’s the right job for you and I have been pleasantly surprised at how everyone treats you and they are readily available to help you navigate the new waters. They give you space to learn and navigate but are always ready to help you. For example, I began at the beginning of Covid and I didn’t have my head in some of the software for awhile and had to re-learn some things so it was a bumpy start but after I got in the seat it started to click and things came together again.

Would you address the culture of a teamwork atmosphere at Century?

In the art graphics department, everyone is really good about helping each other out, checking our work out to make sure it complies with the client’s needs. Everyone has each other’s back which is really nice.

What do you like to do when you are away from work during your downtime?

So most of my family is local and not everyone here is blessed like that. I’m from a family of five, my Mom, Dad, brother, sister, and I lived in the same house. It was kind of hectic but everybody kind of ended up doing their own thing. My brother works in logistics and my sister is an occupational therapist working with kids and it was a cool upbringing.

I play guitar and record music and sing a little bit, like rock, singer-songwriter mixture of the two. stuff. I have an Instagram account where I produce graphic art and digital drawings. I also love playing games from time to time.

Did you ever dream you would be working for a printing and packaging company?

No! I actually thought I would be working for a company doing digital ads and stuff. At one point I wanted to do CD art covers because of my passion as a musician, but I really had no idea where I would end up.

So Century has given you the opportunity to employ your education in graphic design?

Yeah, I didn’t just want to be a guy sitting in a cubicle somewhere not able to use the gifts and skillset I have learned in school. I have a lot of portfolio pieces now and it’s nice to be using my skillset to help build the company and myself.

Can you speak to the culture of working for a family-owned business?

Ownership is so accessible and supportive of our work. They aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty and routinely pitch in to help. I feel like hard work is rewarded at Century and the support is incredible compared to my days in retail and freelance work. It makes you want to work hard and celebrate the quality of work our team produces.

How is the new Mark Andy Series IQ digital hybrid Printer impacting the business?

With the move to hybrid from digital, it’s like a lot of internal stuff is involved. It is a lot of stuff at once, a new comm system, new press, and everyone is trying to learn and come up to speed at once. It’s like the Lamborghini of presses.

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 produce high-quality products for our customers.

Century Printing and Packaging Team Member Profile

Mike Martin has been the V.P of Sales at Century Printing and Packaging for five years. He has spent the bulk of his career working in packaging sales, including custom-printed film. He joined the Century team to help expand the film presence.

Mike, tell us about your background?

I’m a Greenville native and graduate of J.L. Mann High School. I completed my undergraduate degree in accounting and finance at the University of South Carolina. I have a wife and one son, who’s 15, and a large extended family.

How did you end up at Century Printing and Packaging?

Years ago I started in the industry with a great company that was a broad line packaging distributor. At that time I had a relationship with Century Printing, with them serving as a vendor in their start-up years. I moved on to work for a film printing company based in Mexico, and there gained some depth in the rollstock film market. Later, we moved to France for a few years with my wife’s work and when I returned, my plan was to scale back up with the Mexican plant. At that time I had the good fortune to run into Don Waldrop of Century Printing and Packaging, we had had a great relationship. I learned CPP had grown up to have four presses (now five) and was interested in expanding its presence in the film market. Things fell into place from there!

What do you do at Century?

I focus on sales, marketing, and customer relations. I target prospects that would be a good fit for our capabilities, manage the process of bringing on new items we print, then manage the ongoing customer relationships. I’ve built a nice base of customers, some of whom were very small accounts when they started. As these customers have grown we’ve been fortunate to do more business with them, and it’s fairly common for our customers to refer us to companies they do business with.

How is the work?

It’s a relationship business. We make a product that’s needed and provide guidance on materials that are appropriate, but in the end, people at other businesses build confidence in the team at CPP. They rely on us as a small, but critical piece of their supply chain. Our markets are diversified, ranging from food, beverage, chemical, healthcare, newspaper, etc. In the end, our customers rely on us for something to complete their products so that they can ship to their customers. It’s a trust we take seriously!

What is involved in your role?

There is a lot of travel with trade shows, visiting prospects, customers, and vendors. When it’s time to onboard a new customer, I bring in graphics, materials, and scheduling staff to make things happen. We have a robust system with checks and balances to ensure that what is supposed to happen, does happen, in the time expected.

The process goes amazingly smooth and quick. We typically offer pricing within 24 hours once we nail down all the variables needed to define the application. We issue art proofs within 24 hours of receiving art files. That’s a quick turnaround in the industry, it’s a competitive advantage, and it’s due to proprietary IT and process flow systems we’ve developed over the years, and equally to our team of dedicated staff.

Mike, what do you enjoy about working at Century Printing and Packaging?

I love the attitude that our customers, no matter their size, are basically people who depend on us so that they can sell and deliver their products. Even our smallest of customers are treated with the respect that they cannot ship their products until the label is right and in their hands. I also enjoy the diversity of industries we serve, and when we are helping a start-up company as they address all sorts of issues faced with new and growing businesses.

Over time the business relationships become more rewarding on a personal level. The motivation becomes less that we need to sell our product and service, and more that we need to help our customers complete their supply chain.

Tell us about yourself and what you do when you are off the clock

I’m married and have one son. We have a cabin at a nearby mountain lake and we love spending time there. We enjoy hiking, biking, swimming, and a little pickleball. Spending time with our family and friends, finding day-trip adventures, meeting new people, and providing service to others…that sums it up!

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: 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.