Alumni in Print—Where Are They Now?

The Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation is publishing profiles featuring some of their more than 6000 former scholarship recipients. This series gives you an up close and personal insight into the thoughts and motivations of the former students who are a part of our industry today. As our current employees reach retirement and leave, replacing them becomes an increasingly important factor for many companies. Here is one story…

A Profile

Jeff Baker attended the University of Wisconsin-Stout, earning his Bachelor of Science Degree in Graphic Communications Management, with a Minor in Business Administration. He graduated in August 2006.

How did you first get interested in the graphic arts, or decide to focus on graphic communications in school?

My father worked in the industry and he would bring samples home to share, which peaked my interest. Then in high school, I chose to take an elective Graphic Arts class. I had a great instructor that made learning fun and hands on by creating our own products.

Did you take any courses in high school that were related to graphic communications, or that  prepared you for your planned career?

After that first Graphic Arts class I elected to take the remaining 3 courses my high school offered, became a teacher’s assistant to the instructor, and took part in a school to work Youth Apprenticeship program.

How do you think going through your education process prepared you for the workforce?

I believe I was well prepared. The coursework and work experience taught me many fundamentals that I still use today.

In the Workforce Today

What company are you working for now and what types of products and services do they provide to their customers?

I work at Shapco Printing Inc., located in Minneapolis Minnesota. We are a commercial sheetfed printer with a focus on Art Books and Restaurant Menus. We provide full service printing and binding.

What job did you first have with the company when you started, what position do you have now, and/or what else have you done since joining the company?

I started with Shapco as a Sales Intern and was later hired full time as a Junior Sales
Consultant. I’m currently a Senior Account Manager.

What do you think employers are looking for in today’s workforce and the current industry environment?

Employers are looking for people with a well-rounded print background who are quick learners, self-motivated, and are great communicators.

Is there anything that you have found to be particularly different from what you initially expected, now that you’ve progressed through your work career for a period of time?

Everything! I’ve learned that the only thing that you can expect is to continue to learn each day.

Have you changed your plans or ideas about what area or type of job you might like to have since you first considered the graphic communications field and began studying for a career in it?

I have the same long term goals that I did when I began studying graphic communications. However, I’ve learned how important the team model is to my role and the success of the products we produce.

What do you see yourself doing a few years from now?

My goal is to continue to grow in my career by nurturing relationships with our clients, vendors, partners, and internal team members.

Was being a recipient of a PGSF scholarship important, or did it have an impact on your future or ability to succeed in the industry?

Yes, being a PGSF scholarship recipient helped me get the college education I needed in order to be an asset to companies in the print and graphic industry.