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|Thursday, March 01, 2007|
Scott Treadwell has been working for Columbia Printing and Graphics for nearly five years, but he’s still a relative newcomer. In fact, the 45-year-old production manager will be closing in on retirement by the time he reaches the average employee tenure of 13 years.
With so few employees going anywhere, brothers Rob and Tim Wehrley talk about staff turnover unlike other business managers. They don’t talk about the number of workers lost and gained in a year, they talk about generational turnover. For instance, about half of the generation of people hired in the 1980s still work at the company today.
Companies that use clean rooms to make microprocessors or semiconductors need printed materials that won’t leave microscopic bits of particulate matter in the hyper-clean environments. That’s where Columbia comes in. In its own clean room, masked and gloved workers in all-white full-body suits create spiral-bound notebooks, notepads, labels, forms, and even custom instruction manuals.
It wasn’t cheap to build: Tim estimates that clean rooms cost about $2,500 a square foot. It’s been a good investment. Rob declines to talk about the company’s sales figures, but in the next two years, he estimates the company’s print and digital output will grow 20% and 50%, respectively. Business from Columbia’s U.S. and European clean-room customers, on the other hand, will grow by 300%.
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