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December Employee Spotlight - Tommy Harrington

ROSS SANDERS (1) One of Tommy Harrington’s first priorities when he moved to Kansas City from New York in 2013? Find a job. He was running a successful business in New York, but with his client base now thousands of miles away from his new home, Tommy soon realized he needed to make a change. “I moved here, unpacked the U-Haul and drove back to Rochester to do a job,” he says. “I drove back here, then flew back for another job. Stepping out of my business was tough, but it made sense.” Tommy spotted an opening for a key operator at AlphaGraphics Kansas City (translation: someone who takes print-ready files and queues them to print). With more than 9 years of experience in the commercial printing industry, Tommy says the decision to apply at AlphaGraphics Kansas City “was a logical leap.” AlphaGraphics Kansas City co-owner Matt Haar soon reached out to Tommy—and so did a local video production company. “The video production company wanted to have me in for an interview, but Matt had already called me,” Tommy says. “The way he handled the phone call caught my attention. When you work for yourself for a handful of years, you’re nervous about the type of people you’re going to work with, but Matt was engaging and inviting.” After additional in-person interviews, during which Tommy decided AlphaGraphics Kansas City “seemed like a fun environment,” he started as a key operator on June 1, 2016. With as much printing experience as Tommy’s had, you might think the transition was rather seamless. Instead, Tommy says he continues to deal with his vocal inner critic. “I had taken a hiatus from the printing industry, and you think it would be like riding a bike,” he says. “Not as much for me. During my 90-day review, I was told I exceeded expectations, but I’m really hard on myself. Some things that used to be second nature took me a minute to get up to speed.” Yet Tommy credits his boss, Ross [Sanders, production manager], for helping to “guide me and show me how to do things.” And although Tommy is well versed in running the company’s digital copier and printers, as well as other capabilities like bindery, he says he’s eager to explore opportunities in large-format printing (also known as wide format printing and supports print rolls between 18 inches and 100 inches wide). “I don’t have as much previous experience with large-format, so I’m excited about learning different things,” he says. In fact, Tommy says he’ll make time for more skills training in 2017. “I’m more of a self-learner,” he says. “I have room to grow in understanding the different types of large-format media and working with them. We have access to training videos, so I’ll plan to watch those. With the rate of work that’s coming in, I’ll probably watch the videos on my own time, but that’s not a big deal. When I worked with my previous employer in 2004, I’d go online and read up on the particular machines.” Tommy’s not only proven to be a great fit with AlphaGraphics Kansas City—he’s also quickly become a fan of his new home base. “Until I moved to Kansas City, I had never been this far west,” he says. “Kansas City is a really neat city—always evolving. And I like the fact that being in Kansas City, you drive a few hours in any direction and you’re in how many states?” Tommy’s taken advantage of Kansas City’s central location by making a first-time trip to Colorado, as well as taking “the long route” to Phoenix with his wife and daughter for ample sightseeing. And in his limited supply of free time, you might find Tommy exploring the local brewery scene. He says he was involved with a lot of microbreweries and their related events when living in New York, one of the things he misses most about his home state. Yet don’t worry—he’s already found some local favorites, including Springfield, Mo.-based Mother’s Brewing Company and Kansas City’s beloved Boulevard Brewing Company. Cheers, Tommy. We’re glad to have you in Kansas City!    

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