Cal Borman retires – reflects on half century in printing industry

After more than 50 years in the printing business, Cal Borman retired in April. The Eagle Web Press sales manager took time to look back on those years, which included not only his recent position, but also a period beginning in 1971 at a newly-established West Salem press plant.  Cal writes:

“It all began in 1958 while in high school in Pendleton Oregon. I signed up for T&I (Trades and Industries) when I was a junior in high school. The teacher would find part time jobs for his students and the afternoons were spent at that job. Successful students would get two credits toward their diploma and learn a trade at the same time.

“I was successful getting an opportunity with The East Oregonian Publishing Co. as a copyboy. After graduating I went in the U.S. Naval Reserve. After returning from that, I went back to the EO where they put me on in production. But in order to comply with Bud Forrester’s plan, I had to take some college classes before I could advance to a printer apprentice, as required by the ITU (International Typographical Union) through the State of Oregon. This was a work-in-progress program for six years. After graduating I became a Journeyman Pressman. After completing 12 years working for the Forrester’s—Bud was a very good man—I felt the need to expand my horizons. In 1971 I came to work for Denny Smith—another very good man.

“I was hired to be the production manager by the late Joe Blaha, publisher of the Itemizer-Observer. This was just a few months after the I-O explosion in Dallas that wiped out the newspaper’s press. By 1971 Denny’s new central printing operation in West Salem was up and running to print his newspapers. Denny had not been happy how the operation was running and they decided to hire someone from the outside. That’s where I came in. After a few months and terminating several employees, we hired a good guy named Michael R Gehring as production manager, and Denny talked me into becoming the manager. Even though I protested, he has a silver tongue and I agreed—one of my best decisions ever.

“While working at what was known then as Blue Mountain Eagle Web Press, I not only got a real taste of responsibility, but I also learned a lot from Denny’s aunt, Kay Lowe—I loved her. She taught me the business side of the operation, as did both Dick Nafsinger and Denny.

“I worked there until I felt the need to move on to bigger and more challenging opportunities. I spent the seven years in Albuquerque, NM working for Butch Alford of the Lewiston Morning Tribune as the manager of Graphic Arts Publishing. I later became a VP in charge of all the GAP facilities in the intermountain region. This operation later was dismantled and for the next seven years I worked for Treasure Chest Advertising, a national company at the time, selling advertising inserts across the USA.

“Treasure Chest asked me to move to the East Coast, but my wife and I had been too far from our family for too long. In 1993 I decided come hell or high water I was going to return to the Pacific Northwest. I contacted my friends everywhere in Washington and Oregon to locate a job. Lo and behold, Denny wanted me back. How lucky can a guy be?

“Michael, who by then was general manager of Eagle Web Press, decided to open an office in the SeaTac area and develop some new business there. But it wasn’t too long, as business picked up, that Michael asked if I could move to Salem and become his sales manager.

“I, of course, jumped at the chance and what a wonderful ride it’s been. I love this company and Denny is the best employer I’ve ever had. I have no regrets. Not to say I wouldn’t have changed some things I’ve done, but for the most part this has been a great 50 years.”