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Quad/Graphics plant opens in W.Va.

June 24, 1997

By DAVE McMILLION

Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Quad/Graphics officially opened its $64 million printing plant here Tuesday amid an elaborate celebration attended by former and current state officials.

The international company prints catalogs, magazines and newspaper inserts for a variety of clients such as Newsweek, L.L. Bean, Time and Toys R Us. The Martinsburg plant was built to bring the company closer to its clients in the East, officials said.

The plant in the Cumbo Yards Industrial Park off W.Va. 9 west of Martinsburg is 439,000-square-feet in size, or about as big as six football fields. Inside, two $17 million gravure presses can turn out 10 million magazine pages per hour, said Harry V. "Larry" Quadracci, president of Quad/Graphics.

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The plant employs about 150 people but has the capability of increasing its workforce up to 1,000, company officials said. Starting wages at the plant are roughly $7 to $8 an hour, officials said.

Hundreds of people crowded into a seating area between the two presses for the opening ceremonies, which included remarks from Gov. Cecil Underwood and former Gov. Gaston Caperton, who was instrumental in attracting Quad/Graphics to Berkeley County.

The Hedgesville High School Marching Band provided a drum roll as Underwood and Caperton joined a crew of workers to flip the switch on the huge two-story presses.

"Here we go, $64 million starting up," said Quadrucci as the presses began to roll.

Before and after the ceremony, visitors were treated to food, drinks and guided tours of the plant. Colorful Quad/Graphics balloons drifted through the building, a jazz band played in the reception area, and company officials gathered memorabilia to be placed in a time capsule at the factory.

Company officials stayed busy shuttling clients and other guests to Martinsburg for the ceremony. Guests arrived by planes and trains, and were taken to the plant by bus, officials said.

The plant began coming together two years ago when Quad/Graphics started searching for a site in the East. Company officials looked at a number of areas, but they were impressed with the high-degree of interest that state and local officials, especially Caperton, took in Quad/Graphics, said Tom Quadracci, vice president of manufacturing.

Caperton and others, including Bob Sanders and Bob Crawford of the Berkeley County Development Authority, flew to Chicago to hammer out an agreement to bring Quad-Graphics to Martinsburg, according to Crawford.

"This is truly a moving event for me. I never dreamed West Virginia and Martinsburg would have a facility of this type," Caperton said.

Underwood praised Caperton for his work to provide jobs in the state, and said "the challenge is now to keep that momentum going."

In that respect, Michigan-based Guardian Fiberglass in April announced plans to open a fiberglass insulation plant in a former AT&T building in southern Berkeley County. Officials said the plant would employ up to 150 people.

"To me, this is another great day in the life of this community," said Crawford.

Quad/Graphic's press operations are on the ground floor of its plant, and corporate offices, layout facilities and other offices are on the second floor.

Pewaukee, Wisconsin-based Quad/Graphics has 10 other plants in Wisconsin, Georgia, New York and Argentina. Quad/Graphics has been listed in the best-selling book "The 100 Best Companies to Work for in America," and each year since 1992 has earned a spot on the "Working Mother 100," Working Mother magazine's annual list of the 100 best companies for working mothers.

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