Dennis McKibben has only been with Arandell for about two years, but has already become a valued member of the A-Team. He has been in print for over 25 years and has worked for some of the biggest players in the industry.
Like Dennis, those of us who have been in print for that amount of time vividly remember the years 2007, 2008 and 2009 – when the print industry went through the greatest turbulence it had ever experienced due to The Great Recession.
For Dennis, this turbulence and uncertainty for the corporate print giants he worked for caused him to go through a large amount of adversity – adversity that was defined as two separate lay-offs at two different organizations and a number of sleepless nights trying to determine what to do next.
Instead of getting discouraged, Dennis picked himself up and moved on to the next big thing – which for the last two years has been Arandell.
For this month’s Employee Spotlight, we decided to highlight Dennis for all the great things he’s done since he’s been with the team. Here’s more about him and how he’s managed to overcome adversity throughout his career:
What’s your name, job title and department you work in?
My name is Dennis McKibben and I’m a bindery operator at Arandell Kentucky.
Tell us more about your background.
I’ve been in print for over 25 years and have worked at a lot of the biggest players in the industry. I originally worked for World Color way back when before they were acquired by Quad in 2010. Shortly after the acquisition, layoffs were announced and unfortunately, I was a part of that. I then went to RR Donnelley before the spin-off of LSC. Once the spin-off happened, the layoffs happened again and I was a part of that once again. It’s tough to take two layoffs like that but when I really sat down and thought about it, I knew it wasn’t my fault. It was just the result of a changing industry and how these two gargantuan companies had not scaled themselves effectively enough to deal with those changes.
After RRD though, I ended up at P&G for a while and really enjoyed my time there. Unfortunately, they laid off a few schedulers in their department and as a result, I then ran into some scheduling issues with them which they were not able to accommodate.
That’s when I heard about an opportunity with Arandell at their newly opened Kentucky facility. After learning that they would be able to accommodate the hours I was looking for and the shifts I was looking for, I jumped at the opportunity. I’m not going to lie; I had some doubts about the industry as a whole and if we’d continue to grow or if we’d have to downsize like the previous companies I’ve worked for. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the amount of growth it seems like we’re experiencing.
Like I said earlier, I’ve been in the industry over 25 years and I’ve never seen a press schedule this full during the slow season. It’s been a great experience so far and the people are amazing here as well. I’ve never experienced this type of communal atmosphere before. It’s pretty cool that I can just wave to some of the guys I work with and don’t have to walk to a completely different area of the building to solve a problem or just have a quick chat.
What are your day-to-day responsibilities?
My primary responsibility is to babysit the machine. I make sure it’s maintained properly and ensure the crew I have that day knows what they’re doing. As the manager of my crew, speed doesn’t mean as much to me as quality does – which fits perfectly with Arandell’s general philosophy. If you’re working on something and only care about speed, you’re probably going to mess something up, and if you mess something up, you’re going to have to do it again. So I think it’s important to just take an extra minute and make sure it’s done properly.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
What I enjoy most about my job is the people and the fact that I’m able to wear pretty much whatever I want. People know me as the “Neon Shirt Guy” here in Kentucky since I always wear a brightly colored shirt. Especially in a manufacturing atmosphere where the temperature is often pretty warm, it’s great to be able to wear jeans or shorts and a t-shirt whenever I want because that’s what makes me feel most comfortable.
As far as the people go, there are some absolute characters here. I think we still have some work to do in meshing the two Arandell facilities together, but things are headed in the right direction.
What do you like to do for fun outside of work?
Outside of work I love hanging out with my awesome kids. We like going to amusement parks and renting boats or jet skis to haul around for the day. I’m originally from Florida so I’m pretty sure they kick you out of the state if you don’t like water. I enjoy working on my house too and making sure everything is in order. Once I finish up the house projects I’m working on, I’ll probably go out and buy some fun toys like a jet ski or boat.
Do you have a favorite vending machine snack or drink?
I used to drink a lot of Monster energy drinks but have recently switched to coffee since that’s a much healthier option. I’ll enjoy a Zero bar every once in a while too.
What’s your favorite music to listen to? Do you have a favorite band or artist?
I used to big a big metal head but I’m more of a Luke Combs country type of guy these days. I’ll give most music a listen but the only music I don’t enjoy is rap.
Favorite TV show or movie of all-time?
As far as TV shows go, I watch a lot of Family Guy since I think it’s a funny show, but my favorite movies of all time are Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Facing the Giants.
Final Question: How do you define success?
To me, success is always doing my best, setting specific goals and achieving those goals. As long as I know I gave 100% whether the day turned out good or bad, I know I’ve been successful for the day. Personally, it’s the same thing. I try and give it my all to being the best man and father to my children that I can possibly be.