Printer To The Presidents

December 08, 1992|By Joe Nawrozki | Joe Nawrozki,Staff Writer

The last two times George Ward's printing firm in Dundalk did work for the White House, the Republicans were pulling the strings of power.

Today, Mr. Ward's work force is busy meeting a Dec. 21 deadline for President-elect Bill Clinton.

And that's just fine with Mr. Ward, a registered Democrat all his life.

"The last two years have been disastrous for the country on the manufacturing side," said the president of Bethesda Engraver Ltd. in the Holabird Industrial Park.

"The '80s were very social in Washington, but the last two years have been very dry for printing items for Washington," he said.

"These invitations are rays of sunlight as far as we're concerned," Mr. Ward said. The company head is referring to the approximately 60,000 invitations for Mr. Clinton's inauguration Jan. 20 on Capitol Hill.

The invitation package includes the formal invitation bearing the gold presidential seal, a program, black and white photographs of Mr. Clinton and Vice President-elect Al Gore and a map.

In 1980 and 1988, the local firm handled the printing jobs for Ronald Reagan and George Bush. This year, Mr. Ward submitted the low bid to the U.S. Government Printing Office and landed the $68,000 contract.

"After a couple of times, you would think people here would take the job for granted," Mr. Ward said. "But they don't. The contract is a little bit of profit and a little bit of prestige."

Bill Hildebrand has been a printer 40 years, the last 18 at Bethesda. Yesterday, he was busy churning out the front portions of the invitations at his die stamp press. "It's always a little exciting when you do something connected with history," he said. "In printing, you always have to be careful so you can produce quality. But everything is rush, rush, rush in everything you do in printing."

Erwyn Clark, 33, has been a printer for nearly half his life and he was producing personal stationery bearing "Al Gore" at the top of each sheet of paper.

"I'm part of this and there's a sense of pride about it, among all of us," Mr. Clark said.

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