“Coming to work every day is a wonderful stage experience,” explains Chuck McBride of Kensington, MD’s CLB Printing Company. McBride, who at age 50 moved from New York to Washington to study at the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, knows a lot about the stage.
A veteran actor, Chuck McBride can claim that he has done it all…stage, television, radio, and movies. Having appeared in such hits as GI Jane, Mars Attacks, and Contact, he speaks of his career with great pride. According to an exuberant McBride, the highlight of his movie career thus far has been meeting legendary actress and director Jodie Foster. He was able to shake her hand and express his fondness for her work in the field. He also recalls that, having been dressed as a Franciscan monk, he had to turn away many people who wanted prayers or marriage ceremonies performed for them on the set. And while that may have been the highlight, McBride laughs when he tells of his most interesting part…that of a chicken, dressed in some obscure shade of pink. Apparently, hosiery stores in upstate New York aren’t accustomed to male clientele requesting pink leotards. But McBride persevered.
While he may be well versed in the entertainment business, Chuck confesses that his next offer was a part he was not prepared to play. And yet, this was one audition that didn’t require a call back.
McBride, who has extensive experience in accounting as well as acting, one day found himself presented with an offer he couldn’t refuse. “After my wife died, I found myself at loose ends. I was approached by some good friends – Paul and Peggy Fuqua, to come down to Washington.” They had asked McBride to be CFO of their sheet-fed printing company, CLB. McBride had his doubts at first, his main objection being that he knew nothing about the printing business. The Fuquas told him that he already knew all he needed to know in order to fulfill the job requirements. Having no other projects on the table, McBride accepted.
Soon after Chuck McBride started working at CLB Printing Company, he discovered a few things. One, the company was in serious financial trouble. Two, the Fuquas were not going to be a part of the company much longer. Three, even a CFO of a printing company has to know what the numbers mean in order to make things work. So Chuck had to educate himself quickly if he was to preserve the value of his stock and to keep himself, and perhaps the whole company, afloat.
McBride says that his very first attempt at becoming hands-on, was trying to figure out how to mic and measure a skid of paper. CLB, who specializes in magazine printing, desperately needed a good CEO at the helm and McBride was determined to make this new job last. After learning about paper, other education was soon to follow. According to McBride, he soon found out just how little he knew about the business.
After CLB nearly went bankrupt and the Fuquas were bought out, McBride knew he needed to hire a plant manager to operate the 58-person shop. The first one didn’t work out and a succession of other managers was to follow, none fulfilling McBride’s expectations. After removing the fifth plant manager in eight years, McBride decided, “I couldn’t do any worse”.
Paul Jungans, the former East Coast general manager of Zellerbach, took on the position of partner in 1996, when CLB changed hands. So far, the match seems to be made in heaven. Jungans and McBride have turned the shop around, boasting 1999 as the most profitable year in the history of the 29 year-old company. McBride isn’t one to take a solo bow however. He attributes the company’s success to his partner as well as knowledgeable department heads. He boasts about the teamwork of CLB, and is quick to point out that the reference to “my employees” doesn’t mean that he is lord and master. He is merely part of an ensemble cast.
With the purchase of a 5 year-old, $600,000 Komori, CLB has big plans for the future. The Komori should be up and running to full potential in August, after some electrical modifications by the local service provider. According to McBride, CLB wants to devote itself to getting up to date, including concentration on design work for its clients. With the extended services and continued growth of CLB, one can only hope there will still be time for a trip to the movies.