Post Script: J. Saunders, Crane Stationery Director of Operations

J. Saunders likes organization. He listens to Podcasts on the subject. He has “medium term goals.” And he was just hired as Crane Stationery’s Director of Operations. The Maine native is in the process of moving from Kennebunk, Maine — where he managed William Arthur’s amending and boxed product manufacturing — to North Adams, Massachusetts, where he will be in charge of all manufacturing. Which, of course, will require a lot of doing what he enjoys: organizing.


Tell me about how you ended up in printing.
I’ve been into graphic arts my whole life — my father was a photographer and I wanted to be a photojournalist. Then I discovered everyone with a camera was one. So at 17 I went to trade school for printing and got a job running printing equipment in San Diego.

Are you from San Diego originally?
No, I just went out there to find some adventure.

[Laughs.] Well, I left with a wife and child.

Sounds like a successful trip. How did you end up at William Arthur?
They were looking for a 4-color press operator and I ended up staying for 22 years. The last position I had was managing all William Arthur’s amending — die cutting, embossing, etc. — and boxed goods manufacturing,

As Crane Stationery’s new Director of Operations, tell me what some of your goals are — short and long term — for the company.
Short term — completing the migration of William Arthur to the North Adams facility. Medium term — stabilizing the manufacturing facility so that orders are coming in and going out smoothly. And long term — continue to create an environment where employee engagement is a high priority, because that’s really the key to any successful organization.

What is your favorite part of the job?
The challenge we’re facing. All the change. It’s a unique opportunity for me, being able to influence such a major organizational change. It’s exciting for me.

And the most challenging?
Recruiting and developing enough staff required to produce our high-quality product so that we’re successful.

If you could blast any song in the morning through the speakers on the factory floor, what would it be?
Journey’s “Don’t stop believing.” The song encourages us to have belief in our relationships. I want all of our employees to remember the value in relationships to each other and to our dealers. 

What are you doing when you’re not operating a factory floor?
I read a lot. My wife and I like to hike. I enjoy fishing, hunting, anything outdoors — I’m an outdoor guy. I also have a four-hour commute to and from Maine each week for the time being, so I am a Podcast junkie. I like NPR’s Car Talk and Freakonomics, and anything on leadership and organization: Ken Blanchard, Daniel Pink, Jim Collins.

What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
I spent 19 years as a youth pastor.

If you could tell your 20-year-old self anything, what would it be?
Just relax. The little things aren’t nearly as important. When you’re a young parent, you think every decision is life altering.

Tell me about the most memorable letter you’ve ever received.
I’ve received a couple. I had a nephew who struggled with addiction, and he wrote me a letter from jail. He has since passed away, but his letter stays in my Bible. I also recently received a nice one from a kid who I used to coach in little league, who found me on Facebook. It’s been 10 or 15 years now, but he was just reflecting on his time in little league how special it was to him.

Have a question for J.? Email our Crane Concierge at 

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About craneandco

More than 200 years ago, Stephen Crane decided to make a statement. And it wasn’t with his fashion forward breeches or well-groomed mutton chops. It was with his Liberty Paper Mill, named so just two years after the British occupied Boston – and just five miles away. A tres bold move, if we do say so ourselves. Today, Crane & Co. still calls Dalton home, our 100 percent cotton paper still incites swoons, and we’re still making bold statements. Still not with breeches.

2 thoughts on “Post Script: J. Saunders, Crane Stationery Director of Operations

  1. This is great! I spent 10 years in management at our family’s commercial print plant so I love hearing about other people’s printing “life”. I have since taken my love of printing and started my own letterpress shop in Oregon. I refurbished a press that had been in our family since the 40’s and love setting the type that was used on our community newspaper. Being a one person operation, I can only dream of being able to hire employees with the same passion and commitment to creating meaningful products…it’s one of my goals. I really appreciate J’s value of partnerships, it is also a core value of my business.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Type A Press
    McMinnville, Oregon

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