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In an agreement effective April 1, the UNC Print Stop will assume management oversight of the ITS printing operation, which includes check printing, 1099s, W-2s and basic printing services.

The ITS printing is a legacy service that ITS (or its predecessor entities) has provided for more than half a century. Printing is no longer a core function for ITS as it sets its strategic sights on operational expertise in delivering cloud services. ITS announced last fall that it planned to cease its printing operations upon the expiration in November 2019 of its laser printer service contract with manufacturer Konica Minolta.

The UNC Print Stop is the campus’ leading print operator, providing printing and copying services for students, faculty, staff and departments. It is a unit within Finance and Operations’ Campus Enterprises group.

“We have a unique opportunity to work with a group that has printing as a core business function, and they are good at what they do,” said John Mack, Assistant Vice Chancellor, ITS Infrastructure & Operations.

John Mack
John Mack

Through the partnership with the UNC Print Stop, ITS can trust that its customers will receive the same high-quality service, flexibility and fast turnaround they currently enjoy as well as better options for their printing needs.

“We are excited to partner with ITS and continue the quality of service they have offered the University for years, furthering UNC Print Stop’s goal of affording the campus with reliable options for its unit printing needs,” said Chuck Sockell, Associate Director of Auxiliary Services, whose responsibilities include overseeing the UNC Print Stop.

The ITS printing operation is highly regulatory and security compliant, given that materials can contain people’s personal information. “I am highly confident in the Print Stop’s capabilities, sensitivity and adherence to the regulatory requirements,” Mack said.

The partnership with the UNC Print Stop is a bold step forward to re-imagine printing service delivery.

“Printing is their first business,” said Ray DeCristofaro, Director for ITS Enterprise Operations. “We’re information technology.”

The UNC Print Stop, he said, understands the history of printing, the importance of quick turnaround, keeping things in order and ensuring everything complies with audit requirements.

The UNC Print Stop, he said, will “bring innovative technology solutions to the table.”

The UNC Print Stop operates from the third floor of Student Stores. Now the UNC Print Stop will be able to also operate from ITS’ existing printing operation in the basement of ITS Franklin on West Franklin Street.

Remembering ITS’ printing history

In the early days of mainframe computers, ITS printed bills, class rosters, financials and other reports via punch cards and continuous-form green-bar paper for the campus and customers outside of the University, including the town of Chapel Hill. In decades past, ITS’ print jobs even included printing class books and assembling the pages with glue.

For many years, ITS counted UNC Physicians and Associates among its largest clients. Known today as UNC Faculty Physicians, it provides specialty and primary care services for patients across the state.

When Ray DeCristofaro, Director for ITS Enterprise Operations, started working at ITS in the 1990s, the printing operation would use 40 cases of paper every month just for printing month-end financials, which were then distributed all over campus. At one point, ITS printed 100 different forms in support of University business, from UNC-TV asking for pledges to dorm housing assignments.

“Everything was black and white. There was no color printing,” DeCristofaro said.

DeCristofaro and Debbie Page, ITS Technology Support Specialist, remember using carbon paper and getting covered in ink when changing the cloth ribbons. They recollect makes and models of printers long ago retired. They recall filling the hallway twice a year with 200,000 pieces of correspondence printed for the alumni association. Also, they remember when the printing operation kept busy 10 workers over three shifts, with weekends on demand, and when ITS printed four million pages per month. The count is now around two million a year.

Much of the legacy printing work was labor-intensive, noisy and messy until ITS switched to laser printers. Over the past decade, ITS has printed, inserted and mailed materials for alumni development, traffic bills, payroll checks, accounts payable, medical bills, the University Cashier, and many other customers.

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