Employee Spotlight: Meet Craig Bonnett
Written by Sarah Scott
Here at Walsworth Yearbooks, we’re lucky to have many excellent employees. These are the people who make our company run. Some of them interact with our customers every day, but many of them don’t. We’re lucky to have these people, and are sharing a little bit about them in our Employee Spotlight series.
Craig Bonnett is Walsworth’s Supervisor for Kit and Marketing Fulfillment, and works at the company’s Marceline facility. He’s been with Walsworth for more than 24 years, joining the company after a successful career in newspapers. He studied theater in college and stays actively involved in local community theater today in his hometown of Macon, Missouri.
Tell me a little bit about what your job entails.
Basically what we do is product fulfillment, whether it’s marketing items or kit items. We do sales support as well as school support. In sales support, we provide the materials that the sales reps need to maintain and grow their territories. So anything that may come out of the Marketing Department, we do the fulfillment for that. And then same thing on the customer end, it would be product fulfillment. Any of the items that schools need to produce their pages and/or sell more books, sell more ads or basically to promote the yearbook primarily.
There is a wide range of projects we do. The big ones would be the two main kits – the Planning Kit and the Starter Kit for yearbooks, but we also do option order fulfillment, which is the online ordering of plastic covers, autograph supplements, Year in Review and ceBuzz current events supplements, iTags. We gather all that information electronically and then we put it together and send it to the school adviser for distribution.
Let’s say a customer needs a Starter Kit, walk us through all the different things your department does to get that Starter Kit to the customer.
The Kit Material items are basically determined by the salesforce. There’s a task team that evaluates what the kit items should be each year. Once a school signs a contract, part of filling out that contract is the sales rep generates a kit order form. That kit order form is sent to us and we have to do an order entry process.
About mid-spring, we begin fulfillment. Each kit is customized to that school’s needs. So whether they want ad agreements or sales receipts or specific add-on items, we enter that and every kit gets in line for fulfillment. We do the majority of our fulfillment during the spring, but we are busy throughout the summer too. That’s the Planning Kit.
The Starter Kit is an add-on piece. Primarily it’s marketing posters and classroom support posters. Some fun posters, sales tracking, there’s a nice big huge wall calendar with some fun stickers, so those typically go out at the end of July, first of August.
There’s probably a lot more behind the scenes than people realize, as far as getting it to customers.
It’s product in and product out. We’re a storage facility until it’s time to pick and pack and ship. It’s that same process, even though it might be different items. Whether it’s marketing sample books for sales reps or yearbook option orders, there’s three different size books, so there’s three different size tables to insure we don’t get anything confused at our packing stations.
There are a lot of touches. We’re doing 50,000 envelopes in the spring time. (Option orders are) a big operation, it usually takes us about six weeks from start to finish. And the whole point is it helps promote sales and we do it as a convenience for the yearbook adviser.
About how many people do you have working in your department?
We have three people that work full-time around the calendar year. We’re in our own break-out facility. Then I bring on additional help as we get busy. I might have as many as eight or nine people during our peak period, which is probably mid-spring until first of September.
How much storage do you guys have?
At the main building – that is the packing shipping office facility – I’m in a 5,000-foot building and we’ve got 7,500 feet of warehouse.
That’s a lot of warehouse.
Yeah, and it stacks three high, with around 400 pallet bays.
Tell us about your life outside of Walsworth.
My wife Lesa is an attorney in Macon, Missouri. I live in Macon, which is about a half hour from Marceline. My wife has her own law office in Macon. I was born and reared in Chillicothe, Missouri, and I’m a graduate of the University of Missouri with a bachelor’s degree, oddly enough in theater.
How long have you and your wife been married?
Oh, let me do that math. 1987, so that’s 31 years, right?
Do you have kids?
My son Ryan is 29 now, and he is a banker at a credit union in Denver. I’ve got a daughter who is working at her mother’s law office.
From theater, how did you end up in printing?
In a very strange and curious path. I was in the newspaper business – a small, mom and pop shop in eastern Kansas. And then a few years after that, I was working for a newspaper chain from about the mid-80s to the mid-90s in St. Louis called the Suburban Journals. I was a managing editor for some of their outside county papers. Then I was their city desk editor. I spent about eight years with the Suburban Journals. I think at the time, they had 44 newspapers. It was a freebie, throw it on your lawn, but it had a circulation of about a million. It covered from Wentzville east to the Illinois side.
We moved to Macon in 1994, and I started with Walsworth in October of 94. I started as a customer service rep in Brookfield, then after a couple years was promoted to customer service manager. Then one day in 1999, I walked in and was told I had the chance to interview for a new job. It was for Kit Department Manager.
What do you like to do for fun?
I have been active in my church in Macon and had been on the board of elders for 10 years. I served as chairman of the board for our church for a couple years. We have a community theater group in Macon and we also have a para-professional repertory theater in Macon. I participate in the community theater – it’s called Carousel Productions. I took a 20-year hiatus between college and theater. My wife had never even seen me in a show before. My kids thought it was my secret life before they were born.
When my daughter was seven years old, she saw an ad that the Community Theater was going to do a production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” She wanted to be in it, because there were roles for kids. So I took her to audition and they basically told me, ‘yeah, this isn’t soccer practice, you don’t get to drop your kid off and leave.’ So I auditioned and got the role of Joseph. I had never sang a solo part like that before. That was around the winter of 2000 and I’ve been involved ever since.
Any favorite shows?
Our production of “Les Miserables” was really good. I really liked the little musical “The Spitfire Grill.” I directed a couple of goofy farces. One was called “Unnecessary Farce,” which was just pure goofiness. I directed an old-time classic called “The Rainmaker,” and that was a lovely show. I really loved it.