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Shown here at a recent Don’s Hat Rack ride with his daughter, Deanne, Northford’s John Heine has been selected to receive a Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau (CTCSB) Bring It Home Award sponsored by Eversource. (Photo courtesy of John Heine )
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John Heine has built an impressive career at Yale University’s collegiate printing facility, but not even he could have predicted the award that came his way this week. Let’s just say it was one for the books.
On Oct. 23, during the Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau (CTCSB) Hospitality Industry Night and Bring It Home Awards sponsored by Eversource in North Haven, John, a Northford resident, was lauded with a Bring It Home Award for his work to bring a meeting to the area that will have a “profound impact on the state’s economy,” according to CTCSB.
For his part, John says he’s humbled to be recognized for accomplishing what started out as personal goal: to bring the Association of College & University Printers’ (ACUP) Annual Conference to the Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale in April 2019.
John was one of five Connecticut residents honored by CTCSB this week for bringing four major meetings and events to the state. In addition to John, CTCSB lauded an East Hartford resident who coordinated a state governments’ conference at Mohegan Sun; a Trumbull couple who brought the USA BMX East Coast Nationals to Trumbull, and a Simsbury resident who rallied to bring the U.S. Specialty Sports Association Northeast National Championship to East Hartford and Southington.
CTCSB President H. Scott Phelps, hailed the awardees as a group of “dynamic Connecticut residents who have stepped up to help showcase our state, bringing visitors here and growing the economy.”
Phelps noted CTCSB’s fourth annual awards night this week celebrated “the positive impact of tourism and conventions, conferences, meetings, and sports events on Connecticut—from job creation to local, regional and state revenue.”
A digital print production and auto finishing manager at Yale Printing and Publishing Services (YPPS), John joined ACUP in 2012 and started attending its annual conferences. Established in 1964 as a professional association supporting the work of collegiate printing facility managers, ACUP conferences are held at locations around the country and regularly draw participants from as many as 95 different schools in the U.S., as well as some arriving from Canada, Great Britain, New Zealand, and Australia, John says.
The last time an ACUP conference came to New Haven was in 1977, and the last time the conference gathered in Connecticut was 2006.
“I was inspired to get it to come to New Haven because it hasn’t been in the area for quite some time,” says John. “It was in Pennsylvania in 2012, it was in Virginia in 2015, but it hasn’t been in Connecticut since 2006.”
Last year, when he learned the conference organizer was considering a Connecticut venue for the 2019 ACUP conference, John made it his mission to convince her that New Haven, home of Yale University, was the best choice.
“They were thinking about doing it up near Hartford, so she looked around Hartford, and then I met her up there and brought her here,” says John. “We did a bunch of things down here in New Haven and the surrounding area, and we got her a couple of tours in New Haven and around the campus,” which sealed the deal, says John.
Since then, John’s been a busy point-person for the 2019 ACUP conference, helping to coordinate a visit that will bring more than 100 attendees and many plus-ones to New Haven and the surrounding area in April.
“Getting the conference here is a major undertaking,” said John. “I’m on a conference call once a month trying to get everything organized and ready for the April conference. I would also say it is a feather in our cap here at Yale Printing and Publishing, because we get to show off our facility to all these other printers. And the cool things about this organizations is that we’re basically all in the same boat—we’re not in competition with each other. So there is a lot of collaboration that goes on between different people in the organization.”
John began working at Yale in 1983 as a “computer jockey” for the university’s Administrative Data Services, he says. He moved over to YPPS in 1993 and has been part of a team that’s navigated service growth and production using ever-changing technology. Clients are mostly affiliated with the university.
“We get all different types of files for printing and/or publishing and/or [other] disseminating, and we have to make them work for what the customer is wanting to do. Either we’re creating the files from the ground up through graphic design or graphic design programs, or we get [designed] files from people and we have to do what we have to do in order to produce a print file,” John explains. “Most of what we do now is done digitally. We transfer data from the computers to the printers and print them out. We print black and white, color; we print what they call large format, we do all kinds of bindings, we do all kinds of mailings. Basically, anything involved with printing or mailing, we do it! We do e-publications as well. We do it all.”
John enjoys his work, saying of his skill set, “I would consider myself more of a jack of all trades. I have just enough knowledge to get myself in trouble when it comes to files and printing and setting up and problem solving and so forth and so on.”
He also enjoys working with his peers at YPPS. The group pulls together to get jobs done well and on deadline, especially during YPPP’s crunch times, which begin a couple weeks after the start of each fall and spring semester and last until the semester ends. In honor of a past YPPS employee with whom he worked, John also gets involved with a charity started in the young man’s honor, Don’s Hat Rack. The Hamden-based charity is named for Donald Perrotti, a 22-year-old who lost a six-year battle to Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare bone cancer.
“The charity is in memory of a young gentleman who actually used to work here, and his mom did, too,” says John. “She organized this program that provides hats and [support] for Yale cancer centers. They have raised enormous amounts of money over the past years.”
The charity began more than 14 years ago with the goal of giving kids battling life-threatening diseases at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital (YNHCH) their choice of a vibrant hat to wear while undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Proceeds from annual Don’s Hat Rack Motorcycle Rally rides have helped the charity expand the program to YNHCH satellite centers in New Haven (Smilow) and Guilford, supplying not only hats but supporting “fun centers” stocked with toys, games, televisions, gaming systems, and DVD players for children in treatment to enjoy. Last year’s motorcycle rally from Hamden to West Haven drew more than 1,000 participants.
John, who’s been riding motorcycles since age 18 (he now rides a Yamaha FKR1300) has joined rallies with co-workers and family members (participants don’t need to ride a cycle), including his wife, Deborah, and daughter, Deanna.
A Hamden native, John and his wife moved to Northford in the early 1990s. Raising their daughter in Northford, John got involved with his community through another pastime he enjoys, soccer.
“I coached girls’ soccer in town for many years. I’m a former vice president of [North Branford] Soccer Association,” says John, who still plays the sport, as well. “I’m thinking about giving it up, but as of right now, I do play,” he says, laughing. “I play in an Over-50 league right now. We’ve got games from Greenwich to Hartford. It’s all over Connecticut.”
As for being recognized by CTCSB as a person who is helping to promote his home state, John said it was surprise, and an honor.
“It was a complete surprise,” says John. “I really want to thank the organization, as well as my director here at Yale Printing and Publishing Services, Jeff Gworek, as well as Yale University.”
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