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IM’s Rulison has seen many changes in technology

Nick Rulison

Editor’s Note: The following is part of a series of articles profiling The Inter-Mountain’s staff.

ELKINS — Pressman Nick Rulison has seen a great deal of technological changes in the pressroom while working for The Inter-Mountain.

“I’ve been here just over 12 years, working on 13,” Rulison said.

“I started off as one of the inserters, and then later I took over the mailroom. It was when we got the insert machine. I had been one of the regular inserters and they moved me to working on the machine.”

A number of years later, Rulison began working on the press itself.

“Eventually I moved over to the press,” he said. “Each job was different. Two different machines. The press is more standard. You can tell everything that you need to do. When something is wrong you know exactly what needs to be changed or fixed.

“With the inserting machine, when something’s not working there’s a lot more guessing involved. Is the machine off or is it the insert you’re trying to put in? It can be complicated.

“The inserting machine is easy to learn but hard to master, you could say,” Rulison noted. “There are relatively few adjustments that you can make to it, but depending on what your problem is, it could be one of 10 different things, or it could be a combination of three. The answer could be just move this a little bit, turn this arrow a little bit, and then adjust this belt to touch, and then it’ll run perfectly. But if you don’t know those things are what’s causing the problem, you’ll spend a long time trying to figure it out. I lot of it is just experience.”

On the press crew, Rulison spends part of his work day as a “flyer.”

“Working on the press, most of my duties consist of prepping, hanging plates and probably my main job is flying the papers when they actually come off the press in bundles,” he said. “They’re in a bundle and they’re stacked up, but they’re not very straight. So I have to get them all nice and neat and aligned and even, then stack them up and get them on a pallet for the inserters.

“It’s a job where a little bit of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) can help you,” he said with a chuckle. “And the inserters appreciate it because any time it has to run through the machine, the neater it is, the better.

“Being a flyer, it’s one of those jobs that when you first start it, it seems simple, but it’s not easy. Once you learn it, and you get a feel for how the papers move and how you have to hold them as you’re straightening them up.”

Asked what is his favorite thing about working for The Inter-Mountain, Rulison said, “The crew I work with is the best part of this job. We’ve got a good crew in the back, everybody. And the press crew, the three of us work well together. Everybody knows what needs to be done, everybody knows what they should be working on. And everybody gets along well together.”

The multiple changes and upgrades in equipment and technology in the pressroom stand out in Rulison’s memory.

“The most memorable thing to me, from my personal point of view, has been all the changes,” he said. “Because I’ve seen us go from just hand-inserting every insert to seeing and learning to run the inserting machine. I was here when we used the light table, and I was here when we first got the CTP machine, as well.

“Those have been huge changes, and I’ve been involved in them. I’ve seen both sides, and I know how to do this job better, because I know what that job required. I’ve run every piece of equipment in the pressroom.”

As for hobbies, Rulison stated, “I’m a family man and I love Dallas Cowboys football.”

He and his wife have two children, a 7-year-old son and a 4-month-old daughter. Having a baby during the COVID-19 pandemic was a stressful experience, he said.

“Probably two weeks prior to the lockdown last year, we decided to have another child,” he said. “It just kind of happened that way. At least by the time we had her, regulations had relaxed a bit. I was able to be there in the hospital with her. My wife had to have a C-section, so at least I could be there with her.”

Rulison is from upstate New York originally and moved to this area at age 14. He is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.

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