Bob DeBarr joined Avenu 24 years ago as a Hole Puncher and is now the Production Manager responsible for producing upwards of 30 million records a year. Bob credits his success to his outstanding team of experience professionals who have worked with him for over 20 years.
30 Million records is a tremendous amount to produce each year. What types of records are they?
Our customers and projects span across a variety of different types of records including:
The remaining amount is from miscellaneous projects which includes archival prints and off-site scanning.
Does each type of record have its own unique processes?
Yes! And each process uses different equipment and has its own set of requirements and quality control processes. Take maps, for example, which are important records for any jurisdiction. We take a very fragile paper map to our production facility in Dallas, TX, scan it to microfilm, reproduce the image on paper and laminate it. The laminated reproduction is hole-punched and will go into a county office’s binder that is accessible to the public. The original is then stored for safekeeping so that it does not get damaged.
Avenu keeps investing in the very best technology. We have the most up-to-date equipment, which not only produces better quality images, but it’s also faster and smaller. On-site projects are tremendously convenient for our customers because we meet them where they are and bring our equipment to their site. We then have dedicated and experienced Avenu staff who travel to their location to do the work. We recently completed an on-site scanning project that consisted of over 2.5 million records for a client in under an 18 month time frame.
How are you able to produces these volumes while continuing to keep clients happy?
Most of our work deals with imaging original records that hold the record of account or vital information for a jurisdiction. Much goes into how we handle each and every record and how it is processed. I am fortunate to work with a team of experienced professionals who have longevity in the business. Much of our production team has been together for over 20 years. Additionally, our entire business unit is led by Ann Kirkbride who also has over 20 years of experience in the digital arena. Having experienced staff makes all the difference in the world.
How did you get started in the field of document preservation?
I have always loved working with paper and the idea of transforming physical documents into a digital format. I put myself through college by working for a local newspaper and accepted my first job after college as a Hole Puncher for Business Records (which eventually became Avenu) and literally punched holes in paper to meet specific requirements – 2, 3 or 4 hole-punch. Technological advancements have eliminated this type of role, and now as a Production Manager, I oversee the diverse needs of our customers like scanning microfilm and paper, archival prints, index prints, transcription, book preservation…the list goes on.
What has kept you motivated through the years?
It’s a combination of drive and passion. I’m driven to make sure that we stay ahead of industry standards by investing in technology and continuously learning new techniques. I love my team, my overall job, and our clients.
In speaking with your colleagues, they have called you a bit of a “work-aholic.” Do you have any hobbies?
My free time is limited but they will all be happy to hear that I do have an outside interest. I’ve been building a barn by hand. I’ve cleared the field and cut down the trees and then used a horizontal log saw to make the lumber I needed to build the barn. It’s a great feeling to know that I’ve built every square inch. But I confess that my true labor of love is my work. I’m excited to tackle each new day.