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Final Employee Bearing Company's Name to Retire

Jim Levulis

The final member of Crane’s management bearing the company’s name is leaving the paper manufacturer.

Recognizing the company is on solid ground, the vice president is leaving the organization his family started seven generations ago in 1801. Doug Crane has spent 30 years with the paper manufacturer, a business his family has been involved in since 1770. At a mill near Boston, the family produced cotton paper used to make Colonial Currency before the Revolutionary War. But speaking in Dalton, Crane says joining the family business wasn’t a sure thing after graduating from Brown University.

“My background was actually in biomedical engineering,” Crane said. “No one would take a degree like that thinking they are going to go into paper making. Shortly after I was out, I was working for a period of time. I came back and I gained a whole new appreciation for the complexity of paper manufacturing.”

Other Crane descendants are still with the company. Over his career, Doug Crane has had his hands in research, engineering and many other areas. He’s worked to design and develop 10 different bank notes for the federal government, a role the company has been serving in since 1879, becoming the sole supplier of paper currency in 1964. He says the recently released $100 bill was a great benchmark to go out on.

“It’s a continuation of our introduction of micro optic films into bank notes,” he said. “Incorporating a strip of plastic into a sheet of paper while you’re producing the sheet of paper is no small feat. To do it on the order of billions of bank notes being produced in a year is really pretty incredible.”

Crane describes the work that went into the bill that displays fluttering images of the Liberty Bell and the number 100 as you tilt the note.

“In one bank note there are almost one million lenses on that piece of plastic that go in and out of that note acting together in a highly coordinated fashion to produce this effect,” Crane explained. “To the person on the street they sort of say ‘Oh, hey that’s sliding around there!’ It’s almost like a video game embedded in a bank note.”

Crane says he hopes to do consulting work in Berkshire County in renewable energy or advanced manufacturing. Crane CEO Stephen DeFalco says Crane’s roles in business development and government relations will be divided amongst the management team.

“A little sadness in the company to see him go, but happy for the Berkshires because I’m sure Doug is going to dig in with both feet in terms of helping and doing things in the community,” said DeFalco.

Crane plans to stay with the company till the end of the year to help in the transition process. To mark his retirement, the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing presented him with a picture frame containing two $2 bills. Their serial numbers correspond with his birthday, June 15, 1960.

“My ancestors who really built this company up did something very special,” Crane said. “It was a humbling experience for me to be able to add to that legacy. I really wouldn’t trade that for the world.”

Jim is WAMC’s Associate News Director and hosts WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. Email: jlevulis@wamc.org
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