Digital publishing and Derek Torrey

Derek Torrey, a 1994 RIT graduate and former ESPRIT editor, develops Web sites and CD-ROM publications for Applied Graphics Technology. As editor of ESPRIT , the RIT photography magazine, he headed a team that designed a 32-page, full-color issue of the publication for CD-ROM. During the project, Torrey developed some new and valuable skills in digital technology. Now he is leader and creative director for the New Media Services Division of Applied Graphics Technology (AGT), the nation's largest provider of prepress services. His team has developed CD-ROM publications and created Web sites for such heavy-hitter clients as U.S. News & World Report , and is now developing new products that combine Web design with database management. "We did one million in sales last year," he says quietly.

Torrey got started with AGT following a call to RIT from that company. At that time, the organization was looking to incorporate Eastman Kodak's photo CD technology into their prepress processes. "They were looking for someone with digital publication experience," he says. "After ESPRIT , that was me." He began testing camera equipment, looking for the best images for digital reproduction, meantime lobbying to push AGT into the business of CD-ROM publications. He pulled together a small media team to begin the transition to that technology, and AGT created CD-ROM and Web publications for Hasbro, Citibank, and U.S. News & World Report , among others.

The next step for Torrey was a new project that combines design and graphics with database management. This gave him a new, larger team to manage and the title of vice president of product planning for AGT. The team works directly with customers to design a Web site that acts as the "user-friendly" front door to access unwieldy collections of information. "We look at what each customer needs, then create it," he says.

"I'm definitely a workaholic," Torrey says, laughing. (Although he does get away from work to snowboard and take flying lessons. He soloed in December 1998.) "I like to keep pushing to do something better than the last thing. All of us on the ESPRIT team were like that. We loved our work and we wanted it to be the best.

"What we did at RIT really set us up to kick butt."

The University Magazine, Spring 1999