Longtime ‘print guy’ retires from Auburn School District after 42 years

“I approached the job like it was my own business,” said Rick Kain, who makes it official Aug. 31.

For 42 Septembers, Rick Kain has printed welcome-back-to-school letters, packets of vocabulary words and math problem sheets for the Auburn School District.

But when school starts again this fall, ASD’s print shop guy will be elsewhere — enjoying a well-earned retirement from the job in which he took such evident pride.

“I approached the job like it was my own business,” said Kain, who makes it official Aug. 31. “I wanted to be there for the teachers and entire staff and contribute to the school district.”

The ASD will close the print shop when Kain retires, outsourcing its printing needs in the future.

Randy Thomas, executive director of maintenance and operations, said: “Rick is to be commended for more than 47 years of dedicated and loyal service as a print shop operator. He has adapted to many changes in equipment and technology since starting this work in the ‘70s, but he’s always committed himself to producing a quality project.”

Kain, an Algona native, attended Algona Elementary (now Alpac), Olympic Junior High and graduated from Auburn High in 1969. From there he went on to serve two years in the Air Force during the Vietnam era and worked a series of odd jobs after his military service. He began his career in education in the Bethel School District in 1975, where he worked for six years in a variety of roles, including printing. He was hired as the print shop operator in the Auburn School District in 1981, and was thrilled to return to the community where he grew up.

Throughout his career, Kain has done work for every department. He values the spirit of teamwork throughout the district, from every custodian to the superintendent. He served on the district committee that selects the staff member of the month for more than 20 years and enjoyed being part of the process to recognize excellent staff.

Kain and his wife, Barbara, will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary next year. They have four children and four grandchildren. In 1978, they moved from Puyallup to a house Kain helped build in Bonney Lake, where they still live.

Retirement will be a new experience and he hasn’t decided what he will do, he said, although a part-time job is not out of the question.