Olympian Inspires Conference Attendees
In-plant printing leaders from around the country met in Daytona Beach, Fla., in mid October to discuss the state of affairs in their respective in-plant cultures while gaining insights from a variety of speakers.
Olympic gold-medalist Rowdy Gaines set the tone for the annual Southeastern University Printing & Digital Managers Conference (SUPDMC) with a keynote address in which the swimmer stressed the importance of paying attention to details, teamwork and thinking outside the box. Just after he arrived at the 1984 games, Gaines’ coach noticed that the starter was quick on the trigger of the starter pistol. The coach’s attention to this small detail changed Gaines’ fortunes as they quickly made adjustments and he raced off to the gold medal in the 100 meter freestyle before scoring gold again in the 400 meter freestyle relay and the 400 meter medley relay.
Gaines also encouraged attendees to focus on the need for teamwork. Despite being in a sport that many times is viewed as a solo venture, Gaines spoke highly of the teamwork opportunities and their benefits. To illustrate how we all can benefit from thinking outside the box, he told the story of when he and his coach changed his starting stance, a radical move for a swimmer, but one that paid huge dividends for Gaines.
Event organizer Drew Burgering, manager of Valdosta State University Printing and Copying Services, noted that the conference covered a range of topics this year. “Attendees this year again received a broad range of information from strategic planning discussions to the growth of the inkjet presence and more, in addition to an impressive visit to nearby Eastern Florida State College’s printing operation.”
Burgering and Gaines are both grads of the Auburn University swimming program and enjoyed reuniting at the conference.
Session presenter Greg Cholmondeley led the gathering through the strategic plan building process in an easy-to-understand manner that detailed what makes a strategic plan effective and how to use a strategic plan to strengthen your operation.
Chuck Werninger of Houston Independent School District Printing Services walked attendees through the steps he took to evaluate inkjet for his operation. His detailed insights into the due diligence showed everyone there is a sound way to quantify if and when to bring inkjet on board.
In another session, Don Bahr, of Smooth Finish, helped attendees see the many options for growing their business with wide-format printing. He showed printed products that in-plants could easily start producing to bring in additional revenue.
A roundtable of idea sharing was a hit at the conference as attendees chimed in with what is going on at their respective operations. Richard Beto (University of Texas at Austin), Jimmy Robinson (University of West Alabama) and Gary Williford, (retired, University of Tennessee) led the discussion. It was clear that all collegiate printing operations have similar issues, and a healthy exchange of best practices left everyone with a better feeling of where they stand and how best to move forward.
JoAnn Noth showcased Eastern Florida State College’s Printing & Graphic Services operation in Cocoa, Fla. Her graphics team provides professional design services to the college. This includes web design, brochures, banners, programs, invitations, posters, the EFSC catalog and the student handbook. Her printing team includes copier operators, offset press operators and bindery and bulk mail specialists. Services also include banner, poster and yard-sign production.
While on the tour, attendees listened to an enlightening presentation from EFSC’s provost, Dr. Wayne Stein, on the topics of leadership, team building and dealing with difficult employees. His support of EFSC’s in-plant was also quite clear this day.
SUPDMC attendees also enjoyed a tour of the Daytona International Speedway, which included the opportunity to autograph the finish line.
In 2019, SUPDMC will hold its conference in Wilmington, N.C., hosted by the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, from September 22-25. For more information, go to www.supdmc.org.
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