IPMA Conference an Action-Packed Event
There wasn't much time to rest during last week's In-plant Printing and Mailing Association (IPMA) conference. From the opening reception Sunday evening to the final sessions on Thursday, managers were always busy: attending sessions, visiting vendors on the show floor, catching up with one another during meals, and congratulating their peers at the awards ceremony.
IPMA Executive Director Mike Loyd and his team did an excellent job of organizing and running the conference (and they certainly fed us well too). IPMA President Kelly Hogg was the perfect host, greeting everyone from the podium every day and preparing them for the day’s activities.
The vendor fair doubled as a networking venue, and I enjoyed talking with in-plants and vendors there on Monday and Tuesday. I took tons of notes about new machines and software being installed at in-plants around the country: new wide-format printers, new inkjet presses, new Web-to-print software, new finishing systems. I heard about in-plants preparing to move into brand new buildings and others that are about to absorb all of the work from a neighboring school district. This was all the news I’ve been missing out on over the past two years.
I also learned some sad news. An old friend from past IPMA conferences, Tim Criswell, who ran Sunkist Growers in-plant for many years, passed away earlier this week. (See my profile of his career here.)
The conference included keynote speakers, who focused on improving communication and leadership skills, as well as industry experts, who offered a broader view of changes impacting in-plants and opportunities within their reach. Both Howie Fenton and Greg Cholmondeley, long-time IPMA attendees and consultants, gave great presentations, joined by other industry observers like Mark Fallon (The Berkshire Co.) and Lois Ritarossi (High Rock Strategies). We got an update on the paper industry by Sylvamo, a detailed look at how Blue Valley Schools has automated nearly everything at its in-plant, an analysis of the reasons (and lack of logic) behind outsourcing decisions, plus several sessions full of leadership and communication tips. There was a lot of information given out at this conference. I still have not had time to assess it all.
The highlight for many was the awards ceremony, which honored the winners of the past three years of In-Print and IPMA Awards winners. Six different in-plants learned on Tuesday night that they had won Best of Show awards for the quality of their printing. I was personally pleased to finally tell them about these awards, having had to sit on this news for the past three years.
Now that I’m home, I will miss seeing so many in-plant managers everywhere I look. Just being able to walk up and start talking to managers from Oregon, Virginia, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and practically everywhere else, was a rare gift.
Watch for lots of videos and other coverage of the event in the weeks ahead. (More photos and coverage here.)
Bob has served as editor of In-plant Impressions since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited nearly 170 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, co-sponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.