Government Printers Meet in New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS' devastation at the hands of Hurricane Katrina was witnessed on TV screens worldwide. But seeing the aftermath first hand, as attendees of the recent National Government Publishing Association conference did, left a far more poignant impression.
On the second day of last month's NGPA conference, members boarded a bus for a sobering ride through the New Orleans neighborhoods that flooded after the city's levees failed, including the infamous Lower Ninth Ward. Many homes were still boarded up and dilapidated four years after the storm, the high water mark clearly visible on their facades. Gaping holes in roofs showed where residents had chopped their way out of attics in a desperate struggle to survive. Mostly, though, the lots of once thriving neighborhoods were empty and overgrown, the houses long since torn down.
This was not just a gawking tour, though. The group disembarked to examine a new home being built by Habitat for Humanity, a project sponsored by Kodak. In the vicinity were other new homes (funded by actor Brad Pitt), built on raised platforms to withstand future floods. NGPA presented a Habitat representative with a donation to be used to plant trees on the property, once the home is finished, as a way to contribute to the rebirth of New Orleans.
This field trip was one of the highlights of NGPA's 33rd annual conference, which also included three days of educational sessions and a vendor exhibit area. The event was organized by Susie Barthel, director of the state of Louisiana's General Services Division. She and her staff were excellent hosts throughout the conference.
Inspired by the New Orleans location, some speakers added a unique Louisiana twist to their presentations. Konica Minolta's Erik Holdo—also an accomplished chef—managed to cook up shrimp and other delicacies while at the same time offering in-plants advice on how to implement manageable change and identify their shops' "secret ingredient." Another speaker brought Bourbon Street into the conference room by serving mimosas during his talk.
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.