SGIA Expo Shaping Up To Be A Winner
NAPCO Media spoke with Ford Bowers, SGIA CEO and president, about what the organization has planned for the future, its new agreement with NAPCO Media and what attendees can look forward to at this year's SGIA Expo taking place Oct.10-12 in New Orleans. Industry expert Denise Gustavson, special projects editor at NAPCO Media, led the discussion with Bowers.
Below is a transcribed version of the interview, but if you would prefer to watch the full video, please scroll to the bottom or click here.*
Denise Gustavson (DG): Now, I know you've been president and CEO of SGIA for the past year. Can you provide a quick background of SGIA and where the organization is headed today?
Ford Bowers (FB): SGIA is first and foremost an association of printers, though many may know it by its very successful expo, which by any measure is the largest print show in North America. It really is the home to a number of different printing communities. Over the years the technologies they use to do their printing has changed dramatically. They've been big adopters of digital printing, and as a result, we have a lot of other printing segments that have been attracted to the expo.
Our plans then moving forward are really to take the knowledge that we have in terms of a community of printers that has aggressively adopted digital print and basically give that to the other print communities that come through the supplier channels, through peer-to-peer networking and so on and so forth. Some of the other segments that have not had a heavier presence at our show are now starting to come in larger and larger numbers, so we just want to take advantage of that opportunity that it presents as an association.
DG: You've already touched on it a little bit, but what else can attendees expect to see at the upcoming show?
FB: I think one of the biggest characteristics of our show, it's not what they see but what they feel. There's a lot of excitement and a lot of energy, a lot of buzz, and this year in New Orleans, there'll be a lot of good food. I've been going to the show for a number of years, eight or 10 years myself. I was on the printer side. There's really a quality about the show that's somewhat hard to define, but it is the fact that when you go to the show ... Every time I left the show I would be more energized, I would have dozens of ideas, I would've made new connections, I would've been able to either have my thinking challenged or have my thinking validated.
It's just a tremendous opportunity to really come back with a lot of information and decision points having been made at the show. First and foremost I guess it's going to be that sort of thing. One of the things of course that lends itself to the energy and the buzz is the fact for the fourth year in a row we're going to have an entirely sold out show. We'll have over 500 exhibitors, more than 20,000 attendees. It's hard to beat that combination of the breadth of the platform that suppliers bring, all of the attendees, New Orleans. It's just going to be a phenomenal show.
DG: One of the reasons for our call today is to talk about a new initiative that we're going to have between SGIA and NAPCO Media. I'm going to be leading the initiative from the NAPCO Media side, but for our audience, can you tell us a little bit about the agreement between SGIA and NAPCO?
FB: We've asked NAPCO to be our official Expo communications partner. They're taking a lead role in actually creating a number of different communications channels that will benefit the exhibitors, the attendees, as well as SGIA, and those include a show daily, or an expo daily as we're calling it, to be delivered. It's a printed edition to be delivered each day of the show. There'll be a live e-newsletter also delivered to the attendees' inbox each day of the show. There'll be an email countdown, and then a handful of other things that they'll be doing as well, including some videos and webinars. It really is a really good package deal, and we're very excited about the opportunity.
DG: Why did SGIA choose NAPCO Media for this project?
FB: We chose NAPCO specifically because this was our first time doing something of this breadth. We've done most everything ourselves and internally for many years, and so there had to be a tremendous element of trust that the people who could executive for us had the expertise, the depth of experience, and understanding of what it was we were trying to accomplish. I think in our meetings with NAPCO we just became more and more convinced that all of these qualities, your staff has. I think more so they understand SGIA and they get the vision of what it is we're trying to accomplish. That's really the foundation of a good partnership.
DG: I'm really looking forward to this partnership and working more closely with you as you move through the year. We know the expo is in October, and it's going to be here before we know it. For those in our audience that would like to register or get more information, where can they go and get that?
FB: They can go to SGIA.org. Registration is not open to the general public yet, but it'll open in May. Just look for it. You'll probably get emails in your inbox from us if you've registered in the past, but if you haven't, then go to SGIA.org and the registration links will be there.
*Interview has been edited for clarity.