WITH MY laptop balanced precariously on a tray table I’m gazing down at the farm fields and small towns of the Midwest as I write this, my elbow battling with that of the large fellow next to me for space on the arm rest. Las Vegas has faded into the distance, but the IPMA conference that brought me there is still sharp in my mind.
The sessions and discussions at the three-day event were certainly timely, covering such crucial issues as online job submission, variable data printing, chargeback systems, PDF workflows and computer-to-plate. I did my part by giving a presentation on trends in the in-plant industry, revealing the results from our recent industry research.
I’ve attended the IPMA conference 11 times now, and this opportunity to mingle with in-plant managers is always one of the highlights of my year. I was particularly heartened by the level of enthusiasm and interaction I detected this year, perhaps fueled by the increase in attendance over last year’s Chicago event and the presence of many first-time attendees. Indeed, many of these newcomers fairly gushed with excitement over the great discussions they were having with other managers. Several talked about starting or revitalizing local chapters back home. This is encouraging news for an association that has been marked by dwindling membership and fading chapters in recent years.
International President John Hurt addressed these concerns and others during a business luncheon. He announced that building membership and chapters will be two key focuses in the year ahead. Relying solely on existing members to recruit has not been a huge success, he said, so the association will take a more active role, with him leading the way.
Hurt noted several other changes the board is implementing, including a redesigned Web site, a new business plan and improved customer service. Also, future conferences will be held in smaller cities to reduce costs. Next year’s event will take place in Oklahoma City, a town with a very strong IPMA chapter.