Home' FLEXO Magazine : June 2015 Contents Harrell, having also served as Forum cochair in 2014, looks back on her
two years molding and shaping FTA’s biggest event of the year fondly.
“It was so wonderful to have the opportunity to work on the FTA
Forum Committee for the past two years. I learned so much about the
amount of work and the number of talented people required to orga-
nize this event. I am very grateful for the experience and the number
of great relationships that have been built! Thank you, FTA!”
Forum 2015 officially began with a welcoming from FTA President
Mark Cisternino, thanking those who made the trip to Nashville and
promising four days of insightful and knowledge packed sessions.
Cisternino then introduced Grant Blewett, global sales director
of packaging at Platinum Plus sponsor Kodak, to give an opening
address. He spoke about some of the larger demographic shifts his
company sees in the packaging industry, specifically the rise of the
Internet connected and smartphone carrying generation, sharing
statistics and the opportunities presented.
Sunday’s session lineup then began with a look at buyer preferences,
brand protection and where the industry is heading, with “Upside
Down or Inside Out: What’s Next in Packaging,” chaired by Penny
Holland of Sun Chemical Corp. and Galen Croxton of Tetra Pak.
Suzy Badaracco, of Culinary Tides, Inc., gave an in depth look at the
various consumer groups and generations that exist today, pinpoint-
ing characteristics of each, as well as their preferences and aversions.
“Generation Y doesn’t want to be friends with companies,” she said.
Badaracco also argued that, “You can’t just survey consumers and
ask them what they want in three to five years,” and that the best way
to determine consumer preferences is to analyze their behavior and
Lori Campbell, from The Label Printers, spoke second, delivering
what may be eye opening news to brand owners: It’s not just high end
goods like Rolex that get counterfeited. She rattled off a list of items
not thought of as being targeted, comprising olive oil, airbags and golf
balls. Campbell implored flexographers to think of brand protection
as a business opportunity, and a way to strengthen a relationship with
a brand owner and provide solutions.
Taking a look into the future of packaging, California Polytechnic
State University’s Colleen Twomey wrapped up the session. After
revealing a statistic every attendee was happy to see—packaging ranks
No. 1 on the list of print’s fastest growing business segments—she
shared success stories of brands implementing cutting edge technol-
ogies like Near Field Communication (NFC), Bluetooth Low Energy
(BLE) and printed electronics to entice shoppers.
“I thought these presentations were the most interesting I have seen
in this category compared to past Forums,” noted Prairie State Group’s
Randy Crutchfield. “They had cool new technology that intertwines
with everyday printing.”
After a short refreshment break, the “From Tribal Knowledge to
Technology: How to Understand The Needs of Your Workforce”
session began with an admittedly stereotypical portrayal of the two
generational extremes often coexisting in a pressroom: Tim Thomp-
son, an iPhone obsessed, Twitter mastering millennial who defers to
Google and YouTube for instruction on how to mount a plate, played
by Joel Engelberth of Esko; and Maggie Miller, an older generation
worker with binders of notes and one eye on the time clock, played by
Catherine Haynes of All Printing Resources, Inc. (APR).
In a mock game show hosted by Clemson University’s Dr. Nona
Woolbright, the two were asked various commonsense flexography
questions, unable answer a single one. The skit served to show the
only way to really accomplish anything in a pressroom is to identify
and accept generational differences, and work together.
Setting his phone to “silent” and removing her hairnet, Engelberth
and Haynes delivered a joint presentation that covered training op-
tions appealing to different personality types and their pros and cons.
Dr. Woolbright followed with a detailed look at the psychology behind
learning. “For the first time, there are going to be four generations
working side by side,” she noted—Traditionalists, Boomers, Genera-
tion Xers and Millennials. But lumping employees into groups based
on age provides little information on how to best communicate with
them. “Look deeper,” Dr. Woolbright advised.
She closed by reminding attendees that, “We’re all different, and that’s
perfectly OK. It would be extraordinarily boring if we weren’t.”
Plastic Packaging Technologies LLC’s Bob Coomes brought Sunday’s
sessions to a close by offering the means to make a pressroom “per-
form in concert.” Drawing parallels to Forum 2015’s theme of “Hitting
The Perfect Harmony,” Coomes, a former musician, compared some
workflows to free form jazz, devoid of any documentation, prepara-
tion and proper training.
Wit h Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifications & Tolerances
(FIRST) as a solid foundation, he described how to build a team,
getting external help from FTA and suppliers, and internal help from
leadership. Echoing advice given to countless musicians, he reminded
the audience that, “There is no such thing as an overnight sensation”
and to keep practicing, in pursuit of perfection.
24 FLEXO | JUNE 2015
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