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FLEXO Magazine : March 2012
Alfred K. “Al ” Bowers, whom friends and family fondly call “Fritz,” stepped out of Western Michigan and into the profes- sional package printing and converting world at American Can in the late 1970s. Passionate from the start, he relocated from his boyhood home near Pontiac, MI , to Nennah, WI, with no reserva- tions. He quickly rose from entry level pressman to shift supervi- sor, graphics support manager and general manager. Over time, Al honed his skills at American National Can, Pechiney Plastic Packaging, Banta Digital Group and RR Donnelly, where today, based out of Menasha, WI, he holds the position of cus- tomer solutions manager in the Premedia Technologies Division. Early in his career he began making both personal and indelible marks on FTA. Initial assignments involved lecturing at Fox Valley Technical College’s FTA sponsored “Get Your Color Here” seminars. That led to a role on the institution’s advisory board and soon after a seat on FTA’s Board of Direc- tors and its Foundation’s Board of Trustees (1989-1995). During his tenure on the Board, Al became intimately involved with the development of FFTA FlexSys training modules, earning a President’s Award in 1993. He became active in Flexo Quality Consortium (FQC) research work and experiments and soon gravitated to become a champion of FIRST. Al spent countless hours serving on the FIRST 3rd Edition Digital Plates Subcommittee and took a leadership role and co-chaired FIRST 4.0 ’s Design team with Robb Frimming, Schawk, and Arleen Neustein, Excelsior Packaging Group. In fact, in that capacity, he managed the cover and collateral print project and assisted in design of the corrugated box easel, book cover, poly bag shipper and CD label. Eventually, his support and thirst for standards and specifications led him to work with Clemson University via its Process Color Symposiums and the International Standards Organization and its Walmart Ink Specification Project. It was that experience that served as the foundation for his FFTA Fall Conference 2011 presentation. SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS Earlier FTA programs, containing rosters of presenters, included the name Al Bowers: • For Forum 2002, he served as co-chair of the Platemaking and Prepress Sessions • At one time, he helmed the Wide Web Session • At Forum 2012, he leads the Expanded Gamut Session with co-chair Ellen Farrell of DuPont Packaging Graphics. • Two years earlier, in 2010, he served as co-chair of the FQC Session with Paul Lodewyck of Flint Group. • In 2009, he spoke to emerging trends—specifically expanded gamut printing—at Forum and said, “It’s not just about making reds redder, it’s about matching spots, increasing the intensity of process images and enhanc- ing ‘impossible’ images.” He espoused his philosophy from the podium, as well as in print, right on the pages of FLEXO many, many times. Most recently, in late 2011, he said, “Because flexo can print on al- most anything, it is used to print on virtually everything. Every structure brings unique challenges and each printer devises an approach to solve those difficulties. Images in the aisles of supermarkets today are much brighter, often more complex and generally create more impact than ever before.” FAMILY FRONT Packaging is far from Al’s only world. He is a devoted family man and has been for decades. Al, the fourth of six children born to Ralph and Eva Bowers, met his wife of 38 years Lori, who co- incidentally comes from a printing family—her grandfather and uncle were printers, which Al did not know—back in high school. Together they have three children: Andrew, 32, a captain and pilot in the U.S. Air Force, currently based in Oklahoma; John, 27, a visual effects expert for movies and TV, married to his college sweetheart Leighton and living in Los Angeles; and Leah, 20, currently a sophomore majoring in creative writing and digital media at Lake Forest University, Lake Forest, IL . At the homestead, Lori says Al can often be found chal- lenging his mind by solving crossword puzzles, honing his culinary skills in the kitchen (and cleaning up after himself in the process) and following Detroit’s sports teams; football’s Lions, baseball’s Tigers, and hockey ’s Red Wings. This sports enthusiast loves golf and endeavors to hit the links as often as possible. In the past, when donning his Dad’s hat, Lori says Al coached boys’ soccer and served as a bench coach in the local youth hockey league. He also frequented all three of his children’s drama performances and musical concerts, where he applaud- ed their accomplishments and encouraged their passions. As a youth, Lori says, he was in a traveling choir that made annual tours singing in churches. Today, he sings for Neen- ah’s Whiting Community Baptist Church choir and for nearby Appleton’s Master Singers. Reminiscing about past interests, she noted, “Fritz loved to play softball. Through the years, he played 3rd base on the men’s team at our local churches, he played fast pitch for the 8th Infantry in Bad Kreuznach, From Army recruit in 1974 to high school graduation with Lori, to modern day performaning with Appleton ‘s Master Singers and leisurely pursuits, that include Segway tours and go-carting, Al takes time to enjoy life. www.flexography.org MArch 2012 FLEXO 21