Learn and Grow with Industry Trade Shows

Michael Makin was appointed President and CEO of Printing Industries of America on August 1, 2002. He serves as Secretary to the Board of Directors of the Graphic Arts Show Corporation as well as Secretary to the Graphic Arts Educational Research Foundation. He is also President of the Printing and Graphics Scholarship Trust Fund (PGSF), an organization which provides $400,000 in scholarships each year to students entering the graphic communications industry.

The GRAPH EXPO Show Daily caught up with him to discuss the record number of co-located events GRAPH EXPO 2012 is hosting this year and what we can look forward to at PRINT 2013.

SD: GRAPH EXPO 2012 is hosting a record 48 co-located events this year. From the GASC/Printing Industries of America Teacher’s Conference, to today’s Career Awareness Day, and user-group meetings and events for every key market segment. Why is this significant?

MM: It is significant because the more outreach we can achieve for the show, the more exposure it will receive building its stature and import. GRAPH EXPO remains one of the top trade shows in the United States, and the more partners we can engage, the better. This enhances both the exhibitor and visitor experience. Co-located events are a fabulous way to give a wider range of people access to the show. The GASC Teacher’s Conference, as one example, brings together graphic communication instructors from across the country. They get to attend a program built specifically for their needs and interests, network face-to-face with their educator peers, and then catch up on all the latest equipment and technology at the show.

SD: Why do organizations and associations co-locate their meetings and events with GRAPH EXPO?

MM: Because GRAPH EXPO is the premier graphic communications show in the United States, welcoming an entire industry under one roof, offering unprecedented access and networking opportunities. Let’s face it, budgets have been tight for folks in many organizations lately, and it’s a case of being able to attend multiple programs with one trip — again, a win on all sides. We’ll probably see more of this kind of programming going forward. For a lot of people, it really makes sense.

SD: How is the integration of technologies affecting the businesses of your members?

MM: Technology integration has always figured prominently for Printing Industries of America members, which is why a trade show such as GRAPH EXPO is so important. It showcases emerging trends, highlights the latest in technological developments, and assembles leading-edge thinkers in one location. The print/graphic communication industry has always been shaped by technology changes — we are always in a state of evolution when it comes to what we do and how we do it. Today it may seem that this is happening at a faster speed, and that’s probably true; technology is moving at a lightning-like pace.

Our members and the industry in general are adapting and adopting integrated media technologies. Take for example, the integration of digital printing and mobile technologies (through things like 2D barcodes, augmented reality markers, and other mobile linking options.) Every time you see a QR code, or another mobile linking code, well, someone printed it, and often, the company that printed it helped manage the campaign around it. So integration of technology is certainly affecting our members businesses, as it is affecting virtually every business on the planet.

SD: What do you see in the future for the graphic communications industry?

MM: I believe there is a very bright future for our industry. In an age when we are being deluged with electronic messaging, spam filters, and Tivo and DVR realities, print continues to offer the most flexible, portable medium to influence actions and generate ideas. Will the industry change? Absolutely. But in its evolution, more opportunities will present themselves – and that’s another reason to attend PRINT 13 next year!

This industry can build on its long-standing experience in keeping up with ever-evolving trends, customer needs, and technology. We’re used to change, we’re used to investing in our future, we’re used to surviving and thriving in a world often heavily influenced by “what’s new.” So the future can be very bright for those who understand how to sell the wonderful capabilities, beauty, and quality that print offers and how to keep print a viable part of a population that has come to value having multiple options in their communications platforms.