This year's Franklin Event offered abundant proof that printers in New York City can still pack a hall to honor the best and the brightest among them.
The September 17 celebration, hosted for 375 attendees by Printing Industries Alliance at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers, featured the presentation of Power of Communications Awards to outstanding performers in advertising, publishing, and printing. Also conferred were the John Peter Zenger Medal for individual excellence and the Franklin Award for Distinguished Service, a celebrity recognition.
Staged annually for decades by trade associations representing New York City graphics firms, the event surrounding the presentation of the awards continues to be the emblem of industry solidarity and fellowship throughout the metro region. The honors, says Printing Industries Alliance, “are awards through which the graphics industry, as a vital force in American society, takes pause and recognizes great leaders who have helped to preserve, strengthen or broaden the frontiers of liberty.”
Exceptional effort in support of these ideals has keynoted the careers of all recipients of the Power of Communications Award, presented for the first time more than 40 years ago to the legendary Henry Luce III of Time Inc. Last week’s recipients were praised for leaving their own records of positive influence, creative excellence, and outstanding achievement in the graphics industry segments they represent.
Honored for advertising was Jeanette Rivera-Ramos, manager of sourcing and procurement for Verizon. A self-described “kid from the South Bronx” who went on to become a senior print production and procurement manager for a long list of high-profile businesses, she currently oversees Verizon’s national print advertising production expenditures. Rivera-Ramos received a Luminaire Award from IDEAlliance in 2008.
Accepting the Power of Communications Award for Advertising, she spoke of the “whole new vernacular” that graphics professionals must become fluent in as the definition of what they do expands to include QR codes, augmented reality, mobile marketing, and other advancements in content creation and management. For graphic communicators, said Rivera-Ramos, it is no longer just about printing—the objective should be to ensure that printing is “the first step” in an integrated, multichannel sequence of marketing events.
Praising her parents for encouraging her education, she urged everyone in attendance “to take a chance on someone—to be the extraordinary person who makes a difference in someone’s life.”
Anthony Cenname, the publisher of WSJ Magazine, is this year’s recipient of the Power of Communications Award for Publishing. His 25-year career in magazine publishing includes stints as a sales and marketing executive for Travel + Leisure, Details, and Condé Nast properties.
Travel to close a deal kept Cenname from attending the Franklin Event, leaving Stephanie Arnold, sales director of WSJ Magazine, to accept the Power of Communications Award on his behalf. She said that under Cenname’s leadership, “we have turned the notion that print is dead on its head” by proving that a luxury-oriented title can do well in a shrinking market for magazines of all kinds. Arnold said that WSJ Magazine, launched six weeks before the financial meltdown of 2008, now has five U.S. and international editions with a circulation of 1.5 million.
Also absent from the proceedings, but for a poignant reason, was John Tempest, posthumous recipient of the Power of Communications Award for Printing. Tempest died on November 7, 2012, after a 35-year career in sales and management in the print and media industries. His résumé included positions with Banta, World Color, Fuji, Acme Printing, and UniGraphic. He was an active member of Printing Industries Alliance and other graphics industry trade groups.
Tempest left behind him, says Printing Industries Alliance, “an immense family of friends.” One of them, Diane Romano, president and COO of HudsonYards, remembered him as a mischievously humorous but unfailingly sympathetic character who cared genuinely about everyone in his large circle.
“Everyone has at least one J.T. story,” Romano said. “The lucky ones among us have many J.T. stories.” Tempest’s wife, Nancy, accepted the award in his memory.
The John Peter Zenger Medal, named for an 18th-century hero of press freedom in America, is reserved for industry members who demonstrate exemplary qualities of courage, charity, activism, or service. This year, the tribute was bestowed upon Kenneth Heath, group publisher at Source Media, a media company serving the financial services industry.
The award cites his personal crusade for the elimination of the disease ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease). He also is an activist for other medical causes and spearheads Children of Fallen Patriots, an organization that provides educational help for young people who have lost military parents in combat or training-related accidents.
Heath quipped that the “courage” attributed to him in his selection for the Zenger Medal “must relate to selling advertising in the financial services industry for 20 years.” Turning to his main theme, he called for voluntarism on everyone’s part to relieve the suffering caused by afflictions like Lou Gehrig’s disease. “I hope that soon, we all meet someone who can say, ‘Hello, I am a survivor of ALS,’” Heath declared.
Those honored with the Franklin Award for Distinguished Service do not necessarily have to be connected with the graphics industry as long as they embody visionary leadership in their respective fields. The purpose of choosing celebrities as Franklin Award recipients is to focus attention on graphic communications and to promote its contributions to culture and society.
This year’s honoree, Shannon Miller, does have an industry connection in that her husband manages a 75-year-old commercial printing business in Jacksonville, FL. But, her celebrity stems from her extraordinary record as the most decorated gymnast in U.S. history. She is the holder of more than 100 national and international competition medals, the majority of them gold. Miller won seven Olympic medals for gymnastics—two gold, two silver, three bronze—and is the only female athlete to be inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame twice (for individual and team performance).
Professionally, she is a promoter of health and wellness for women and children, spreading the message with a weekly talk radio program and a series of books and DVDs. Miller also is a motivational speaker and a sports commentator/analyst.
Having survived a rare form of ovarian cancer in 2011, she became an advocate for early cancer detection and treatment among women. She referred to her struggle with the disease in her Franklin Award acceptance remarks, noting the lessons it inspired her to teach others about goal-setting, persevering, and staying positive in difficult circumstances.
Miller also mentioned the struggles of the printing industry in recent years, but saluted it for the progress it has made toward making print more important to consumers.
Responsible for the success of the 2013 Franklin Event are Tim Freeman, president of Printing Industries Alliance, and a 24-member Franklin Event Committee co-chaired by Brenda Barozzi (Pipeline ps) and Adam Avrick (Design Distributors).
The affair also had the support of 35 platinum and gold sponsors. The platinum benefactors included Brown Printing, Continental Web Press, Inc., EarthColor, Hearst Corporation, Hewlett-Packard, HighRoad Press, HudsonYards, Konica Minolta, OCPC/Consolidated Graphics, Phoenix Lithographing, Pictorial, Quad/Graphics, Xerox Corporation, and xpedx.
The golds were All American Recycling, Blanchard Systems, Inc., Blue Ocean Worldwide, Candid Litho, Canon Business Solutions America, Case Paper, Colonial Press International, CRW Graphics, Dalim Software GmbH, Data-Mail, Inc., Design Distributors, Drummond Press, Fidelity Print Communications, Freedom Graphic Systems, Graphic Paper, Inc., Impact Digital/Industrial Color, Intelisent, MRM Worldwide, Polaris Direct, Publishers Press and Reliable Paper Recycling.