Printing Industries Alliance Post Drupa Event Exceeds Expectations

Printing Industries Alliance (PIA) says that its Post Drupa Report on August 18 was a resounding success. The event, held at the Club 101 in Manhattan, had an audience of more than 100 end users including printers, mailers, and other graphic arts service providers.

The drupa exhibitors represented in the panel presentations included Canon, GMG, HP, Highcon, Konica Minolta, Landa Digital Printing, Muller Martini, Scodix, Xeikon, and Xerox.

Marty Maloney, PIA’s executive vice president, commented, “Our Post Drupa Event had the same leading companies that hosted PIA’s VIP drupa tour in Düsseldorf. All of them were major attractions at drupa, and they represent the best of the best from the more than 1,800 drupa exhibitors”.

The Post Drupa Event featured five panels on the following topics:

• Who’s On First? Offset vs. Digital vs. Inkjet vs. Nanography

• The Rapid Rise and Importance of Labels and Packaging and Importance of Color Management

• Postpress Takes the Lead

• Wide Format Breaks Into the Big Time

• Observations First Hand from Drupa Attendees

The 25 panelists included vendors and printers as well as end users. The expert moderators were Denise Gustavson, Southcomm; Patrick Henry, WhatTheyThink; Steve Katz, Rodman Media; and Richard Romano, WhatTheyThink. (Romano’s subsequent article about the wide format panel, which he moderated, can be read here.)

Lunch continued the drupa theme with servings of bratwurst and Pilsner. During the break, Maloney set the record straight with a presentation titled “Print is the Largest Media of All, By Far.” The presentation offered data bearing out the claim that print dwarfs all other media including broadcast and the Internet and is larger than all other media combined. (PIA makes Maloney and his presentation available for company and association meetings.)

The all-day program interspersed presentations and panel discussions and concluded  with a networking session.

PIA president Tim Freeman commented, “The Printing Industries Alliance wants to make sure that everyone in our industry has access to all the information they need to do business in the most efficient way. Events like this Post Drupa Report accomplish this and more by providing a meaningful dialog between all parties and a great opportunity to learn from one another.”


It isn’t easy to attract an audience of 100 people to an event of any kind during business hours, but such was the drawing power of PIA’s Post Drupa Event on August 18. Hats off to the association not only for pulling in a crowd of that size, but also for enlisting the support of the impressive lineup of vendors who helped to make the day possible.

Relatively few metro area printers ever have the means or the opportunity to attend drupa, so the deep interest in the program’s subject matter was no surprise. But, as this writer was reminded in moderating the panel on first-hand observations by drupa attendees, there is always something new to think about in the aftermath of the world’s biggest printing trade show.

My astute and insightful panelists—Tim Freeman (PIA), Cheryl Kahanec (EarthColor), Tom Mackessy (LSC Communications), Michael Pallone (PubWorkX), and Simon Schaffer (Case Paper)—covered a lot of ground in their accounts of what they saw and learned at the show. Toward the end, one of them made a remark that struck a common chord with everyone.

It was their shared observation that the mood and the morale of the industry seemed to be so much more upbeat at the international event than they are here at home. The panelists agreed that they’d felt a spirit of optimism about printing that doesn’t prevail—or at least isn’t easy to detect—among printers and other members of the industry in the U.S.

It’s a little hard to understand why. Although the industry struggled and contracted during the years of the Great Recession, it emerged from the downturn stronger in some ways than it had been when it entered. U.S. print service providers are still among the most technologically progressive printing businesses in the world. And, as Maloney’s presentation (summarized here) made plain, America’s graphic communications firms continue to create tremendous value for the national economy through print media—a fact that rarely gets the attention it deserves.

PIA’s Post Drupa Event helped to dial up the pride while giving its attendees a show overview that literally was the next best thing to being there.

Rich Barbaria Is Member Development Manager for Printing Industries Alliance (Announcement with Commentary)

rich_barbaria_joins_pialliancePrinting Industries Alliance (PIAlliance) has appointed metro area industry veteran Rich Barbaria to fill the newly created position of Member Development Manager.

Having served as vice president of operations and general manager for several large metro printing operations, Barbaria has an extensive background in all aspects of graphic communications business management. His areas of expertise include strategic and tactical planning; graphics and print technology; production management; workflow optimization and streamlining; continuous improvement and lean manufacturing; customer service development; regulatory compliance; and sustainability.

Working from a home office in Seaford, NY, Barbaria will be available to members across the entire Printing Industries Alliance footprint. PIAlliance President Tim Freeman said, “We are extremely pleased to add someone with Rich’s experience and commitment to our staff. Rich has been a fixture in the metro New York printing industry for many years and has great contacts in the printer and vendor communities.

“The addition of Rich Barbaria, along with the recently announced hiring of Marty Maloney and the opening of an office in Brooklyn, is a continued reminder of the commitment that Printing Industries Alliance has to the metro New York graphic communications community.”

As Member Development Manager, Barbaria will assist current PIA members in optimizing the production and financial success of their companies. He also will be involved with membership sales and several projects relating to his areas of expertise.

Barbaria’s primary focus will be on developing relationships and strengthening the level of support that PIAlliance provides to its membership. “This is a fundamental shift away from the new member marketing activities that have been our focus for the past few years,” Freeman said. “While these activities remain important, our primary focus will be on supporting our members’ success.”

Barbaria can be contacted by phone at (516) 528-4747 and by e-mail at His mailing address is 3951 New York Avenue, Seaford, NY 11783.

Commentary: I’ve known Rich Barbaria for many years as a valued editorial source and as an esteemed educational colleague (we both have taught graphic communications at New York City College of Technology). Nobody knows the metro area graphics industry landscape, particularly on Long Island, better than Rich. Like Marty Maloney, he’s an outstanding addition to the PIAlliance professional staff roster. His appointment is further proof of the association’s commitment to the well being of its members throughout the metro area.

—Pat Henry

“Nous sommes CTD”

I’ve published a piece at the WhatTheyThink blog in response to last week’s outbreak of terrorist violence in France. As the world knows, a part of this terrible drama was played out at a printing plant near Paris. I couldn’t let the symbolism of the incident pass without comment. Sad but necessary to say, as members of the printing industry, we are all in this fight for freedom of expression together.

PIA Announces Retirement of Vice President Vicki Keenan, Who Will Be Honored at the 2014 Franklin Luminaire Awards Event

090414.vicki_keenan_retirementThe following news was furnished by Printing Industries Alliance—Ed.

Printing Industries Alliance (PIA) announces the retirement of Vice President Vicki Keenan, effective October 1, 2014.

Vicki joined the organization as Vice President in 2006 as part of its expansion into the New York metro region. She made an immediate and positive contribution by assisting the organization in understanding the various elements and concerns of the metro New York graphic communications industry.

From 1993 to 2006, Vicki served as Vice President, Executive Vice President, and President of the Association of Graphic Communications (AGC), a former regional affiliate of Printing Industries of America. A consummate professional, Vicki has devoted much of her career to representing the industry’s interests with regard to federal, state, and local governmental affairs.  In this capacity, she has been involved in a variety of critical issues including sales tax on postage and direct mail, clean air regulations, and creation of an $8 million Printers Relocation Fund, to name just a few.

Vicki started her career in Washington, D.C., with successful positions as a senior government and public affairs representative for the National Newspaper Association, Bechtel Corporation, and the American Consulting Engineers Council.

She has served for many years on the New York City Department of Education’s Graphic Arts Industry Advisory Commission. She was a founding board officer of the Graphic Communications Scholarship Foundation and a member of the East Orange (NJ) High School Printing and Graphic Communications Center Advisory Committee. She represented the industry on two New York City Mayoral Advisory Committees, Small Business and Graphic Arts. In 2012, she was honored with the Gold Key Award and inducted as an honorary member of Gamma Chapter, Gamma Epsilon Tau, an international Graphic Arts Honor Society at New York City College of Technology.

Vicki also has been instrumental in developing the annual Franklin Event (now the Franklin Luminaire Awards) into the premier networking event in the graphic communications industry.

In making the announcement, PIA Chairman Patrick R. Ryan commented, “PIA and our industry owe Vicki Keenan a debt of gratitude for her dedicated years of service and work on behalf of us all. Best wishes for a happy and healthy retirement!”

PIA President Tim Freeman remarked, “I have been pleased to call Vicki a friend since the day she started at AGC. We have worked together on a number of important industry issues through the years, and much of the success we have achieved on these issues should be attributed to her business acumen and political savvy. Her knowledge and perseverance have always been big industry assets that will be hard to replace. Please join the PIA membership, Board, and staff in wishing Vicki all the best for happy and healthy retirement.”

Vicki Keenan will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s Franklin Luminaire Awards program on September 17, 2014 at Pier Sixty in Manhattan. For further information contact Printing Industries Alliance at 716-691-3211.

Printing Industries Alliance, a printing trade organization with offices in Amherst, NY, and Roselle Park, NJ, serves graphic communications firms in New York State, Northern New Jersey and Northwestern Pennsylvania.

COMMENT: This writer has had a decades-long relationship with print industry trade groups, past and present, throughout the New York metro region. No officer that I have ever met in any of these organizations has done as much to defend and promote the industry’s interests in the public sphere as Vicki Keenan. As PIA members know well, virtually every print-friendly legislative or regulatory change that has taken place in the region over the last 20 years bears her imprint. A consummate governmental insider with the instincts and the skills of an investigative journalist, Vicki has compiled a record of service to the industry that is unique among association executives. It’s a pleasure to add my voice to what’s sure to be an enormous chorus of gratitude and praise on the occasion of her retirement.

Of “All the Buildings in New York,” This One Still Says “Print”

James Gulliver Hancock is an Australian artist who came to New York City and promptly fell in love with the diversity and visual richness of its architecture. He’s made it his life’s work to illustrate every metro building he’s set eyes on, and the results can be enjoyed in his just-released book, All the Buildings in New York: That I’ve Drawn So Far.

I became aware of it at Brain Pickings, an online compendium of “interestingness” curated by the journalist Maria Popova. She chose a number of Hancock’s illustrations to decorate the post, and one of them, the depiction of “The Heywood” at 263 Ninth Avenue, looked familiar the instant I glanced at it.

A little Googling helped me to recall it as the former home of a firm that many other members of the graphics industry in the metro area also will remember well: Tanagraphics, later TanaSeybert, a company I visited many times on editorial assignments as well as on field trips for my classes at NYU.

Ideally situated to serve the metro market from its multi-story location on Ninth Avenue between 25th and 26th Streets, Tanagraphics was for many years one of the region’s foremost providers of graphic reproduction services. Its 2004 merger with the Seybert Nicholas Printing Group formed what was then said to be the largest privately held print management company in New York City.

The following year, TanaSeybert decided to consolidate operations at a 140,000-sq.-ft. plant it purchased at 525 West 52nd Street. Alas, the new home was not destined to be a permanent one, as the decline of the metro print market and other factors forced TanaSeybert into Chapter 11 in 2009. Shortly afterwards, the company was acquired by Unimac Graphics and relocated to Unimac’s facility in Carlstadt, NJ.

After Tanagraphics moved out of 263 Ninth Avenue, the building underwent the same transformation that has deprived New York City of so much else of its former manufacturing space: conversion to residential condominiums.

The Heywood now comprises 50 high-end loft residences with 12.5′ ceilings, 8′ windows, and views to die for. Christine Quinn, City Council president and mayoral candidate, lives at The Heywood with her partner. Living spaces in what used to be Tanagraphics production areas sell for seven figures—more money than many small graphics firms in the metro area see as revenue in a year.

Do the current residents of The Heywood hear the ghostly rumble of long-silenced offset presses while inhaling phantom vapors of litho ink and hot-melt glue? For their sake, we hope not. But for those of us who pass by 263 Ninth Avenue with memories of what the building used to house, the associations with print will always be there. Our thanks to Mr. Hancock for reawakening them.

The “Four Hundred”—and the “Forty-Eight”

During America’s Gilded Age, the acme of the upper crust was the so-called “Four Hundred.” Within this elite circle, it was said, dwelt the people most worth knowing in high society—those who really mattered in the realms of haute style and elegant taste.

The graphic communications industry has a less snooty but no less distinctive “Four Hundred” of its own: the Printing Impressions Top 400, an annual ranking of the leading commercial printing companies in the U.S. and Canada. We were reminded of it by a press release issued recently by Haig Graphic Communications (Hauppauge, NY) proudly noting the company’s inclusion on the 2011 list.

Because the original “Four Hundred” were denizens of New York, we wondered how well represented the region is in the PI rankings. So, we combed the list for firms based in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. What we found was clear evidence of how important a graphic communications manufacturing center and market the three states continue to comprise.

We’re a bit biased, but we believe that the cream of the industry’s equivalent of the “Four Hundred” are right here in the territory served by Metro Graphics Reporter. Together, the 48 firms listed alphabetically below make up an impressive share of the total, accounting for nearly $2.2 billion in sales and employing more than 9,200 people.

Next to each name is its ranking in the 2011 list and its self-reported annual sales (in millions). The PI Top 400 is published in the magazine’s December issue. If you believe that your company should be on it, write to Printing Impressions, Attn: Special Projects Editor, 1500 Spring Garden St., 12th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19130.

AFL Web Printing (Voorhees, NJ) rank: 93; reported sales: $52.5
American Print Solutions (Brooklyn, NY) 159; $30
arvato AG (New York, NY) 25; $258.9
Barton & Cooney (Burlington, NJ) 371; $9.5
Candid Litho Printing (Long Island City, NY) 170; $28.5
Canfield & Tack (Rochester, NY) 317; $13.02
Cohber Press (Rochester, NY) 284; $15.2
Content Critical (Carlstadt, NJ) 182; $27
Design Distributors (Deer Park, NY) 263; $16.42
DG3 Diversified Global Graphics Group (Jersey City, NJ) 34; $160
Diamond Packaging (Rochester, NY) 86; $57.02
Dolce Brothers Printing (Maywood, NJ) 336; $12
EarthColor (Parsippany, NJ) 28; $242
Edison Litho & Printing (North Bergen, NJ) 159; $30
Evergreen Printing (Bellmawr, NJ) 189; $25
Federal Direct (Clifton, NJ) 207; $23.5
Finlay Printing (Bloomfield, CT) 236; $20
FLM Graphics (Fairfield, NJ) 267; $16.2
Flower City Printing (Rochester, NY) 79; $62.19
Garrison Printing (Pennsauken, NJ) 396; $6.5
Gator Communications Group (Fairfield, NJ) 348; $11.38
Gintzler Graphics (Buffalo, NY) 351; $11
Haig Graphic Communications (Hauppauge, NY) 383; $8.1
Hammer Packaging (W. Henrietta, NY) 52; $94.4
Harty Press (New Haven, CT) 313; $13.42
HighRoad Press (New York, NY) 344; $11.5
Integrated Book Technology (Troy, NY) 243; $19
Integrity Graphics (Windsor, CT) 252; $17.2
KM Media Group (Clifton, NJ) 267; $16.2
L.K. Litho (Middle Island, NY) 61; $82
MacNaughton Lithograph/Command Web Offset (Secaucus, NJ) 33; $163
Maggio Data Forms (Hauppauge, NY) 212; $23
Mercury Print Productions (Rochester, NY) 170; $28.5
Merlin Printing (Amityville, NY) 392; $7.1
National Graphics (N. Branford, CT) 65; $78.3
New Jersey Business Forms/InfoSeal (Englewoood, NJ) 180; $27.5
Paravista Inc. (Piscataway, NJ) 327; $12.6
Paris Business Products (Westampton, NJ) 51; $97
Pictorial Corp. (Carlstadt, NJ) 78; $63.8
Premier Printing and Mailing (Stratford, CT) 371; $9.5
Prestone Printing (Long Island City, NY) 212; $23
Riegel Printing (Ewing, NJ) 269; $16
Sandy Alexander (Clifton, NJ) 44; $114
Tapecon Inc. (Buffalo, NY) 306; $13.9
Trumbull Printing (Trumbull, CT) 318; $13
UNIMAC Graphics (Carlstadt, NJ) 61; $82
Velocity Print Solutions (Middlebury, CT) 269; $16
Zenger Group (Buffalo, NY) 299; $14.16

Shocker! NYS Legislature Actually Prints Things!

Toshiba may have dropped its plans for a national no-print day, but some New York State lawmakers remain on the warpath against paper.

A recent editorial at, the online home of the Staten Island Advance, summarizes and applauds these initiatives, endorsing their call to replace printed bills and other hard-copy legislative materials with electronic delivery. At the federal level, the proposed Stop the OverPrinting (STOP) Act of 2011 would require the Public Printer to make bills and resolutions available for the use of offices of members of congress only in an electronic format accessible through the Internet. (This bill was passed by the House of Representatives and is awaiting action by the Senate.)

“Despite the availability and widespread use of this modern technology,” declares the editorial, “the rules insist that all bills being processed in the state Senate and state Assembly must be printed on paper and delivered to their offices, where they often sit for days, unread. (Truth be told, many legislators don’t even read many of these bill thoroughly.)”

But what, we ask, makes it right to blame the printed matter for the lawmakers’ failure to read it? What evidence is there that turning a printed document into an e-mail message or a PDF raises its likelihood of being perused while it’s still timely? Let him who is without backdated clutter in his e-mailbox cast the first stone at print, in legislative chambers or elsewhere.

Something else in the editorial struck us as a bit naïve, especially coming from the online portal of a newspaper: the writer’s tone of apparent incredulity in reporting that “the Legislature actually has its own printing shop within the Capitol building to print and disseminate all this paperwork.”

“Actually”? The writer might want to take a look at compilations by In-plant Graphics of the nation’s largest in-plant printing operations. State-operated printing plants (although not New York’s) are among the leaders in staffing and sales volume.

“Whole forests are destroyed to comply with this quaint and, in this day and age, entirely unnecessary tradition,” the editorial goes on to say in language that Toshiba surely would have found quotable.

There’s probably no realm of government, business, or private life where consuming somewhat less print wouldn’t be a good idea. But attempts to enact outright bans on print are nowhere close to being realistic—even if the online version of a printed newspaper, apparently forgetting the siege its primary medium is under, believes otherwise.