Direct Mail Printer Didit DM Expands Operations on Long Island With New Facility in Lindenhurst

Didit DM, the Long Island based direct marketing division of full-service marketing and public relations agency Didit Digital, announces today that it has moved from its location at 15 East Bethpage Road in Plainview, N.Y., to a new facility at 1180 Route 109 in Lindenhurst, N.Y. In the current marketplace, Didit DM has been able to maintain a stable foothold in the direct mail industry, and the company projects continued growth in business. The new location’s space and layout will effectively meet the current needs of the company and its clients.

“Didit DM has been able to maintain its substantial growth rate through its high-quality service, combined with the forward-thinking approach of linking a printing and mailing house with our parent company, Didit Digital, a cutting-edge, multi-service agency,” notes Didit Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder Dave Pasternack. “What’s even more amazing is that this continued growth has been accomplished despite the challenges of the printing and mail industry and the consequences of the pandemic.”

Didit DM provides creative offerings, print production, letter shop capabilities, and fulfillment services across a host of industries and a diverse client base, from large international corporations to local retailers. Comprised of an elite group of strategists and specialists who excel in all areas of the direct mail offering, Didit DM’s pioneering techniques include data programming, direct mail design, print management, advanced mail tracking, direct mail technologies, postal optimization, and variable data imaging.

Didit DM Vice President of Operations Amy Pasternack says, “Due to a stability in our client roster and the projected increase in printing and mailing campaigns, the new location will greatly benefit our company and our client services. We will be in the ideal position to enhance the use of our resources, further expand our digital mailing footprint, and continue to bring forward innovative capabilities to our customers.”

Due to Didit DM’s steady growth and successful outcomes, the Lindenhurst location is the agency’s third move since 2015 when the agency moved from 30 Commercial Court in Plainview to a larger space at 15 E. Bethpage Road in the same town.

NY-Metro Printers Recount the Dire Events of 9/11, a Day They Can’t Forget

Note: this post first appeared in a special issue of Signature, the newsletter of Printing Industries Alliance.

“It was just a day – blue skies, a clear day. It began as a very unremarkable, done-it-a-thousand-times kind of day.” So remembers printer Benjamin Hort of his first moments at work on September 11, 2001, about two miles north of the 14.6-acre patch of land that was about to pass violently into history as Ground Zero of the World Trade Center terror attacks.

For Vicki Keenan, an executive of a printing trade association, 9/11 opened with the unimaginable sight of a jet airliner slamming into one of the Twin Towers as she approached Manhattan on her morning rail commute. It ended with the wrenching news that a close personal friend – a New York City Fire Department chaplain with whom she’d lunched just the day before – had been identified as one of FDNY’s first casualties in the disaster.

In between, for Hort, Keenan, and nearly everyone else connected with New York City’s printing industry, stretched a day of anguish and destruction that claimed the lives of 2,763 people in the Twin Towers and shook the national psyche as it had never been shaken before.

Printing companies, concentrated in and around Canal, Varick, and Hudson Streets with a clear line of sight to Ground Zero, were closer to what happened that day than any of the city’s other manufacturing businesses. That awful proximity gave the people who worked at those companies memories that are as searingly vivid today as the actual events they witnessed, however unwillingly, 20 years ago.

Hort is president of Enterprise Press (Englewood, N.J.), a fourth-generation family business that at the time operated in a building it owned at 627 Greenwich Street. He began the day as he usually did at 8 a.m. in his office on the 10th floor.

The morning’s routine quickly evaporated. “I remember that someone remarked that there was smoke coming out of the first tower,” Hort says. “Nobody knew what it was, and we didn’t think that much of it.” A little while later, he heard the “yelling and screaming” as his staff watched the second plane find its target.

By midmorning, both towers had imploded. “That I did literally see with my own eyes,” says Hort. “It was fast – just go to smoke.”

Eyewitnesses say disbelief overcame them as the attacks unfolded, at least at first.

‘Another Orson Welles Thing’

Jack Kott, owner of Bergazyn & Son, a specialty finishing business located at 200 Hudson Street at the corner of Canal Street, says that when the planes struck the towers, his plant was “literally almost on top of it.” He admits that the initial reaction to reports coming from the media was, “here we go, another Orson Welles thing” (referring to The War of the Worlds, the famous radio broadcast of 1938 that triggered panic among listeners who took its fantastic story as fact).

The grim truth emerged when, in the elevator, a fellow printing tenant in the building asked him, “Did you just see the plane that barely missed our roof?” Gathering with others in a conference room on the sixth floor, says Kott, “we saw the first tower in flames, and then we saw the second plane hit. That apparently was the plane that had just missed our building.”

Now based in Long Island City, Cosmos Communications then did business on the 2nd floor at 175 Varick Street just north of Canal Street, about a half a mile from Ground Zero. At street level, COO and partner Joe Cashman and his staff found themselves staring straight at the north side of the North Tower moments after the impact at 8:46 a.m.

“We were down on the street less than a minute after the first plane hit,” Cashman recalls. “You could almost make out an indent of the fuselage. We just couldn’t understand how it was possible on such a clear, beautiful day that a plane could fly into the tower.”

‘The Whole Building Shook’

On the 9th floor of 233 Spring Street, two blocks north of Canal Street, trade printer CQS operated in a manufacturing “cluster” then typical of the industry in lower Manhattan, with other printing businesses on three floors of the building and a satellite pressroom on nearby Vandam Street. CQS pressroom foreman Robert (Bo) Donnelly had completed makeready on two presses and was awaiting visits by customers for press checks at 9 a.m.

Before the customers got there, he says, “the whole building shook” as the first plane passed over it at almost rooftop height. Donnelly didn’t witness the ensuing impact at Ground Zero, but he says that upon looking down Varick Street moments later, “we could see the hole in the North Tower” and the beginning of the inferno that would engulf the structure and cause it to collapse.

Then, like a “big missile,” the second jet punched into the South Tower at 9:03 a.m., setting it ablaze. “We watched the South Tower explode,” Donnelly says. “We saw the metal arcing” as if it were being welded. Soon after, the entire, 110-story building pancaked in a storm of smoke and debris.

“The way it went down was unbelievable,” he says. “About a half hour later, the North Tower started arcing – the metal was actually burning. Then that went down.”

Cashman recounts how he, too, “was watching the North Tower virtually sink in front of my eyes. I remember the TV antenna on top of the tower just wobbling as the tower sank. Your eyes were seeing something that your mind is not allowing you believe is happening.”

Radio reports brought news of the 10:28 a.m. collapse of the South Tower, which was the first of the pair to come down despite being the second one struck. Now the full dimensions of the attacks were becoming clear, but even so, “we were dumbfounded,” Cashman says.

From Bad to Far Worse

Looking on from a greater distance – but with no less horror – were Keenan and other employees of the Association of Graphic Communications (AGC), a trade group representing graphics businesses in the five boroughs, Long Island, and parts of New Jersey. Keenan, the association’s executive vice president, already had an inkling of what had happened by the time she reached AGC’s offices on Seventh Avenue at 29th Street.

“The train had just pulled out of Newark/Penn Station on its way into the city,” she says of the trip in from her home in New Jersey. “You go through the Meadowlands, and I had a window seat. I saw this plane in the sky, and then I saw it hit the tower, and there was a huge ball of fire. Both me and the guy next to me, and a couple of people in front and back of me, were saying, “Are we seeing that right? Did a plane just hit a tower?”

At the AGC office, Keenan found most of the staff gathered in an adjoining suite that had a clear view of the crash sites. “As soon as I walked in, somebody shoved a pair of binoculars into my hand and said, ‘You’ve got to see this.’ And you could see everything that was going on. The building was obviously on fire.”

Now the terrible meaning of the attacks was starting to sink in. Keenan can’t forget the desperation of a receptionist whose father worked at Windows on the World, the posh restaurant on the 107th floor of the North Tower.

The receptionist, according to Keenan, “was hysterical on the phone. She couldn’t get her father or mother, and that was one of the phones that was still working. She just left immediately. I know that her father couldn’t have made it out of Windows On The World.”

Fateful Choice Indeed

As it always does in disasters, chance had a say in who fell victim to the events of 9/11, and who didn’t. On that day, Randy Colahan’s decision to prioritize his voluntary role as a member of AGC may well have saved his life.

At the time, Colahan was a partner of Colahan-Saunders Corp., a commercial printer in Long Island City. He also chaired the trade association’s awards committee, which was to meet that morning in an office tower near Penn Station.

As a printer, says Colahan, “I did a lot of business in the Trade Center. I was in one of the Trade Center buildings each of seven work days before (9/11). I was actually scheduled to be there for a 9 o’clock meeting at 7 World Trade, but I had that meeting with AGC. We looked out just as the second plane hit.” (7 World Trade Center, set ablaze by debris falling from the North Tower, was the third building to be destroyed at Ground Zero as a result of the 9/11 attacks.)

By this time, an unprecedented mass exodus from lower Manhattan had begun. Retreating on foot, Donnelly saw what he describes as “complete chaos and panic” in the streets as dazed, ash-blanketed people emerged from the subways along the way.

A fighter plane screaming low over Third Avenue heightened the terror: “We had no idea who it was, whether it was one of our jets.” Donnelly hiked all the way north to the George Washington Bridge, hitched a ride across with a kindly stranger, and eventually made his way to his home at the time in Rockland County.

“I was one of the last cars to get out of the Midtown Tunnel before they closed it down,” Colahan says. On the loop to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway on the Queens side, “all of these people had parked their cars and were taking pictures as the first tower came down. The second tower followed, and we could see the smoke from the top of our building.”

A Pageant of Pain and Woe

However majestic and iconic they may be, buildings remain inanimate objects whether they stand or fall. The only true measure of a catastrophe like 9/11 is the suffering of the human beings inside them. For printers in the vicinity of Ground Zero, scenes of human catastrophe were almost indescribable.

Worst of all to behold were the ordeals of the people who could find no way out of the Twin Towers as they burned. “It was surreal,” recalls Eric Tepfer, then a partner in CQS. He says he and his staff watched “with a sense of helplessness” as people trapped on floors being incinerated above the points of impact signaled frantically for help and then, all hope lost, hurled themselves to the pavement below.

Looking on during those final, agonizing moments, Tepfer says, “we were rooting for them. It was almost as if we knew them. Then watching them jump one by one – I’ll never forget that.”

Donnelly, likewise, can’t erase his mental image of one white-clad victim who held out to the limit of his endurance, beseeching rescue. “He was just there for so long, he tried so hard, and then he dropped. To this day, it still haunts me.”

On 9/11, printers bore witness to death in other, equally heartbreaking ways.

Moments after seeing the second plane hit, Kott found himself taking part in a conference call with a client and the client’s customer, a representative of Cantor Fitzgerald, whom they implored to evacuate that financial firm’s premises in the stricken North Tower. Kott says the Cantor Fitzgerald representative demurred, insisting that the situation was under control.

“Needless to say, you know what happened to the people who worked at Cantor Fitzgerald,” says Kott. Close to 700 of them – everyone who had reported to work at One World Trade Center that morning – died when the building came down.

Seared into Hort’s recollection of the day is an encounter with a tenant of his on the 11th floor of 627 Greenwich Street, a graphic designer whose boyfriend had become trapped in one of the towers. “She had just got off the phone with him, and I believe he had said, ‘I’m not going to get out.’ And indeed, he did not. That made it seem real, immediately,” Hort says.

‘Did Me in Completely’

Keenan spent the day making sure that her staff got safely out of Manhattan while she also tried, mostly without success, to determine the status of her members in the downtown printing district. Home again around midnight, she learned from television reports that FDNY chaplain Mychal Judge, her luncheon companion of the day before, was among the 343 firefighters lost in the department’s doomed effort to save the towers and their occupants.

“They said he was the first body they brought out, and I just lost it completely,” Keenan says. “Knowing that he was killed just really did me in completely that day.”

Throughout 9/11, printers also witnessed the plight of survivors who literally were left speechless by what they had gone through at Ground Zero. “People were walking up Varick Street and Sixth Avenue all covered with soot,” Tepfer recalls. There was an eerie silence. No one was talking, but it was a horrific scene. Everybody was stunned. Everything was in a daze.”

After sending their staff home, Kott and his general manager made their way to the street, where they watched “a huge white cloud” of smoke and cinder billowing northward from the crash sites. The two men purchased cases of water from a bodega on the corner of Hudson Street and began handing bottles to escapees as they staggered past, many in bloodstained clothing.

“It was scary,” says Kott, thinking in particular of one man to whom he gave water. “We though initially that he was bleeding, because his shirt was covered in blood. I looked at him and said, ‘Hopefully, that’s not yours.’ He said, ‘It’s not mine, it’s my neighbor’s.’ That image of this gentleman, I will never forget.”

Cashman also remembers the ghostly parade up Varick Street as survivors picked themselves out of the wreckage. “Everybody looked exactly the same, covered in gray soot.” He says he and his employees spent most of the rest of the afternoon offering the victims water, cell phone calls, bathroom access, and whatever other small comforts they could provide.

Next Morning, ‘a Very Weird Day’

As endless as the day must have seemed, night finally fell on 9/11 and the destruction it had wrought. The next morning, Cashman managed to return to his office after first attempting to donate blood at St. Vincent’s Hospital near 14th Street (only to be told that owing to the extreme fatality of the event, blood for transfusion into the living wasn’t going to be needed).

He remembers it as “a very weird day” emotionally, made odder still by a call from a customer who was “yelling at me because his package wasn’t going to get out via FedEx.” Hort had a similar experience. “The printing business is funny,” he says. “I had customers calling me the next morning and asking me, am I going to get my proofs today?”

In the ensuing days, 9/11 and its aftermath would come to mean different things to different printers.

No firm was hit harder than the Francis Emory Fitch Company on Liberty Street, located so close to the South Tower that its collapse obliterated the plant and everything it contained. Almost miraculously, according to a profile of the company published in a trade journal several years later, the company was delivering work to customers in two days with the help of other printers. It eventually re-equipped and found new quarters on West 28th Street, where the 135-year-old firm now does business as the Fitch Group.

Companies that were spared physical damage still had to contend with business loss, as many in the immediate vicinity couldn’t resume operations until the districts below Canal Street had been fully reopened to traffic. The difficulty then, according to Tepfer, was that printers could find little to produce in the wake of the attacks.

“There was no new business,” he says. “Anytime a customer would call, it would be to cancel a job. There was no interest on behalf of anyone to print. I would cringe every time the phone rang.”

“It was like the bottom dropped out of downtown, as far as printing goes,” Donnelly concurs.

Business was already slow; it became slower,” comments Keenan. “People didn’t have a lot of money, and they were really reluctant to part with their dollars unless they were absolutely assured of a 100% return. Nobody could assure that anywhere.”

Too Much to ‘Claw Back’

“The overall impact on the industry was devastating,” according to Kott. “It impacted my business immediately. We were closed for two weeks. There was no material damage, but there was a lot of financial damage. We lost between $100,000 and $200,000 worth of business.”

The loss, says Kott, was a reversal of fortune from which his small company never completely recovered. “Where do you claw back $100,000 to $200,000 worth of work?” he asks. “It just wasn’t there.” At the same time, some of his Manhattan-based clients were starting to move elsewhere, taking their jobs with them.

“It made it tough to continue,” acknowledges Kott, who sold the company in 2003 to focus on advocacy and fundraising for print industry education.

The cumulative effects of 9/11 and its aftermath took a toll both at CQS and among metro area printers in general, according to Tepfer. “It did bring a big change to the psychology of the people at the company,” he says. “Those who were extremely committed, stayed. Those who weren’t used this as a moment to say, ‘Hey, wait a second, I don’t know if this is coming back, if this is what I want to do, if I want to go on struggling like this.’”

Tepfer also points out that because so much of the printing produced in lower Manhattan was “Wall Street driven,” the loss of that business after 9/11 could not have been anything other than ruinous for many.

“That changed completely,” he says, citing a “shift in mindset” and a shunning of Manhattan that he compares with the depopulation of the borough’s central business district during COVID-19.

Once something like this occurs, Tepfer observes, “things never come back to the way they are.” He adds that CQS’s acquisition by HighRoad Press in 2004 “was a real outgrowth of what happened on September 11.”

Norm-Changing ‘Shock Waves’

“There have been a number of things in my history in printing where I found that you go through these shock waves, these big changes, and you see that business never gets back to the same,” says Colahan, citing the 2008-2009 recession and the present pandemic as examples.

“We had a very busy time in 2000 and 2001, and all of a sudden, it was such a dramatic change. Business moved away from offset. Business also moved away from having to be so close to Manhattan. It shifted to being more just-in-time printing, less inventory of material, so that you didn’t inventory something that could become obsolete.”

Printers also had to learn to rethink customer relationships, according to Colahan. He says that recovering from 9/11 meant “making more contacts – you’re not just relying on our existing clients for everything. Once you had a client, it used to be, if you didn’t screw up, you’d never lose them. That whole model changed.”

Others are less inclined to see 9/11 as an inflection point. In Hort’s opinion, 9/11 was not an all-transforming episode for Manhattan’s printing industry, but an acceleration of an upheaval it was already undergoing.

“There were too many printers on Canal Street and Hudson Street,” he explains. “There had to be some attrition. There was too much metal – too many people doing it.” The need for equipment and personnel was being reduced by the digitization of prepress and other kinds of automation, Hort adds. Beyond that, “there was a glut of capacity” that the area’s printers could never fully utilize with the volume of work available to them.

“9/11 is not why there isn’t much of a printing industry on Canal Street anymore,” Hort concludes. “For printers in lower Manhattan, the die was already cast.”

That squares with the view of consumables industry veteran Michael Brice, who was then supplying printers throughout the metropolitan area as an executive of Superior Printing Ink. “There was a trend anyway, prior to that, of facilities moving out of New York as it was too expensive to operate, and logistically it was tough. Obviously, with real estate becoming more valuable as lofts, residential, I think that was afoot already.”

“For some people that lived in New York, it might have given them some pause to do business in an epicenter like that, whereas they could be outside, with less interruption,” Brice continues. “I’m sure that entered some people’s minds, and maybe it pushed them over the edge. I think that the push to get out of New York for more space, lower costs, and other operating advantages was going on, and I don’t know whether (9/11 itself) had a major effect.”

‘Last Printer in Manhattan’

In 2008, in the throes of recession, Cosmos Communications moved to its present home in Long Island City despite having renewed a 10-year lease at 175 Varick Street.  Cashman doesn’t count the long-term impact of 9/11 as a factor in the decision.

“The industry was already in a moving cycle out of Manhattan,” he says, noting that the trend was driven in part by New York City programs aimed at relocating printers to the Brooklyn Army Terminal and other locales in the outer boroughs. “Our goal was to end up being one of the last printers in Manhattan.” Cosmos Communications hung on to that distinction, Cashman says, “until it became economically impossible to operate” where it was.

Despite everything, Manhattan still supports a printing industry, and many of those who remember its worst day from first-hand experience 20 years ago continue to work steadfastly in the trade. Some of them can mingle their harshest impressions of 9/11 with recollections of a more uplifting kind.

That day, Hallie Satz was struggling to get back to her business and her family from a trade show in Chicago after air travel across the nation had been grounded (see sidebar below). When she finally reached home, she detected solidarity as well as sadness in the hearts of her industry peers.

“In some ways, everyone was very unified,” she says. “That was a great thing, for a short period of time. You had all of this unity and camaraderie amongst the printers. Everyone was speaking with one another – that came out of it for a while. On the positive side, right after 9/11, all the printers were talking to each other.”

‘U.S.A, U.S.A.’

Cashman describes feeling another kind of unanimity “the next day, standing on the corner of Sixth Avenue and Houston Street with hundreds and hundreds of people, just cheering the firemen, the firetrucks, the emergency services, every truck that went by. We stood there for what seemed like hours, chanting ‘U.S.A., U.S.A.’ In some ways, it brought all of us closer together. It was a great effect of a horrible event.”

Both memories speak to the resilience of an industry whose history will always be entwined with the terrible events of 9/11. “I give great credit to the companies that did survive that whole thing,” Keenan says. “Because those people (had) the perseverance, patience, and just sheer will and determination that they were not going to lose their firms, that they were not going to go out of business.”

“You can’t intimidate a New Yorker or somebody from New Jersey,” Keenan declares. “I think that without that spirit, you wouldn’t even have an industry today.”

Sidebar: The Long Way Home

A printer didn’t need to be south of Canal Street on September 11, 2001 to see his or her life and business thrown into turmoil by the day’s deadly attacks. Hundreds of New York metro area printing personnel attending the Print 01 trade show in Chicago learned this the hard way as they found themselves abruptly cut off from their scheduled flights home.

Among them was Hallie Satz, currently president of HighRoad Press in Moonachie, N.J. At the time, she was president of the Barton Press division of EarthColor, a Parsippany, N.J. print network that is now part of Mittera Group. On the morning of 9/11, Satz and a large contingent of other EarthColor executives and managers were present at Print 01 for a panel discussion featuring Robert Kashan, their CEO.

Satz got the bad news at breakfast when her husband called to say, “A plane has hit the towers.” Initially, she recalls, reality had a hard time taking hold. “Everybody had a different idea. Some people were thinking it was just a fluke, or an accident. Others were saying no, no, no, this was an attack.” Her immediate thoughts were of her children at home in New Jersey, then 11, 10, and 8.

The panel presentation went on as scheduled, “but as Robert (Kashan) was speaking, the second plane crashed,” Satz says. By this point, the scene at the McCormick Place expo center was frantic, with cell phones dead, people dashing to their hotels, and everyone who didn’t live in the vicinity desperate to find a way out of Chicago.

The EarthColor group, 15 strong, found theirs in a pair of Winnebago vehicles that a member of the team managed to rent. Then began an eastward trek that Satz remembers with a mixture of discomfort and wry humor.

One of just two women in the group, she found herself sharing one of the vans with six men. “We had to go slow. They were not new Winnebagos. They were small,” says Satz, who sat cramped on a bench for the 36 hours the trip home would take. The behavior of her equally stressed traveling companions was sometimes less than cordial.

“You’re in this Winnebago with a lot of testosterone, a lot of fighting,” she says. “There was a lot of arguing going back and forth. I think they passed the time by fighting.”

Looking back at the day and its grim events 20 years later, Satz sums it up as “an instant change in life” that has some parallels with the disruption caused by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. “COVID of course was nothing like that, and yet, I’ll say as a printer, it was the only other time things really changed for all of us in printing,” she says.

Satz adds that one trait of the industry remained constant throughout the chaos of 9/11 and its aftermath. In printing, she observes, “everyone has always helped each other out. I don’t think there’s ever been a time in any tragedy or natural disaster where printers weren’t willing to help each other.

Book Industry Guild of New York (BIGNY) September Event: “Chris Jackson In Conversation with Calvin Reid”

090316.bigny-september-eventChris Jackson (left) and Calvin Reid

One World Books Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Chris Jackson will have a one-on-one conversation with Publishers Weekly Senior News Editor Calvin Reid at the Book Industry Guild of New York’s September 13, 2016 gathering.

The discussion will provide an opportunity to learn first-hand about Jackson’s remarkable publishing career, his work with authors such as Ta Nehisi-Coates, Eddie Huang, and Jay Z, and Jackson’s strong interest in bringing diverse, multicultural voices to a worldwide audience.

Earlier this year, Jackson was named the vice president, publisher, and editor of Random House’s One World imprint. He will direct the relaunch of the multicultural imprint in the fall of 2017. One World’s legacy includes fiction and nonfiction titles, with a focus on African-American writers.

The event will be held on Tuesday, September 13, 2016, at Penguin Random House, 1745 Broadway in Manhattan. The speaking session will begin at 6:15 pm; a professional networking event will start at 5:15 pm.

Admission for the September BIGNY event and networking reception is $40 for BIGNY members, $60 for nonmembers. There is a $5 fee for participants only attending the speaker portion of the event.

Event Information

Where
Random House, 1745 Broadway (between 55th & 56th Streets), 2nd Floor

When
Tuesday, September 13, 2016. Beer, wine, and hors d’oeuvres at 5:15 p.m., program at 6:15 p.m.

Admission
$40 for BIGNY members / $60 for nonmembers.
$5 admission for the speaker portion of the event only.
All major credit cards are accepted online and at the door. Cash and checks are also accepted at the door. Student admission is free (lecture only) with valid student ID and reservation.

Reservations

Email programs@bookindustryguildofny.org or financial.secretary@bigny.org for reservations

About Chris Jackson
Chris Jackson is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of One World Books, a just relaunched imprint of Random House. Previously, Jackson was an Executive Editor at Spiegel & Grau from its founding in 2006. Prize-winning and bestselling authors he edited at Spiegel & Grau include Ta-Nehisi Coates, Bryan Stevenson, Jill Leovy, Matt Taibbi, Wes Moore, Victor LaValle, and Jay Z. Jackson is a native of New York, where he currently resides.

About Calvin Reid
Calvin Reid is a senior news editor at Publishers Weekly, co-editor of PW Comics World, PW’s online coverage of graphic novel and comics publishing, and cohost of More to Come, PW Comics World’s weekly podcast.

About the Book Industry Guild of New York (BIGNY)
BIGNY is a New York-based organization that serves the publishing industry and community. Since its inception in 1926, the Guild has provided professional development opportunities by hosting social and educational events, seminars, industry trips, and more. The Guild produces the annual New York Book Show, which celebrates outstanding achievements in book design and manufacturing. BIGNY also proudly organizes charitable events to promote literacy in the New York City metropolitan area.

New York’s UFT In-plant Sold on Prism Paper Cutter from Colter & Peterson

073016_colter_peterson_uftOscar Rivera (center) with operators Gabriel Rivera (left) and Steve Rodriguez next to their Colter & Peterson Prism paper cutter.

Days at the in-plant operation that Oscar Rivera manages for the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) rival the bustling atmosphere of the shop’s environs in lower Manhattan. The Printing and Mail Department has transformed itself in the last decade, adding an array of equipment to handle an ever-increasing amount of work. The finishing department has benefitted as well, having installed a 32″ Prism paper cutter from Colter & Peterson earlier this year to help speed up the process of getting work out the door to over 200,000 members.

“The Prism is a workhorse for us,” says Rivera, who will mark 15 years as the operation’s production manager in November. “I remember the afternoon it was delivered. A flatbed truck pulls up with this heavy, 4,000-lb. cutter, and I thought it was going to be a big production. But they got it off the truck in a snap, and we were up and cutting the following morning.”

Rivera is quick to credit Rick Fassano, his local Colter & Peterson dealer at Summit Offset Service, for recommending the Prism paper cutter. Fassano had placed a 27″ Prism PC paper cutter last year at the New York Stock Exchange, a short walk from UFT’s offices.

“I’ve known Rick for 40 years when I first started in the industry as a hand typesetter, and before I moved into offset. He’s really good and always on time with getting equipment to us,” Rivera says. “Late last year, we were decommissioning an old Challenge, so we needed a new cutter. I spoke with Rick and he gave me some options to consider, but the Prism was at the top of his list.”

The 32″ Prism joins an impressive list of equipment at the UFT in-plant. In addition to web and sheetfed presses, the digital side includes various Konica Minolta bizhub presses for black and white and color work. Rivera and his team count on Epson Stylus, HP DesignJet and KIP wide format machines to handle the signage and large graphics work. With all of that firepower, the Prism gets a workout.

“The Challenge cutter wasn’t programmable and there was a lot of stopping and starting,” says Rivera, who manages a staff of 16. “The Prism is programmable and a better, more efficient product. We set the cut, cut it, and then go on to the next one. The table bed has air running under it to lift the paper, so it makes us much faster than before.

“We go full tilt every day. A lot of our work is done on 12″ x 18″ sheets that we trim down to 11″ x 17″. Business cards, letterhead, invitations, you name it. We print everything from a few hundred up to 265,000 per run, which includes the full UFT membership.”

As in any operation, Rivera’s team at times will experience busier than average periods.

“No two days are alike. Sometimes it looks like ants at a rainy picnic in here,” Rivera says. “Summer is our downtime, where we catch up on fill-in work. Once the school year begins in mid-August, the Prism cuts 40 to 50 jobs a day. We stay very busy until Thanksgiving, then do a lot of holiday related work until the end of the year.

“When everyone returns in early January, we go full tilt through the end of April. The first two weeks of May, we print many certificates of achievement, middle school promotional certificates and other recognition work.”

Most managers want what’s best for the team. For Rivera, there were other selling points to the Prism that have met all of his expectations.

“This cutter has made life easier for them. That’s great because they work very hard and stay busy with many other things, so we don’t usually have to worry about the Prism,” Rivera says. “It is a very quiet machine, and you rarely hear it.

“I also like the safety features. It has an electronic beam and some of our operators were tripping it by leaning forward as it was cutting. So the machine would just stop. Once they got used to it and changed their behavior, the team became even more productive.”

In-Plant Graphics magazine published a detailed profile of the UFT in-plant last year. Read it here.

 

 

Printing Industries Alliance Brings drupa 2016 to NYC on August 18

Leading Düsseldorf Exhibitors to Participate in Panels and Presentations

If you weren’t able to attend drupa 2016, you weren’t alone. Of the 260,000 visitors who converged upon Messe Düsseldorf from May 31 to June 10, only a relative handful came from the U.S. The high cost of travel and the difficulty of breaking away from busy production schedules ruled out attending for many American printers who would otherwise have liked to go.

If you’re based in the New York City metro area, however, there’s a next best thing to having been there: the Post drupa Report that Printing Industries Alliance will host on Thursday, August 18, 2016, at Club 101 (101 Park Avenue at 40th Street) in Manhattan.

From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., some of the leading exhibitors from drupa 2016 will re-create the excitement of the event with panels and presentations before an audience of end users including printers, mailers, and other graphic arts service providers.

Printing Industries Alliance believes that end user decision makers need up-to-date information to navigate the graphic arts marketplace. Because most U.S. printers did not go to Germany, they must rely on after-the-fact information that can be daunting, confusing, and sometimes even contradictory. The Post drupa Report on August 18 is designed to give end users the information they need, firsthand and with clarity and balance. This will be delivered by expert panels on subjects such as:

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

• The Rapid Rise and Importance of Labels and Packaging

• The Growing Importance of Color Management

• Postpress Rules

• Wide Format Breaks into the Big Time

• Firsthand Observations from drupa Attendees

The all-day program will intersperse presentations and panels and will feature a lunch with a speaker to be announced. Also included are a vendor / end user networking session and an open bar at 5 p.m.

The cost is $99 for PIA members and $139 for non-members. Each additional member from the same company will cost $79 for members and $109 for non-members. To register for the event, contact Kim Tuzzo at 716-691-3211 or ktuzzo@pialliance.org. Register online here or download, complete, and return the registration form.

Printing Industries Alliance 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 do this and more. They provide a meaningful dialog between all parties and a great opportunity to learn from one another.”

Select vendor sponsorships are still available. For information on sponsoring the event, contact Marty Maloney at 203-912-0804 or mmaloney@pialliance.org. Vendor sponsors receive a 12-minute presentation slot, a seat on a panel, and a 5′ table to display literature at the end-of-day networking session.

Richard Krasner Joins Direct Printing Impressions as EVP and Partner

richard_krasner_joins_dpi_052016Direct Printing Impressions (DPI) has announced the appointment of Richard Krasner as executive vice president and partner. Krasner, a 37-year print industry veteran, will be responsible for driving sales and revenue, maintaining effective communication between estimating and production, and handling general management responsibilities at DPI, a high-quality commercial printing firm located in West Caldwell, NJ.

“Great vision without great people is irrelevant,” said Rich Luggiero, president of DPI. “Richard Krasner brings a wealth of printing knowledge to the DPI team. His extensive background in print will benefit our organization and our customers alike.”

“Growth and awareness of the DPI brand have increased dramatically in the New York-New Jersey metro area graphic communications industry,” said Krasner. “The company is focused on profitability and working smart. This makes DPI a cost-effective alternative for both new and existing clients.”

Founded by the Luggiero family 20 years ago, DPI today has a fully integrated sheetfed offset plant that employs 22 people. With its Heidelberg presses and digital equipment, DPI can print in up to six colors with coating on stocks ranging from 35-lb. sheet to 39-pt. board. Its customer base includes corporate clients, manufacturers, advertising agencies, design firms, and the printing industry.

Krasner is well known in New York-New Jersey metro area graphics industry both as a sales professional and as a supporter of industry causes, particularly in education. He is a past president of the Graphic Communications Scholarship, Award and Career Advancement Foundation (GCSF), a volunteer group that has distributed more than $500,000 in learning grants to metro area students who enroll in undergraduate and graduate degree programs in graphic communications.

He also sits on the New York City advisory board of Virtual Enterprises International (VEI), a national educational nonprofit that transforms young students into future leaders and entrepreneurs. The programs of VEI are supported by The New York City Department of Education, educators, industry leaders, and mentoring professionals.

Shootdigital Creative Team Joins HudsonYards Studios

HudsonYards Studios announced that it is expanding its capacity in computer generated imagery (CGI) and creative retouching services by integrating Shootdigital’s creative team and bringing along their established brand for the accelerated transition. “We are very excited about adding the Shootdigital team to our company,” said Diane Romano, president and CEO of HudsonYards Studios. “They are a multi-talented and creative group that bring in fresh ideas and additional expertise to our organization.”

New York City-based Shootdigital, well respected in the photography industry for high-end digital imaging talent, has been relocated to HudsonYards Studios’ 80 Broad Street facility in the heart of New York City’s financial district. As part of the transition, the group has been renamed “Shootdigital @ HudsonYards Studios.”

Shootdigital’s extensive imaging experience with fashion and beauty clients such as L’Oréal, Estée Lauder and NARS Cosmetics expands HudsonYards Studios’ impressive client list that includes iconic brands such as Victoria’s Secret, Hearst Magazines, West Elm and Wenner Media.

Take Part in Business Survey by WhatTheyThink; Earn Free Copy of New Book by Webb and Romano

Readers of this blog are encouraged to take part in WhatTheyThink’s online survey of printing and communications executives about their business outlook and the industry’s print and service offerings.

The survey, which will take only a few minutes to complete, poses questions that we think you will find relevant to the future direction of your business. Your participation is confidential. WhatTheyThink will not release your name or your answers to anyone; they will be combined with those of all of the other respondents in survey totals. This is strictly a research project and will not be used to create sales leads for advertisers or dealers.

To thank you for your assistance, WhatTheyThink will send you an executive summary of this project. You also will be able to download This Point Forward, the new book by Dr. Joe Webb and Richard Romano, upon completing the questions.

WhatTheyThink is the foremost source of news, opinion, and analysis for the graphic communications industry. The full link to the survey is https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WTTBIZ2016

Economic Recovery Failed to Save Dozens of Medium-Sized Print Firms in the NYC-Metro Area

The New York City metro area lost medium-sized printing firms at a sharper rate than four other major metropolitan areas during the economic recovery, according to data compiled by print industry economist Dr. Joe Webb.

His numbers, published today by WhatTheyThink, span the period from 2010 (about one year into the recovery) through 2013 (the most recent year for which data are available) and are drawn from the Census Department’s County Business Patterns database. They indicate that the NYC metro area lost 75 medium-sized firms (10 to 49 employees) in the period as this sector declined from 513 to 438 establishments (-14.6%). This was a steeper drop among medium sized firms than occurred in the metropolitan areas of Los Angeles (-8.1%), Chicago (-13.0%), Washington, D.C. (-4.8%), and San Francisco (-12.1%).

The NYC-metro firms didn’t necessarily vanish without a trace. “Many of these would have shifted into the small employee range, while others would have closed or consolidated,” Webb writes. An upside of consolidation may be the fact that large firms (50 or more employees) declined by only -5.7% in the NYC-metro area, the smallest such loss among the five cities examined.

The NYC-metro area saw an overall drop of -10.1% in establishments of all sizes, higher than the -7.7% loss for the rest of the county (i.e., exclusive of the five cities, which represent about one quarter of all U.S. printing establishments).

Partly responsible for the decline is the reality that the key business advantage for metro area printers, proximity to metro-based customers, is not as potent as it once was. “There was a time when being geographically close to customers was critical,” notes Webb, “(but) since the advent of digital proofing and various surrogates, and e-commerce, geography is less of an issue than it used to be.” But, he still rates personal interaction as important to sales and customer retention: “It may no longer be a 10, but it’s probably an 8.5.”

Printing Industries Alliance Tackles a Member-Centric Agenda at Board of Directors Meeting in NYC

061815.pialliance_bod

Dona Snyder-Reardon, incoming chair of the board of directors, Printing Industries Alliance, with Patrick Ryan (right), whom she succeeds in the position, and Timothy Freeman, the association’s president.

An old joke about sausage and law says that nobody should watch either one being made. The punch line doesn’t apply at meetings of well-run trade associations, where watching a slate of business being carried out can be as satisfying as observing a master chef prepare a gourmet meal.

I had the good fortune to be a guest at the June 18 board of directors meeting of Printing Industries Alliance (PIAlliance), the association for the graphic arts industry of New York State, northern New Jersey, and northwestern Pennsylvania. I’m a PIAlliance member myself, but, like most members of most trade associations, I don’t often get to see how the group I belong to operates at the executive management and policymaking levels.

The meeting took place at the Park Avenue headquarters of RR Donnelley in New York City. My notes from the session let me happily report that the association is in the good hands of people who are very serious about making PIAlliance grow in terms of both membership numbers and the range of services it provides to those who belong.

The group, a regional affiliate of Printing Industries of America (PIA), now has 335 companies on its roster. This is down somewhat from 12 months ago, given the contraction of the printing industry in the tristate region that PIAlliance serves. But, the group is readying a drive that will target more than 100 non-member companies deemed eligible to join the ranks. A special effort at recruitment is being made under the direction of Rich Barbaria in Long Island City, Queens, home to an important cluster of metro printing companies.

The mission of PIAlliance is to defend its members’ business interests and to help foster a business climate where their companies can prosper. Past, ongoing, and pending projects reviewed at the June 18 meeting indicated the breadth of the effort being made to achieve these objectives. Some highlights:

  • In August, a “lean manufacturing council” will commence work to help members master the techniques of waste-free production.
  • A program for customer service evaluation and training will be announced.
  • Administered in this region by PIAlliance, PIA’s annual wage and benefit survey, now in progress, lets participating members benchmark their labor costs against industrywide data.
  • PIAlliance members are receiving guidance in marketing from Marty Maloney, an advertising and public relations expert who joined the association’s executive staff last year.
  • A recent conference on human relations management drew 60 people for an overview of trends in employment law, labor standards, and rules governing eligibility for overtime pay.
  • On the public affairs front, PIAlliance is monitoring and responding to activities by New York State Industries for the Disabled (NYSID), an organization that aggressively seeks exclusive status as the preferred-provider resource for publicly let digital printing contracts in New York State.
  • PIAlliance recently announced that its popular workers compensation insurance program returned a 30% dividend in its 2013-2014 policy year, saving participating members nearly $2 million for the period.

Details about these and other programs can be found at the association’s web site and in the pages of Signature, its member newsletter.

The meeting also featured the passing of the board chair’s gavel from Patrick Ryan (Modern Press, Albany, NY) to Dona Snyder-Reardon (Snyder Printer, Troy, NY). Other officers serving one-year terms from now until next June are Eric Webber (Cohber Press, Rochester, NY), vice chair; Doug Bolling (Veritiv, Depew, NY), second vice chair; Kathleen Hartmans (Quality Bindery, Buffalo, NY), treasurer; and John Williams (Midstate Printing, Syracuse, NY), secretary.

Joining the board of directors for three-year terms are Robert Witko (Fort Orange Press, Albany, NY); Bryan Carr (TBN, Buffalo, NY); Marianne Gaige (Cathedral Envelope, Rome, NY); and Richard Schielke (Envelopes.com, Amityville, NY).

PIAlliance’s tagline words are Engage, Explore, Energize, and Excel. Judging from what I saw and heard on June 18, this member is confident that the group is Easily and Evidently Exceeding its goals in Each.