Just over a week ago, I attended my first — and technically last — SGIA Expo. Having joined the SGIA staff last November, I narrowly missed our show in New Orleans.
I should also mention that I’m new to the industry. (A degree in Print Journalism doesn’t quite count as the printing industry.) Therefore, after nearly a year of getting up-to-speed, reading and writing about all things printing through my work on the Journal, I was more than ready to see it all first-hand and put some faces to names.
representing different segments and contributions to the printing world — along with 612 exhibiting companies that comprised the sold-out show floor. And while the innovative technologies and business solutions I saw in the exhibit hall blew me away, what also left a lasting impact were the interactions I experienced and witnessed.
In my numerous conversations with exhibitors, educators and printers of varying segments, job types and experience levels, there was a distinct commonality: This is an industry filled with passionate people! Whether in one of the 72 education sessions, special networking events or in the exhibit hall, the people I spoke to were eager to make connections to learn or share advice, personal challenges and experiences.
I spoke with an educator and organization representative discussing ways to engage the future workforce, a printer curious as to how the economy would impact his business and a garment decorator who was exploring direct-to-garment technology options — to name a few. There was an open dialogue where there were no right or wrong questions or answers — just the goal of growing personally, on a business level and as an industry.
Whether you're new or a longtime veteran in the world of printing, there is an underlying understanding of just how much this industry is evolving and changing, and while we can exchange emails or make phone calls, nothing compares to the experience of personal interaction and seeing things first-hand.
Over the next few weeks, my colleagues will be recapping different highlights from the Expo, including our community focused luncheons, the first-ever PDAA Wrap Team Challenge and the competitions that showcased the year’s best in printing products and applications.
Post-Expo, I can’t help but now think back to my college days when I was asked why I was pursuing a dying field. What the Expo and all its attendees reinforced for me is that the printing industry is very much alive and thriving, and there’s no better place to witness this next year than at PRINTING United (Dallas, October 23-25). If you missed our opening night reception at TAO Nightclub celebrating the Expo’s (and printing’s) future, here’s a video recap.
I look forward to connecting with you next year in Dallas!