ACUP Conference a Success

More than 80 higher-ed in-plant managers attended ACUP 2014 this week in Phoenix.

At Arizona State University's Print & Imaging Lab, managers talk with student operators of the HP Indigo press.

Managers talk with vendors on the ACUP exhibit floor.

In Phoenix this week, more than 80 higher-ed in-plant managers got together for the 49th annual Association of College and University Printers (ACUP) conference. Fifteen years after ACUP’s last Phoenix conference, this week’s event was nearly as hot as the weather, with a full agenda of educational sessions and enthusiastic networking throughout the conference.

A tour of Arizona State University’s Print & Imaging Lab on Wednesday was the highlight for many. This unique in-plant functions mostly as a learning environment for ASU students, who make up 30 of the shop’s 32 paid employees. Director Cathy Skoglund related the challenges and rewards of running an operation entirely with students. The ACUP group got to watch student workers running the HP Indigo press, the two HP wide-format printers and even a Heidelberg letterpress.

In-plant managers traveled to Phoenix from all over the United States, as well as from Australia and the U.K. ACUP’s theme was “The Future Looks Bright” and sessions were designed to give managers ideas to help them be successful. The very first session featured several in-plants sharing their success stories and strategic plans for growth. One of them (Bob Donahue of Franklin University) started a new in-plant only a few years ago. He detailed how it has grown to become an integral part of his university. Likewise, Ken Toy, of Harvard University, described how he has expanded his mailing operation to include printing services. Mark McCarty gave a presentation via Skype from his office at Missouri State University about how he brought digital color printing to his drastically downsized in-plant and turned it around.

A panel on wide-format printing, moderated by IPG Editor Bob Neubauer, drew enthusiastic questions from managers interested in expanding their wide-format business and getting into latex inks. Panelists Gary Warren (Ohio State University), John Wesseling (University of Cincinnati) and Paul Roberts (University of New Hampshire) shared some unique applications they have printed with their devices.

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