A Cajun in the Heartland: Mike Loyd Ready to Lead IPMA
In-plants are important to Mike Loyd — important enough to drag him away from his lifelong home in Baton Rouge, La., to the chilly heartland of Kansas City — where he has no illusions about the expected weather.
"Ice, snow and tornadoes are not my thing," deadpans the former in-plant manager and erstwhile Ricoh in-plant specialist. Helping in-plants, on the other hand, is definitely his "thing," and if he has to brave the elements to do so, then he's more than willing to do it. Which is why Loyd this week accepted the position of executive director of the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association.
"I'm looking at it as a new adventure," he says of both his impending move north and his new role with IPMA. "I am excited about the job, wherever it may be."
Loyd has already found an apartment in the "City of Fountains" and will make the 30-minute drive to IPMA headquarters in Kearney, Mo., each day — a headquarters that is relocating at almost the same time as he is.
"It's my dream job," Loyd enthuses. "It's a perfect job for me."
Perfect because Loyd has seen things from both sides: as director of Louisiana State University Graphic Services, a job he held for 13 years, and as production marketing manager and in-plant specialist for higher-ed at Ricoh since 2007, where he got the vendors' point of view.
"It gives me a great perspective, understanding the trials of vendors who we consider as partners with IPMA," he points out. "Because if it's not a mutually beneficial relationship, it's not going to work."
Loyd has a long history with IPMA. He's attended 21 consecutive IPMA conferences and served as president of the world's largest in-plant association. As a member, he found IPMA invaluable for bringing him knowledge he otherwise would not have had access to.
"IPMA, I found, when I was at LSU, offered me great value because it opened up resources that, as an individual functioning in a vacuum, I wouldn't have any way to get," he notes.
Loyd's goal is to help in-plant managers get access to that peer knowledge that can help strengthen their operations.
"We need to make sure that our members of IPMA are tapping into the knowledge base of the membership," he says. If one member has a great marketing program in place or is raking in revenue with innovative wide-format applications, they can share their plans and other members can simply copy them.
"Somebody's already done the leg work," he notes. "It works for them. Try it."
Loyd wants to make sure all in-plants, especially those who aren't members, understand the value IPMA can bring them.
"I want to make IPMA a 'no brainer' to people who are in in-plant printing," he declares. He hopes to make the association's benefits so attractive that no manager will have to debate whether they can afford to join or find time for the conference; they will feel they have to belong because of the information they will get.
"Everyone in IPMA, because we're not in competition with each other, we're so willing to help our fellow printer," he observes. "It can be nothing but positive."
Loyd's tenure as an in-plant manager is well remembered by the in-plant community. Always a friendly, approachable figure, he willingly offered his consulting services to in-plants in need, and graciously shared LSU's copier program RFP to help other managers establish their own programs. His swan song from LSU, the 2007 Southeastern University Printers and Digital Managers Conference he hosted, was the most well attended conference in that group's history. He also served as president of the Association of College and University Printers, and IPG honored him as Manager of the Year in 1999.
"By running one of the larger in-plants in the country, I understand the trials and tribulations of the individual in-plant manager/director," he stresses. "I am able to bring that to the table, understand it, offer some remedy or find some remedy by reaching out to the membership."
Loyd also understands, from his years with Ricoh, how many resources vendors have to offer in-plants — such as white papers, research and expert advice — that they may not even be aware of. He can point managers in the right direction, with their best interests in mind.
His experience has given him a great understanding of the plight of in-plants everywhere.
"The main problem with in-plants is their perception within their parent institution; you're perceived as just a dirty little print shop," Loyd says, bluntly. "We have to make sure we get out there and market ourselves and show them how we bring value to the overall mission of the parent institution."
As to the argument some organizations dredge up, that printing in not their "core" business, Loyd quickly shoots back: "Information is core to everything. And that's what we do. We disseminate information. So there's really nothing more core than information dissemination."
Loyd has great respect for IPMA and for its most recent executive director, Carma Goin, who served the association loyally for more than a decade.
"Carma did an exceptional job in a trying time within IPMA," Loyd lauds. "And I'm really proud of her and thankful that she was able to do what she was able to to. I hope I can continue to grow the organization and grow its meaningfulness to its members."
He vows to try new things and bring fresh ideas to the table.
"We're going to do some really great things, and I'm really excited about it," he says.
He laughs when he recalls how the late in-plant consultant Jack Klasnic once gruffly called him "the poster child for IPMA," because of all his involvement in the in-plant industry. Klasnic, it seems, was a decade and a half early with his epithet. Loyd's task now is to live up to it.
With his new job set to start on Nov. 1, Loyd is now packing up his things and getting ready to say good-bye to Baton Rouge and hello to his new home in K.C. Though he'll have to trade in his crawfish diet for barbecue, he's excited nonetheless about the move.
"I love Kansas City. It's a great city," he says. "I'm just ready to get to work."
Related story: Mike Loyd Named IPMA Executive Director
Bob has served as editor of In-plant Graphics since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited more than 130 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, cosponsored by IPMA and In-plant Graphics.