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IPMA Makes a Splash in Kansas City

In a town known for its fountains, IPMA made a big splash, bringing 150 in-plant managers together for three days of education and networking.

August 2012 By Bob Neubauer
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Nothing wakes you up in the morning quite like a football flying toward your face. That's what greeted attendees of the recent In-Plant Printing and Mailing Association (IPMA) conference during the opening keynote session when speaker Nick Lowery, Kansas City Chiefs' Hall of Famer, began tossing a ball randomly into the crowd as he delivered his inspirational message.

Peppered with anecdotes from his football career, Lowery's entertaining talk focused on how to avoid the fear of failure and perform at your very best. Despite eventually becoming the most accurate kicker in NFL history, Lowery noted that he was initially cut 11 times by eight teams. But each time, he learned from his mistakes.

"I knew I was getting better," he said, even as teams were cutting him. His message: don't let others determine whether or not you're a failure. He went on to kick 100 percent of his extra points over 10 seasons.

This was a fitting way to kick off the conference, since IPMA has experienced a similar success story in recent years, rebounding spectacularly after a few years of modest attendance. Nearly 150 managers attended the in-plant gathering, up from 135 last year and 100 the year before. There were about 50 first-time attendees this year, some of them from organizations that had not previously been to an IPMA conference, such as Amway, Blue Valley School District, Olathe Public Schools and Michigan Farm Bureau. President Tony Seaman noted during the business luncheon that the association remains financially solvent and is in growth mode.

Those in attendance at this year's Kansas City event were certainly eager to learn. Shop talk filled the air at the receptions and lunches, and managers quizzed each presenter about his or her in-plant during sessions. They swarmed the large exhibit hall, where an impressive 34 vendors showed off their wares. And they even had a rare opportunity to tour the sleek, glass building housing the pressroom of the Kansas City Star, to watch its KBA presses crank out the next day's paper.

A Hot Time in KC

Temperatures in Kansas City nudged past 100 degrees every day of the conference, keeping most managers indoors (though the arrival of Def Leppard saw a few groupies loitering around the rock band's tour bus). But indoors was a great place to be, with plenty of informative presentations to attend each day. Two recurring themes were changing your in-plant to stay relevant (and in business), and finding ways to make print work with digital communications technologies.

 

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