Government In-plant Association to Merge with IPMAJanuary 7, 2014 By Bob Neubauer
The beginning of a new year also marks a turning point for a prominent in-plant association. Following a vote by members last month, the 36-year-old National Government Publishing Association will merge with the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association effective February 1. Leaders of both in-plant associations feel this will provide better value for all members, allowing for more growth and innovation.
Still, this decision was a tough one for a proud association like NGPA. Formed as the National State Printing Association in 1977 by Nevada State Printer Donald Bailey, the group thrived for decades, with a fiercely loyal membership that included dozens of retired members, many of whom attended the annual conference religiously. Even Hurricane Katrina could not keep the group from meeting. When the 2005 storm demolished its intended meeting place in Biloxi, the group moved its venue and held the conference as planned.
But as loyal members retired, including Bailey, they were not replaced in the association by younger managers and directors, and attendance dwindled. The high-water mark was the 2008 conference in Bellevue, Wash., which drew an impressive 82 in-plant attendees. After that, attendance plummeted, with less than 10 members gathering for the recent conference in Hartford, Conn.
Despite the merger, NGPA will retain its identity within IPMA, and the government group will meet during IPMA’s annual conference (June 8-12 in Milwaukee), where a separate track for government printers will be available. Plus, NGPA members will have access to IPMA’s numerous educational sessions and networking activities, and government in-plant managers on IPMA’s roster will have the opportunity to meet NGPA members. IPMA’s website will also feature a section devoted exclusively to government in-plants.
As part of this merger, IPMA has appointed Mike Lincoln as IPMA's new secretary/treasurer, replacing Larry Wright, who has served in this capacity for many years. Lincoln, who oversees the State of Colorado's Integrated Document Solutions operation, most recently served as president of NGPA—the 34th president of the association.