ACUP Wraps Up Successful Conference

Nearly 100 in-plant managers were in attendance at ACUP 2012.

The old and new ACUP board.

Nearly 100 in-plant managers from 70 universities met in Harrisburg, Pa., this week, for the 47th annual Association of College & University Printers (ACUP) conference. The event, attended by IPG, was a great success, giving managers a non-stop opportunity to network, trade stories and share ideas.

After two days of educational sessions, the group traveled to Lewisburg, Pa., on Wednesday to tour Bucknell University’s in-plant and see its Xerox Color 800 press in action. This was followed by a special screening of the documentary Linotype, The Film at The Campus Theatre. The film’s director was on hand afterward to answer questions and share his personal interest in Linotype machines.

This was ACUP’s second conference as a non-profit organization. Coming just three years after the cancellation of its 2009 conference due to slim registration numbers, this week’s event marked an impressive rebound for ACUP. Not only did it attract managers from from 26 states, but attendees hailed from Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia, as well.

The lead speaker on Monday morning was Barb Pellow, Group Director of InfoTrends, who implored in-plants to get more involved with cross-media, as their commercial printer counterparts are doing.

“Personalization isn’t enough any more,” she said. Today’s multi-channel users have shorter attention spans, so your message must engage them. Make print interactive with mobile codes and augmented reality.

Coming all the way from Christchurch, New Zealand, Simon White, Print Shop Manager of Canterbury University, offered a riveting personal account of the devastating earthquake that rocked his city in February. The experience taught him to have an emergency plan in place and make sure staff practices evacuation procedures.

In a concurrent session, Paul Jones, of Ashland University, moderated a very interactive roundtable discussion on Web-to-print solutions. In-plants discussed the different systems they use and compared notes. Jones said his shop’s Web-to-print system has enabled it to bring in a lot of business from outside the university that it otherwise wouldn’t have gotten.

The second day began with the ACUP member meeting, during which President Richard Griffin officially passed the torch to new President Lisa Hoover, of Bucknell University. New board members Catherine Chambers (Virginia Tech), Steve Amitrano (Burlington County College) and Chuck Brantley (Rhodes State College) were also officially welcomed.

Following the meeting, Mark Fallon of the Berkshire Co., discussed the current state of the USPS and detailed some of its reorganization efforts. He also offered some advice to help printers and mailers work better together. Designers, he said, should complete mail-piece design training. In-plant staff should always consult with the mail center before printing jobs that will be mailed. Staff should also keep current with self mailer requirements for folds and tabs, he added.

Karen Farr, manager of the Unitec Copy Centre, in Auckland, New Zealand, then detailed her in-plant operation and her efforts to increase business both from within the school and from local businesses. She spends a lot of time visiting potential customers and promoting the in-plant’s services, and attends department meetings.

There were several other sessions during the three-day conference, but most attendees would say the best part of ACUP was the networking. It continued right through to the Wednesday evening gala dinner.

Watch for a full story and a video on this site in the days ahead.

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