From the Editor: NGPA ReflectionsFebruary 2014 By Bob Neubauer
I was still a youngster back in 1995 when I walked into my first National State Printing Association meeting in Kansas City. Sitting at long tables all around me were state printers from all over the United States, many of them appointed by governors. A well-spoken representative from the U.S. Government Printing Office pontificated on printing policy issues beyond my comprehension. They all glanced at me with vague curiosity, recoiling a bit from my camera. I was intimidated.
My comfort level didn’t exactly rise when the outspoken leader of the group, Don Bailey, State Printer of Nevada, told me I’d have to leave the room during a meeting when members would discuss their in-plants’ projects and challenges—the very things I had flown there to learn about. (I did enjoy a nice walking tour of Kansas City as a result, but I didn’t exactly get what I wanted.)
I came back, though. Again and again. Fourteen times in all. After a couple years, even Bailey warmed to me, and we became friends. In fact, I made a lot of friends in the group, which eventually changed its name to the National Government Publishing Association. The GPO rep from that first meeting, Andy Sherman, is now Chief of Staff, and we’ve been friends for years.
NGPA conferences took me to places I never would have gone: Bismarck, N.D., Mobile, Ala., Carson City, Nev. I visited a prison in-plant once, overseen by an NGPA member. I soon found NGPA to be a close-knit group, fond of its history. Photo albums documenting past conferences always made the rounds during social hours as members reminisced about absent friends. Over time, though, retirements added names to the list of absent friends, and attendance dwindled.