Something About IPMA...
This year’s In-Plant Printing and Mailing Association conference stood out in a number of ways, and was one of the best conferences in years.July 2011 By Bob Neubauer
There was something about the recent In-Plant Printing and Mailing Association (IPMA) conference in Charleston, S.C., that really made it stand out; something more than the great sessions and packed vendor fair; something beyond the fact that Ricoh Americas launched a major color print system there, bringing the event into the national spotlight.
There was an enthusiasm among attendees that exceeded all previous years. Perhaps it had something to do with the 42 percent increase in attendance this year; or maybe it was the 44 first-time attendees strolling the halls of the Charleston Marriott. Whatever the reason, the spirit of camaraderie among in-plant managers was at an all time high.
The fact that numerous managers who had not attended for several years due to travel restrictions returned this year lent an upbeat mood to the event—not quite signaling the end of bad economic times, but certainly hinting that better days are coming fast.
"IPMA is in awesome shape," declared IPMA President John Sarantakos, of the University of Oklahoma, at a membership luncheon. He revealed that the association is solvent and operating in the black—great news for a group that was in the red not too many years ago.
Industry wide, optimism seems to be on the rise, as indicated in an InfoTrends in-plant survey, cited by Marianne Morrison in her Tuesday morning keynote. She reported that 56 percent of in-plants expect to see revenue increases this year, compared to just 42 percent who were optimistic last year.
Her presentation was just one of nearly 30 excellent educational sessions at the four-day conference—the biggest in-plant event of the year. Those sessions covered dozens of themes designed to help in-plants get the equipment they need, increase their value and improve their operations.
The conference officially kicked off with a Sunday evening reception (watch video), where old friends were reunited and new attendees fit right in. More than 135 in-plant managers made the trip to Charleston this year, where they found daytime temperatures in the humid 90s, but pleasant evening weather.
Effective Leadership Skills For Managers
Dr. Jairy Hunter Jr., president of Charleston Southern University, gave the opening keynote presentation, in which he discussed effective leadership skills. Visionary leaders, he said, function in four roles. They are direction setters—mission oriented and focused; they are change agents, setting high expectations and thinking strategically; they act as a spokesperson, generating trust and developing consensus; and they act as a coach, helping others to achieve peak performance and practicing hands-off management.
IPG has posted more than a dozen videos from the IPMA conference on our Web site, covering everything from the opening reception to interviews with speakers after their sessions. These will give you a much better feeling for what the conference was like. Check out our IPMA videos here.