Reflections on the UPMG Annual Conference

Attendees gather outside Redworth Hall Hotel.

My wife Catherine and I recently returned from an incredible experience. We were invited to present at the annual University Print Managers’ Group (UPMG) conference in the U.K. at Redworth Hall, County Durham. (That’s United Kingdom, not University of Kentucky.) I was asked to deliver the keynote, “Critical Success Factors,” while Catherine presented “Sustaining Operations in Turbulent Times,” a session that described her use of metrics to track performance as she turned around the in-plant that she manages.

The UPMG’s partnership with the Association of College and University Printers (ACUP) dates back to 1998 when Graeme Bolsover, print manager at the University of Sheffield; Andrew Scott, head of Print Design Services at Glasgow Caledonian University; and Steve Wilson, University of Hull; attended the 35th annual ACUP conference hosted by the University of Louisville.

Since that time, Maury Kane, Rick Wise, Jennifer Bowers, Mike Loyd, Steve Dimond, Tony Seamen, Lisa Hoover, Richard Griffin and Bob Lane, to name a few, have represented U.S. in-plants at the annual UPMG conference. Andrew Scott, Francis Reis, Duncan Hurst, Graeme Bolsover, Steve Wilson, and Thérèse Walker, among others, have represented UPMG at ACUP.

The UPMG program included several topics of interest to in-plant managers from both sides of the Atlantic. In “An Introduction to Certified Paper for the Printing Industry,” Alun Watkins, PEFC U.K. National Secretary, described Progamme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), an international non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting sustainable forest management.

PEFC claims to be the largest certification body in the world, even though FSC has a higher profile, and has an extensive presence in the United States. It promotes a chain-of-custody certification, which outlines requirements for tracking certified material from the forest to the final product to ensure that the wood contained in the product or product line originates from certified forests. Its Sustainable Forest Management certification provides forest owners and managers with independent recognition of their responsible management practices.

Ray Chambers, CGCM, MBA, has invested over 30 years managing and directing printing plants, copy centers, mail centers and award-winning document management facilities in higher education and government.

Most recently, Chambers served as vice president and chief information officer at Juniata College. Chambers is currently a doctoral candidate studying Higher Education Administration at the Pennsylvania State University (PSU). His research interests include outsourcing in higher education and its impact on support services in higher education and managing support services. He also consults (Chambers Management Group) with leaders in both the public and private sectors to help them understand and improve in-plant printing and document services operations.

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