Special Report — Reinventing the Web Offset Assn. Conference

Ralph Pontillo is chairman of the board for the Web Offset Association and vice president and general manager for Transcontinental Inc.

THE CLIMATE of the printing industry changes with print media competition growing, weekly news reports of consolidations, and daily challenges from a myriad of resources and technology innovations. Companies make over their names, add processes, rework their customer bases, add new mixes to their repertoire of services, and leverage the Internet and other new technologies. The industry is vibrant, exciting and changing—and we recognize this.

What does not change is the need for individuals to keep abreast of the management trends, operations and production issues related to the printing and graphics community. With that as the backdrop, the board of directors of the Web Offset Association (WOA) welcomed the opportunity to widen its targeted audience and topics from web offset to include sheetfed offset and reinvent the conference. WOA partnered with PIA/GATF to offer a one-stop conference for heatset and coldset web offset, as well as sheetfed printers. With that plan, “Offset and Beyond 2007” will launch on April 29 in Toronto, Canada.

This is a natural migration of the focus of the WOA annual conference, since the addition of sheetfed topics recognizes that the majority of web printers also have a sizable investment in sheetfed processes. The WOA board of directors believe that many of the trends and information cross processes. Most of the print media challenges affect all printers to varying degrees, depending on the category or sector that a company occupies.

WOA board members, sheetfed leaders and staff identified a complete array of concurrent sessions devoted to each process. The end result is four distinct tracks for an attendee to customize the learning experience to match his/her specific needs: management, web offset, sheetfed and combination.

The hallmarks of the WOA conference remain for all printers to enjoy. The keynote speaker, The Honorable Brian Mulroney, was selected for his international stature. Luc Desjardins, president and CEO of Transcontinental Inc.; Robert Danzig, former CEO of Hearst Newspapers; and Tony Gagliano, CEO, St. Joseph Communications, headline some of the industry luminaries.

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