BIA Cconference Recap — Class is in Session
The morning's fourth speaker was Cal Poly professor Malcolm Kief, who discussed education and training of the binding industry's future work force. Kief urged the attendees to work with local technical schools, universities and association affiliates as additional educational resources.
The rest of the conference provided plenty of educational opportunities. Each morning featured small roundtable discussions around a specific topic, which ranged from polypropylenes and adhesives to a well-attended session on employee/management relations.
The value of these intimate discussions was not lost on attendees. Many expressed that they were the motivating factor behind their attendance at the conference.
"I truly value these technical- and issues-specific, peer-to-peer discussions," notes Eckhart. "I have never left a BIA conference without several ideas on my notepad that are slated for immediate implementation when I get back to the office."
When attendees weren't busy picking the brains of those around them, they were soaking up information from vendors during the tabletop display showcase. There were a few dozen suppliers on hand to educate attendees on their latest equipment, and to make connections with potential customers.
Attendees also took some time between sessions to check out the entries in this year's BIA-sponsored Product of Excellence awards competition. Entries are submitted in Trade and Looseleaf categories and will, for the first time, comprise a traveling exhibition that will take them to schools, libraries and seminars throughout the year.
Of course, no conference would be complete without a little respite, which came in the form of a golf tournament. Participants headed to the lush Badlands Golf Club for a best-ball tournament. Battling stiff winds, the participants nonetheless enjoyed the opportunity to display their golf prowess and take advantage of yet another great networking opportunity.
In addition to being a forum for discussing the industry as a whole, there was plenty of discussion regarding the BIA itself. Like many other trade associations, the BIA had a challenging 2001 that saw a decline in membership. However, discussions at the conference were decidedly positive. Members embraced many of the avenues the BIA is pursuing to increase the value of association membership.