The 2017 SGIA Expo: Ford Bowers Defines Its Value Proposition
With more than 40 educational sessions and special events, plus more than 570 exhibitors, the 2017 SGIA Expo (held Oct. 10-12 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans) is more than a trade show. It’s the largest printing industry event in North America - and it’s even more important now to commercial printers than ever before.
Consider this: Your printing business doesn’t exist in a vacuum. The lines between market segments are blurring so you need to change the way you do things in your shop - whether you’re talking about technology, marketing or personnel. SGIA offers you the opportunity to change your perception - and perspective - of the visual and graphic communications industries.
Printing Impressions Special Projects Editor Denise Gustavson spoke with Ford Bowers, president and CEO of SGIA, to get insight as to what to expect at this year’s show.
PI: What are the top two to three reasons someone should attend the SGIA Expo in New Orleans next month?
BOWERS: I know it’s difficult to take even a day away from the shop, but it’s also important to spend time working on your business. In fact, it’s critical to get that perspective and take time to consider the many options available. The SGIA Expo allows you to make the most of time away from the shop by exposing you to the greatest breadth of printing technologies you’ll find in one place.
It’s not just the size of the show that makes the 2017 SGIA Expo special - although, with 570 exhibitors and over a quarter-million square feet of booth space, it is the largest printing industry trade show in North America.
What sets the SGIA Expo even further apart is the way it brings the various communities within printing together and inspires creative solutions to your printing challenges and new ways you can wow your customers.
PI: What is new at the show this year?
BOWERS: We’ve got more than 570 exhibitors, education the day before the show, education during the show, networking breakfasts and luncheons. There’s a lot to see and do at the 2017 SGIA Expo!
On the Expo floor, you’ll find technologies including high-production inkjet systems focused on corrugated printing, labeling and other systems that expand packaging offerings, and wide-format systems (and materials) that expand commercial printing capabilities.
These include new media and textile products, the expansion of dye-sublimation, software solutions to aid workflow and color management, and solutions to convert print into sellable product.
Education is another huge offering at the SGIA Expo. In addition to the more than 40 educational sessions covered by the Expo + Education Pass (available during registration and free to SGIA members) there are two half-day workshops - “Wide Format 101: Four Steps to Profitability” and “Your Business: Plan for Success” - that look at the nuts and bolts of running a printing business, from maximizing your wide-format equipment to building business. If you’re adding wide-format or are new to the business, you’ll want to consider them. Both take place Monday afternoon, Oct. 9.
While you are at the Expo, you’ll also want to take advantage of all the opportunities to connect and learn from your peers at events, including:
- Brands Talking Sustainability luncheon (Tuesday, Oct. 10, Noon-2 p.m.) - Ann Inc., REI and Starbucks discuss the importance of sustainability to their businesses - and how that applies to their printer partners.
- Celebrate the close of Day One at the Community Reception (Tuesday, Oct. 10, 5-6 p.m.), in the Golden Image Gallery (La Nouvelle Ballroom). You’ll mix, mingle and take in the best prints in the world.
- Women in Print Alliance breakfast (Wednesday, Oct. 11, 7:30-9 a.m.) - Keynote speaker Fawn Germer leads a critical discussion on leadership and work-life balance. Not for women only!
PI: What are the top takeaways you hope all attendees will leave with?
BOWERS: In addition to a feel for the scope of the printing industry, I expect attendees will leave with a greater understanding of the blurring boundaries between industry segments and what those shifts might mean to their businesses. Use your time at the show to consider technologies and products that could open up your business to new directions.
PI: How is SGIA reflecting the changes in the industry?
BOWERS: Changes in technology, advances in inks, substrates and software, and the opportunities they open up continue to transform the way images are produced and redefine the ways printers can enter new markets.
We see that in our membership, in our research and on the Expo floor. Every time I attend the SGIA Expo and see the equipment, consumables and tools associated with our many print communities - graphics and sign, garment decoration, industrial printing, printed electronics, commercial printing and packaging - it drives home the point that the lines that once separated industry segments have blurred.