Event Foretells Offset—and Beyond

SCHAUMBURG, IL—Building on the decision last year by the PIA/GATF and Web Offset Association (WOA) to merge an annual event geared toward sheetfed offset printers into their venerable WOA conference and rename it Offset and Beyond, the program covered even more topics beyond lithography this year.

These included new features for the more than 600 attendees, including a Saturday jump-start series, a “green printers” showcase and a student outreach program. In addition, new all-day targeted sessions were hosted by Tom Quinn, director of fulfillment services at the Mailing & Fulfillment Service Association, and by Julie Shaffer, director of the Digital Printing Council, on the final day. The Binding Industries Association (BIA) also held its Mid-Management conference concurrently during Offset and Beyond 2008.

The meeting’s traditional lineup of sessions devoted to lithographic printing topics still remained, however, with expanded web and sheetfed offset technology tracks, coupled with a full gamut of management and combination sessions, for a total of four tracks.

The WOA hallmark of bringing in high-profile speakers also continued. This year, keynote addresses were provided by James Bradley, author of the “Flags of Our Fathers” best-seller, which recounts his father’s heroism during World War II; as well as political commentary from David Gregory, MSNBC chief White House correspondent.

The conference was presided over by Ralph Pontillo, WOA chairman. Additional talks were given by Hans Wegner, vice president of production services at National Geographic, on how the society is reducing its carbon footprint; and by award-winning PBS producer Sam Tyler, who created the “Good to Great” documentary in 1997 about well-run organizations that have achieved greatness through effective leadership and innovation.

If he were still alive today, Quad/Graphics founder Harry V. Quadracci would have been tailor-made to be featured in Tyler’s documentary, based on his industry vision and insight. At Offset and Beyond 2008, Continental Web Press President and CEO Ken Field received the VISION Award, which is named after Quadracci. And Jeff Wendt, pressroom manager at Arandell Corp., took home the Pressroom Manager of the Year Award, dedicated to the late H. Howard Flint.

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