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Graphics of the Americas--Flourishing In Florida

March 2001

Where else in the graphic arts industry could you find an American Bald Eagle—aptly named "Booker T" after the central Florida city of Booker Town, where he was found six years ago as an injured chick—presiding over an international trade exhibition? That was just one of the attractions that drew more than 25,000 visitors to the 26th annual Graphics of the Americas trade show, which was held last month at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Booker T had an eagle-eye view perched at the Printing Association of Florida (PAF) booth during the three-day event and as the honorary host during the Graphic Arts Leaders of the Americas (GALA) awards banquet.

And for those who might question keeping such a magnificent bird in captivity, Booker T could not be returned to the wild due to his twisted beak, a result of Avian Pox, a chicken pox-like disease, and a broken shoulder that prohibits his ability to take flight, which he suffered in a fall from the nest. Cared for by the Miami Museum of Science Bird of Prey Center, Booker T's beak is routinely filed to help make it easier for him to eat.

The exhibition kicked off Friday, February 2, with the opening ceremonies and a parade featuring members of the Southwest (FL) Senior High School Eagle (what else?) Band. They carried 35 flags representing graphic arts summit countries and stood guard over the room filled with various dignitaries, including past GALA Hall of Fame inductees. A proclamation from Florida Governor Jeb Bush commemorating the period as "PAF Graphics of the Americas Week" was also presented.

Industry veteran Ike Savitt was recognized for his dedication to improving international trade within the graphic arts, and several awards were presented to various industry publications and local news organizations for their coverage of Florida's $11 billion printing, publishing and converting industry. In addition, ceremonial keys to the city of Miami Beach were given to the 2001 GALA Hall of Fame winners.

One Hot Show
With 85° degree, sunny weather outside during the entire exhibition, the action on the 502,000-square-foot show floor was even hotter with some 1,600 booths for attendees to visit. "Forty percent of the attendees are from Latin America, Mexico and the Caribbean," notes Mike Streibig, PAF president, "the fastest growing print markets in the world." Visitors also came from as far away as Europe and the Far East, as well as from the U.S. and Canada. Aside from the geographic diversity of visitors, exhibitors included 41 international companies representing 13 countries and four continents.

The opening day ended with the 18th annual GALA Hall of Fame awards banquet. This year's honorees included Joe Arriola, the first Cuban-American and the second Floridian to receive the coveted Eagle Trophy. Just prior to the show, Arriola had announced the sale of his company, Avanti/Case-Hoyt, to St. Ives plc for a reported $42 million.

During his acceptance speech, Arriola told the record-breaking audience of more than 400 people that he intended to spend time helping his five children with some of his other business ventures.

In addition, Arriola received a special Lifetime Achievement Award from Printing Impressions—one of the sponsors of the GALA awards banquet—for his dedication to the industry, numerous charitable acts over the years (especially following the devastation of Hurricane Andrew in 1992), involvement in civic affairs and in recognition of his business acumen in building Avanti/Case-Hoyt into the largest minority-owned printing company in America.

Avanti/Case-Hoyt operates from two manufacturing facilities based in Miami and Rochester, NY. It specializes in brochures and catalogs for the retail, cruise line, commercial and automotive markets, as well as in annual reports.

New York-based Berenson Minella & Co. acted as a financial advisor to Avanti/Case-Hoyt during the sale of the company.

Avanti/Case-Hoyt will become part of St. Ives' U.S. Division, joining existing commercial printing facilities in Hollywood, FL, and Cleveland, which serve the publication, catalog and commercial markets. With expected annualized sales of $230 million, the division is headed by Wayne Angstrom, president and CEO. Gene Martinez will continue as president and Robert Walters as COO at Avanti/Case-Hoyt.

The second 2001 GALA inductee was Brazilian printer Louival Dantas. In 1968, Dantas founded his first printing company, Grafica Vera Cruz. Four years later, he created and became director/president of Editora Grafica Ipiur. Dantas also owns the Web Editora publishing house. He was the third Brazilian to receive the GALA Eagle Trophy.

Longtime Leader
A recognized leader in Brazil's printing industry, Dantas has served as vice president and president of the Federal District Union of Printing Companies; president of the National ABIGRAF Steering Council and the Brasilia Trade Print; and president of the Federal District Federation of Printers.

Another highlight of Graphics of the Americas 2001 was a unique exhibit from the U.S. Secret Service. Demonstrated were anti-counterfeiting techniques, as well as technology changes that have been incorporated into the printing of U.S. currency. At last year's show, the U.S. Treasury exhibited its $1 billion Bureau of Engraving and Printing display, which also featured Mary Ellen Withrow, U.S. treasurer, on hand to autograph currency.

The fourth-annual Salsa Party was held on the show floor immediately following the exhibition on Saturday, February 3, for both attendees and exhibitors.

Held in conjunction with Graphics of the Americas, 45 seminars—including some in Spanish—were spread over four days to accommodate attendees without interfering with their exhibit visits. Once again, an international business pavilion equipped with high-speed communications was set up to provide foreign visitors with a relaxing environment to conduct business meetings.

The next Graphics of the Americas will be held at the Miami Beach Convention Center February 1 to February 3, 2002. As this year's show ended, a record number of exhibitors had already signed up for next year's event, reports Chris Price, vice president and general manager. So mark your calendars. The keepers of Booker T surely will.

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