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More PIA/GATF Candidates --Cagle

May 2002
This is an open letter to Robert E. Murphy, the veteran leader at Japs-Olson and the chairman of the selection committee charged with finding the next man or woman who will become CEO of the Printing Industries of America/Graphic Arts Technical Foundation, one of the commercial printing industry's largest and most powerful associations.

Dear Sir,

It has come to my attention that the PIA/GATF has received in excess of 350 resumes both from people within and outside the industry vying for the chance to become the virtual czar of the commercial printing industry. While I am certain that there are many qualified applicants already in the fold, rest assured that the staff here at Before You Go has taken the liberty of conducting its own research.

I believe, sir, that you will be pleasantly surprised and extremely excited regarding the timber of applicants at your disposal. As it would be quite the conflict of interest for this column to recommend the ultimate decision as to the future leadership of the PIA/GATF, we have instead provided you with a narrowed field from which to choose this great individual.

Thus, while you schedule interviews for later this month, let us toss a few more hats in the ring and ratchet up the competition level another notch or two. Without further ado:

Bill Clinton: The former president is probably growing lonely and bored as his even-more-significant other makes her way through the political field. William Jefferson Clinton would love the task of heading up such a large organization and would presumably add heft to the PIA/GATF lobbying effort.

His charm, wit and grace will be somewhat offset by his weakness for cavorting. He'd be more likely to linger around Graph Expo booths that have hired models showcasing their products and services. And Creo may want to think twice before inviting him to the annual House of Blues party in Chicago. He'd end up on stage with Lynn Jordan, slurringly crooning, "It takes a big, big woman . . ."

Bobby Knight: Former coach of the Indiana University men's basketball team. Very high on discipline, but low on tolerance. Will be quick to establish consensus, if not create dissension, in the ranks.Will have little trouble making the association's interests known to anyone who stands in his *&#@! way. Lone drawback: The man is a total *&#@! Has been known to throw a chair or two when prodded (someone taking his assigned parking spot, for example). Better to fight with him than against him.

Ken Lay: The former Enron chairman needs a job, right? He has lots of executive experience and expertise. Knows how to take stock of a situation. Hey, some people just make a bigger splash when they go down for the third time. After all, everyone deserves a second chance. Call him a darkhorse candidate.

H. Ross Perot: His presence placates those who feel this industry is in need of a financial booster shot. The former U.S. presidential candidate has never been at a loss for words, so if any association speaker bails out of an engagement at the last moment, Ross is our hoss. Sure, he's hard to take serious, but he has the Don Rickles snowballing comedic effect. Once he gets going, you can't stop laughing. "You sheetfed people are living a fool's paradise," he'd say. "Y'all will be broke in a year and end up selling those promotional pens that feature nudie girls whenever ya turn 'em upside down. Web, web offset, that's the ticket! So don't be a damn idiot! Get with the program! Only 10-year-olds want nudie pens. And ya know what? They ain't got a damn dime, either . . ."

Britney Spears: Purely a gimmick candidate to boost membership. But maybe the demographics aren't ideal, as the pop music icon appeals mainly to girls ages 7 to 12 and men ages 30 to 45. But if she has the endorsement of no less than one Robert Dole ("Bob Dole digs Pepsi"), then I think she's owed a second look—at least.

Take your pick, Mr. Murphy.

HDIA SMACKDOWN: Joel Friedman, you're in over your head, buddy!

The Heidelberg Digital Imaging Association's executive director figured that, as a pleasant aside to shop talk, he'd start a fantasy baseball league comprised of membership and media. I took this as a personal challenge to my vast, expansive repository of baseball knowledge. Thus were born the On-Demand Dingers, one of 10 squads in the HDIA fantasy loop and clearly the odds-on favorite to win the grand prize, a fully loaded NexPress, which will fit nicely in my garage. At least I think that's what the grand prize is; Joel was a little fuzzy on the details.

Also in contention are such colorful names as the Gold Hill Gold Diggers, HDIA Headquarters, Heidelberg Canada, Heidelberg Japan, Heidelberger Drucks, Jabroni's, MO DaVinci, hockeysox and Susan's Yankees.

Naturally, since I've started the trash talking, I'm sure most (if not all) of my brilliant picks will be injured at some point during the season. Play ball but, as Harris DeWese would say, go out and sell something first.

By Erik Cagle

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