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PIA/GATF--Two Associations, One Goal

January 1999
The consolidation of the PIA and GATF signifies a new era—one aimed at bettering the position of each association's membership.


BY ERIK CAGLE


The mere mention of the word merger is enough to conjure up images of Exxon and Mobil, layoffs and plant shutdowns.

The modern business partnership—be it a merger, consolidation or whatever moniker du jour is applied—has more to do with bottom lines than frivolous considerations such as, say, enhanced products and services for the customer.

With that in mind, we bring you the marriage of the Printing Industries of America (PIA) and Graphic Arts Technical Foundation (GATF), which went into effect January 1st. It's a unique pairing (officially, a consolidation) of two printing industry associations, but not a surprise to industry insiders who have waited for this or any number of other combinations to come together over the past 10-plus years.

This consolidation is not motivated by tumbling oil prices. In fact, the PIA/GATF architects are proud that the two entities have come together for the benefit of the graphic arts industry overall. The umbrella corporation for the consolidated organizations will be called Print and Graphics Associations International (PGAI).

While there may be few questions as to the motives behind the consolidation, the marriage itself opens the door to questions. Will it truly benefit membership from both halves? Will there be any overlapping services? Will any member services be eliminated and what new benefits will become available? What about the new dues structure?

"The consolidation is offering us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," stresses Jerry Williamson, chairman of Williamson Printing and the 99th chairman of the PIA. (Williamson also served as chairman of the PIA/GATF Consolidation Task Force.)

"The strengths of both organizations complement each other's weaker areas very well," he notes. "For many years, the cry from PIA members was to provide more technical support, and the cry from the GATF was the need for marketing support for its specialized products and services.

"These enhanced offerings will be of enormous value to our members," Williamson adds. "The challenge before us is to make the members aware of these great new opportunities, which are significant, and members should take the appropriate advantage."

The consolidation is being billed as one-stop shopping. To promote the news, the combined entities have released a 50-page booklet that explains the range of products and services available through the consolidated organization, including: government affairs, research and testing, economic and market research, consulting services, education and training, awards programs, human relations, buying power discount programs, process controls and special industry groups.
 

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