No Tarnish on Silver Anniversary Memories —MichelsonSeptember 2010
It's hard to believe that this year's Printing Impressions/RIT Printing Industry Hall of Fame ceremony, held in conjunction with GRAPH EXPO in Chicago next month, will be our 25th annual induction class. That first Hall of Fame group in 1985, coincidentally, marks the same year I was named editor-in-chief of the magazine. While the Printing Industry Hall of Fame has earned venerable status by celebrating its silver anniversary, our tradition of detailing the accomplishments of individuals—both in the magazine and on stage during the awards banquet itself—certainly hasn't lost its luster.
From those early years, we launched Publishing Executive magazine with its own Hall of Fame (to honor print production professionals at magazine and book publishers) and created the Gold Ink Awards printing competition. The awards gala now pays tribute to both groups of Hall of Fame honorees and to the Gold Ink Award winners.
Several past Hall of Fame banquet memories come to mind. Some were touching, some amusing and others downright surreal. Like 1989, when the San Francisco earthquake occurred right before game three of the World Series between the Giants and Oakland Athletics—and right during our awards program in Chicago. We dutifully announced what had happened, albeit with an uneasy feeling that many people might get up and leave to check on (that was the pre-cell phone era) loved ones and acquaintances in northern California. Fortunately, there was no mass exodus before our event ended.
Fast forward to 1991, and the induction of Thomas Manning, of the former Judd's Inc. Left to raise 10 children after his wife died, it was touching to see Manning's kids and elderly mother there to share in his special moment. The same evening, though, I learned Manning was terminally ill and could barely muster the strength to be present. That same induction class included Robert Ott Sr., of The Hennegan Co.—easily one of the most gracious individuals I have ever met. That night we also honored Pierre Péladeau, founder of Quebecor Inc., who was small in stature but big in bravado. At one point during his acceptance speech, Péladeau pointed his finger and scolded some people in the back of the room for making too much noise while he was talking.
Another year, we attracted our largest crowd ever at the banquet...more than 1,000 people. The event was held in the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton Hotel in downtown Chicago. The walls and ceiling of the immense room were adorned ornately with the grandeur of a bygone era. But, unfortunately, the hotel's sound system was also from a bygone era, and only half of the attendees could hear what people were saying from the stage. Couple that with a lengthy open bar cocktail reception, followed by bottles of wine on the tables at dinner, and you can imagine the crowd control issues that ensued.