PIA/GATF--Two Associations, One Goal
"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.
The GATF and PIA shared an exhibit at GRAPH EXPO and CONVERTING EXPO this past October, at which time a new logo was unveiled along with detailed explanations of the products and services offered through the merger.
Ray Roper, president of the PIA, notes that the consolidation effort was initiated by himself and George Ryan, president of the GATF. Roper remarks that the last major effort to bring together associations (PIA, GATF and the National Association of Printers and Lithographers) occurred more than 10 years ago, and another potential partnership among NAPL and PIA fizzled out in the conference room roughly four years ago.
Roper feels the combination of PIA's marketing/lobbying savvy and GATF's technical expertise makes for a well-rounded organization. Another bonus is that each leg of the partnership—PIA, GATF and the local affiliates—will remain intact; no offices or branches will be closed.
"In my opinion, this is a natural [partnership]," he says. "The programs of the two organizations are very complementary, and there's hardly any overlap. When you put the package together, it pretty well covers the gamut of everything a printing company might need to deal with challenges printers are facing today."
According to Ryan, members had also indicated they were frustrated by the multitude of meetings held by the different associations. Frequently, there were direct conflicts with conferences, board and committee meetings.