SOMETIMES, seemingly unrelated elements combine as brush strokes to paint a bigger picture. That certainly seemed the case as we finalized this issue before going to press. Although filled with a range of diverse articles and columns, together they serve as a microcosm of current industry realities and trends.
For example, take this month’s cover story profile of Bindery 1, a flourishing trade bindery based in Des Moines, IA, which celebrated its 30th anniversary last year. Founded by Polish immigrants, the company reins have been passed to the second generation—led by daughters Gigi and Renatta and their spouses. A true family affair, Gigi came on board full-time in 1988 and now serves as president of the combined trade binding, finishing and mailing operation. Learning both the technical nuances of the finishing process and how to manage a thriving business, she exemplifies the necessity for our industry to attract more women and minorities to its ranks.
With a shrinking pool of skilled workers and up-and-coming managers, we must be portrayed to those entering the work force as ‘equal opportunity’ employers. Despite all of the current industry consolidation resulting in plant closures and layoffs among existing workers, there still is a dire shortage of young people being drawn to careers in printing and its allied industries. We can’t rely on good people to fall into our industry by fate or happenstance, as so often seems to be the case. As such, it’s critical to dispel any myths about the graphic arts being a grungy, physical labor-intensive profession. Increasingly, printers require computer-literate production staff, database experts, programmers, Web designers, and professional managers and marketers to lead the cross-media charge. We need to put as much thought and emphasis into developing our human resources as we do in making capital expenditure decisions. In reality, the cost of making wrong personnel or equipment decisions can have the same negative impact on the bottom line.