WOA 50th ANNIVERSARY -- Sowing The Seeds
Quadracci agrees, adding that during the '70s there were also numerous supplier hospitality suites and that the conference was strictly a men's affair.
However, its primarily social reputation was turning off some attendees. So, in the late 1980s, Basore, who had become the executive director in 1988, began to make some changes to the organization, accordingto Tiffany.
Basore asked Tiffany if he would accept a nomination to the board of directors. "I tried to politely turn Tom down because I felt like I didn't need another social commitment," recalls Tiffany. He also confided in Basore that he felt the organization did not focus enough on serious industry issues.
Basore agreed and told Tiffany that he was working to change the focus of the association, particularly the annual conference.
Basore soon encouraged vendors not to open their hospitality suites during seminar hours. He also improved the caliber of conference sessions and worked earnestly to strengthen the WOA's supplier advisory board. "That vendor advisory group has become absolutely essential to the association over the years," Tiffany adds.
Basore agrees. "The vendors have done a heck of a job over the past 10 to 15 years," he praises. "They've really raised the bar in the heatset industry."
The result is that the new and improved association came back stronger than ever. By the early 1990s the association's conference attendees peaked at 1,500 registrants. "We had a mild recession in 1991, and we dropped down some, but we've grown back up to about 1,100 participants," Basore says.
"We've seen a real growth in interest from European, South American and Japanese web printers. We are really seeing the growth of heatset web printing all over the world," he continues.
"The presses have gotten faster, the quality has gotten even better, and the technology, paper and inks are the best that they've ever been. Web offset printing's cost per page has dropped dramatically and made it competitive with sheetfed offset," states Basore.