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NAPL and PIA Form Task Force to Explore Unification

Friday, February 24, 2012

Press release from the issuing company

At a meeting held prior to the Vision 3 conference a group of industry leaders convened to explore opportunities to unify NAPL and PIA. This action was taken for several reasons: the economic conditions of the past several years, the ongoing contraction of the industry and a response to calls for action from membership and suppliers. After a full day of very productive and open discussion, the group was able to reach unanimous consensus to move forward with a plan and process to address the above issues which will greatly benefit members of the groups as well as the industry in general.

A special task force has been formed consisting of representatives from both NAPL and PIA which will collaborate and move forward with a unification process. The boards of each organization have passed resolutions supporting the process, and empowering the task force to take the steps to create a new single entity. Joe Truncale and Michael Makin, the CEOs of each organization have expressed their full support of these efforts.

The unification process is expected to take several months to reach completion. Members of each Association are encouraged to continue to support their respective Associations.

The task force will develop a number of sub-committees to address key areas such as: Strategic plan; Name of the organization; Staffing and leadership; Local representation; Programs; and Location. These steps will take place over the next several months along with due diligence and legal work.

The task force is being co-chaired by Laura Lawton and Darren Loken, who are the current chairs of PIA and NAPL respectively. The other members of the task force are:

John Berthelsen, Suttle-Straus, Inc.
Tim Burton, Burton & Mayer, Inc.
Keith Kemp, Xerographic Digital Printing
Michael Makin, PIA
Joe Truncale, NAPL
Jules VanSant, Pacific Printing Industries
Niels Winther, Think Patented
Nigel Worme, COT Media Group

For further information, please contact Darren Loken at (253) 246-0453 or Laura Lawton at (509) 534-104


Letter from Joe Truncale, NAPL President & CEO to NAPL members

Attached you will find a copy of information relating to NAPL that is being released to the press today. I am writing to you this morning because I wanted to let our members know about it prior to its general release.

In response to requests from many company and associate members, NAPL’s leadership entered into discussions with the leadership of Printing Industries of America about the possible unification of the associations into a single entity that would best serve the interests of all our members and our industry.

The groups came together over the last few days at the Vision 3 Summit and agreed to explore this association unification. This process is complex, and will take place over a number of months, but throughout, our primary concern will be to ensure that our members derive maximum benefit from any change or consolidation.

I respectfully ask that you continue your support of NAPL during the coming months. Our staff and volunteers will continue to provide you with all of our NAPL programs and services, and I hope that you will continue to make full use of all your member benefits.

As we move forward with this effort, I will keep you informed at each step along the way, and I welcome any comments or suggestions you might have about how we can make these changes work best for you.






By David L. Zwang on Feb 24, 2012

This important step is a long time coming, and I am glad to see it finally moving in the right direction. This is a critical move for the long term health of the association(s), and their value to the industry as a whole.


By Charles Corr on Feb 24, 2012

Industry transformation results in consolidation across the ecosystem. Exploring consolidation of associations makes sense, the road to achieve it is always difficult. It is more complex in our fragmented industry. What is clear is that we need a strong association that meets the diverse requirements of a challenged industry.


By Andrew Gordon on Feb 24, 2012

I agree with David and Charlie. I think many of us have seen this coming for awhile now, especially as consolidation has continued. However, there is still a lot of fragmentation within PIA and the regional affiliates often act as separate entities. I don't know the state of finances for the affiliates, but I can only imagine that they are struggling with the same issues as the national organization and need to find new revenue streams to offset declining membership. For example, PAF has done a great job developing the GOA show in FL. I'm also impressed with how Printing Industries of Northern California (PINC) has transformed itself into the Visual Media Alliance and has expanded its reach up the value chain. I have to wonder if there will be consolidation within this layer of PIA. This is something that NAPL didn't have to worry about. Hopefully, the outcome will be the best of both organizations.

The follow on question is whether there are other associations serving our industry that would make sense to roll up into this new organization.


By Clint Bolte on Feb 24, 2012

I would prefer to be a little more specific since this has been needed for a decade or more. Both management teams have been fighting this until suppliers told them, "Next year you can expect 10% of what we gave you last year!"

Timely news and commentary visa vie daily e-zine is critical. That given, PIA & NAPL's effort and investment in the same have fallen far short of What They Think.com offers. PIA & NAPL acknowledge the same but neither has the money to buy WTT. Some kind of a formal relationship needs to be forged w WTT.

Each common product/service should be objectively compared with the best retained...but only if it is the best as described above vs. WTT.

1). Financial metrics: this is NAPL's forte with the single exception of never publishing the quarterly results of their dashboard ratios (huge intentional mistake). PIA's annual financial ratios should be dropped altogether.
2). Printing economists: Andy Paparozzi (NAPL) & Joe Webb (WTT) are both superb and provide all the industry needs. PIA's economist Ron Davis has always been assigned to a multitude of other tasks. The fact that the economic forecasts of PIA and NAPL's could never be compared is quite frankly embarrassing and just plain silly.
3). PIA's PAC efforts are outragiously expensive and for the most part being accomplished in a mediocre fashion. This is not because they do not have sharp lobbyists on staff, but rather the agenda is too broad. They should outsource their requirements to the real experts. For example, despite the printing industry's dependence upon the postal service no one at PIA has ever known squat about the USPS and its myriad of regulations. PIA should throw all of its PAC money in with MFSA (Mailing and Fulfillment Service Association) and stop duplicating efforts and wasting money.
4). Consulting: Gary has always done a superb job on the environmental front. GATF's consultants did an exceptional job on operational analyses, but PIA's top management never understood how to develop a sustainable consulting business model. Given a choice, both PIA and NAPL have opted to give their consulting services away at pressure from their Boards. May not be salvageable as an in house service with but a few niche applications (Gary-Environment).
5). Publications: NAPL gave up on this years ago. PIA's most successful effort has been their annual Technology Forecast under Dee's publishing leadership. And that key is the outsourcing of 98% of all the articles.
6). Testing/Hands On Training: GATF's facility in Pittsburgh has been exceptional at meeting every need of the industry. However, a sustainable, viable business plan has been difficult to realize. PIA's failure to deliver the same as the key promise of the GATF-PIA merger highlights the true depth of their top management expertise.
7). Seminars/workshops/conferences: PIA's strategy has always been to give all regional topics to the affiliates as evidence of the "value being provided by PIA." This has never worked and never will work. In house sessions in Pittsburgh have been more successful, though marginal. Their Web Offset Conference has dried up. NAPL has never made a go of in or out house programs without heavy support from suppliers. The only sustainable gatherings now in the industry are the supplier users’ groups like Dscoop and EFI's User's Conclave.
8). Location: No advantage to retain NAPL's NJ locale. PIA's DC office can be much smaller if all their PAC activities are outsourced. Pittsburgh has been paid for by suppliers and could not be replicated at several times the investment. Don’t waste time considering any other location
9). Leadership: You can't afford both CEOs and neither man will be acceptable to the other Board. Bring George Ryan back. He has always studied and known more about printing technology than top management at either NAPL/PIA/or WTT. The relationships that he built with suppliers and members were much more sustainable and less politically based.


By Patrick Henry on Feb 27, 2012

I'd be surprised if there were much difference between Clint's excellent analysis and the actual working script that PIA and NAPL will follow as they explore unification. But, a bigger issue looms over everything else: the joint ownership of the Print and Graph Expo trade shows by PIA, NAPL, and NPES under the aegis of the Graphic Arts Show Company (GASC). The details of a successful PIA-NAPL merger can't be hammered out until the parties and their lawyers have determined what will have to happen if the three owners of GASC are to become two. On the other hand, now that a dialog between PIA and NAPL is formally under way, perhaps we can assume that this road map already exists and that the rest of Clint's action items will be settled in due course.


By John Henry on Feb 29, 2012

I think Clint Bolte hit it pretty well.

I left NAPL when I saw things going downhill and viewed the major focus as how do we keep executive salaries and perks in place. Yes they cut at the middle level down.

The so call expert Ceo's were advising us to get lean, look for merger opportunism, while they were coming up with new monetary rewards for themselves- because they were having to work harder, make hard choices and find new ways to survive. I smiled that my dues were not longer supporting them as focused on their own enhancements getting new degrees as the preached leadership to outside groups not focused on our industry.

Now 2 years later they move to merge. After 2 years of paying more and getting less. Look if we who have survived ran our firms as NAPL has we would not have made it and should not.

Now is the time to clean house at the top with new leadership. Now is the time keep what is working and valuable while moving ahead.


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