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PIA and NAPL End Unification Talks, to Remain Independent

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Press release from the issuing company

The joint Unification Task Force, formed last February to study the possible blending of these two national printing industry groups, has announced its recommendation to cease unification discussions.  The two groups have decided to remain independent but will continue their active collaboration on key programs and ongoing partnerships in the Graphic Arts Show Company, GAERF, and conferences such as the Vision 3 Summit.

Laura Lawton-Forsyth and Darren Loken, co-chairs of the Unification Task Force, commented on the group’s work, “Our organizations have a great deal of respect for each other. The Task Force studied several approaches to unification as well as facilitated several months of good conversations about how to best serve our industry and our members. Despite our best efforts, at this time, we feel it’s in their best interest for the two associations to remain independent but actively collaborate on key events and programs. We look forward to continuing a mutually beneficial relationship.”

The Unification Task Force was made up of representatives from both boards and was expanded over the past six months to include a broader range of affiliate managers, vendors, and printer members. The group studied key issues around the potential of unification, including legal, financial, governance, membership structure, and programs.  Task Force members volunteered their time to study and research these issues and to gather input from a range of stakeholders.

Lawton-Forsyth and Loken continued, “We’d like to thank each member of the Unification Task Force for their time and effort. This group of individuals dedicated a great deal of energy to this initiative over the past several months and represented the best interest of each organization’s members. We are very grateful for their efforts.”

Ultimately, after careful consideration, the Task Force concluded that it was not possible to formulate a combined entity that accommodated the diverse needs of both a direct and locally delivered structure. However, the Task Force has generated a new understanding of each organization’s operations and encouraged each group to serve its membership by continuing, and building upon, beneficial collaborations.

For further information, please contact Darren Loken at (206) 295-3284 or Laura Lawton-Forsyth at (509) 534-1044.



By Joe Webb on Sep 10, 2012

The organizational structures of the two associations are so vastly different, that this is not a surprise, even though it is very disappointing. NAPL is easy: it's one organization. PIA is the national organization plus the affiliates. I would prefer to see the two organizations competing for member dollars by specializing in the needs of particular constituencies, and let the decisions of each printer be their vote. Cooperation might actually be cowardly in that context; demanding these two differently structured and purposed organizations to merge might be wrongheaded, and use resources instead to re-size and re-focus their organizations. And what if the right answer was for PIA National to close and set the affiliates free to compete as they wish in the geographies they choose, much like the "Baby Bells"? What if some of the printers involved in the discussions decided that they would support a new and separate association? Many printers find it is easier to start new together rather than to deal with the gnarly facts of merging. In the end, it's all about relevance for what the associations do, and not 2012's relevance, but 2020's and 2025's. My column next Monday which is likely to include some more specific comments and speculative considerations. But today, heartfelt gratitude should go to all those who worked diligently in the attempt for the betterment of the industry.


By Chuck Gehman on Sep 11, 2012

I find this press release lacking in detail, and would like to hear the full story of why this fell apart.

The last paragraph sort of implies that it was the Printing Industries Affiliate structure that blew the deal out of the water.

The analogy Dr. Joe makes of the baby bells is flawed. These aren't companies. They don't have significant assets or intellectual property. Their customer base is shrinking.

The correct analogy is DSCOOP. Bringing together the printers and their vendors, to address the industries challenges together.

I think it is clear that the boards and management of these associations know this, but they have an execution problem.


By Clint Bolte on Sep 11, 2012

I personally had real confidence in the representatives chosen that they would be able to look beyond the current administrative personalities and partisanships to consider the future best interests of the printing industry.

The resulting course is a given ... slow death as industry suppliers cannot afford to finance disparate and competing overheads and members continuing to be selective with where they put their discretionary time and funds. No such thing as a friendly competition in a struggle to survive.

A good book for all to read is the Presidents' Club ... a more appropriate legacy for all to consider.


By John Henry on Sep 11, 2012

With the Top 6 of NAPL making at total of over 1.3 million, lead by Dr. Joe T at $349,432 in salary and benefits. I do not think you have to look much farther than self preservation as underlying factor. This is from the public 990 2010 and will be even higher in 2012 I am sure.

I would assume PIA is in the same range and no wants to lose their high paid job in this economy in merger. They million in the bank so this cow can be milked for a few more years at least.

Not even congress gets paid like this, in fact the current salary for the Chief Justice is $223,500 per year, while the Associate Justices each make $213,900. I assume Joe T in the boards mind is worth more than they are.


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