One of the key ingredients in corporate life is the responsibility to develop and maintain marketable skills. After all why did your company hire you in the first place? One of the best technical industry programs to hone those skills and learn what may be critical to both you and your company is the IPA Technical Seminar being presented May 13 to 15, 2003 at the Chicago Holiday Inn Mart Plaza. [disclosure: the author of this article performs consulting services for the IPA and will be speaking at this seminar]

The IPA Technical Seminar will present the first ever Color Proofing Roundup and a session on the new Adobe Acrobat 6.0. Also part of this dynamic briefing will be programs on RGB workflow, PDF/x, Content Management, Color Management, Dynamic Publishing, OS X Migration and many of the new production tools challenging the status quo in the marketplace. The presentations will be excellent and the topics both strategic and tactical. Attendees can choose a management or "techie" tracks. One thing is for sure; all will come back with a clear competitive advantage of what knowledge is critical for present and future success.

As I travel around the country talking to graphic arts professionals one of the questions that I hear over and over is "Where do I find sound, reliable and honest information on technologies that I need to know?" Our industry puts on many outstanding events but they often cater to many different market segments. This conference concentrates on one thing exceptionally well: Technology! Examining both old and new technical developments that any graphic arts company must comprehend to stay in business. A good example will be the session by Carl Young, an Adobe Certified Expert and Founder of the PDF Conference, on the soon to be released Acrobat 6.0. With most companies facing the challenge of limited resources due to a poor economic climate, those organizations with the savvy to taste the future need to know the new PDF features and benefits in 6.0 and what they will mean to their customers. My suggestion, this session is a must see.

With keynote speaker Tony Federico, Chief Engineer from Xerox, setting the stage on "What's Driving Your Digital Future", the seminar explodes with opportunity for attendees to learn and absorb. Industry pundits like Gene Gable discussing "Raising the Value of Content Service" and the always entertaining Chuck Weger, examining "OS X Migration" are just a few of the people lined up to get you over the recent paralysis gripping our industry.

Probably the last thing any graphic professional should do right now is stay home. Sitting on the sidelines by not attending this event is giving the industry leaders who attend an even bigger advantage. Technology is blossoming and significantly changing the face of the "graphic communication" industry. It behooves every entrepreneur or graphic technology specialist to find their way in some shape or form to Chicago for this event.

Some may say I am overly enthusiastic for education. But my appetite for knowledge is never quenched. I suggest that no one in our industry should ever be satisfied with their knowledge base. If you are, you could be staring at the chance of looking for another job. If you crawl out of your complacent cocoon, you will see our industry is booming and creating lots of new opportunity for those leaders smart enough to realize what is happening. Maybe you don't have the money to spend on new technology today. However, if you don't attempt to acquire the knowledge you will need to drive business to your door in the immediate future the only door you will be staring out will have a padlock on it. Someone in your company has to be responsible for untangling the old umbilical cords of printing for the innovative digital technology evolving today. The digital technology world is an exhilarating place to be. So act smart and sign up for the IPA Technical Seminar today and I guarantee you will learn some worthwhile marketable skills.