On May 15, Printing Industries Alliance identified most of those who will be honored at its 2008 Franklin Event on September 10. From left: Charlene McNeil (Hammer Packaging), representing recipient James E. Hammer (Hammer Packaging); Ken Lantz, DRAFTFCB; Tom Fox (American Express Publishing); Frederick K. Moss (Galvanic Printing & Plate Co./Flexi Printing Plate Co.)

The highest of high-profile printing celebrations in the New York City metro area undoubtedly is the Franklin Event, an annual affair that drew more than 500 people last year. Even more are expected to attend this year’s edition, which will be held on September 10 at Pier Sixty, Chelsea Piers, in the heart of New York’s historic waterfront district.

Last night the sponsor of the gala, Printing Industries Alliance (PIA), heralded the 2008 Franklin Event by announcing the recipients of most of the awards around which the affair is organized. This news was delivered at a briefing in the Milton Berle Room of the Friars Club, a famous show-business landmark in Manhattan. Besides promoting the Franklin Event, the session also served notice of PIA’s success in rebuilding a trade association base for printers in the metro area—a situation that was thrown into turmoil by the financial collapse and subsequent breakup of another group, the Association of Graphic Communications (AGC), two years ago.

Franklin Event co-chairs Diane Romano (Hudson Yards) and Cheryl Kahanec (Sandy Alexander Inc.) disclosed all of Franklin Event award recipients save one: the winner of the Franklin Award for Distinguished Service, whose identity remains under wraps for the time being. “You may rest assured that it is a person who is most deserving, and that the person’s name will be released shortly,” Romano said.

Last year’s Franklin Award recipient was Martha Stewart (Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia), a celebrity whose drawing power helped to make the 2007 Franklin Event the standing-room-only affair that it was. Bestowed for more than 50 years, the Franklin Award has gone to a long roster of luminaries in politics, the media, the armed forces, and public service.

The honors announced last night included the Power of Communications awards, established in 1971 to recognize industry members whose careers typify excellence in the print communications media. Also spotlighted was the John Peter Zenger Medal, created last year to salute philanthropy and social activism by graphics professionals in PIA’s membership region.

On September 10, the awards will formally be presented as follows:

• Power of Communications for Printing: James E. Hammer, president and CEO, Hammer Packaging

• Power of Communications for Advertising: Ken Lantz, senior vice president, director of print creative services, DRAFTFCB

• Power of Communications for Publishing: Tom Fox, vice president, manufacturing and technology, American Express Publishing (Time Inc.)

• John Peter Zenger Medal: Frederick K. Moss, vice president, Galvanic Printing & Plate Co., and president, Flexi Printing Plate Co.

Tim Freeman, president of PIA, commended the honorees to an audience that included Michael Makin, president and CEO of Printing Industries of America/Graphic Arts Technical Foundation (PIA/GATF). PIA is a regional affiliate of PIA/GATF, serving graphics businesses in New York State, northern New Jersey, and western Massachusetts.

When AGC, the erstwhile regional association, dissolved in 2006, it left hundreds of former members—mostly New York metro area printing firms—without a representative trade group of their own. Last year, PIA/GATF announced that members in its New York metro and northern New Jersey jurisdiction would be eligible for membership in its affiliate for upstate New York and northwestern Pennsylvania, the Printing and Imaging Association of New York State—renamed Printing Industries Alliance to reflect its new charter.

Freeman said that since the reorganization, PIA has added about 150 members including former AGC constituents and first-time joiners. PIA plans to expand services to metro area printers and will look for ways to develop programs that address their particular needs, he added.

Makin saluted PIA for salvaging and rebuilding what the demise of the former group left behind. “It was terrible to see the loss of AGC,” he told the attendees, “but from the ashes rises the phoenix.”

PIA hopes that all of the ashes will have turned to stardust by September 10, anticipating a record turnout for the 2008 Franklin Event. The program has the support of 22 corporate sponsors, and additional sponsorship opportunities are available. To register, sponsor, or receive additional information, contact PIA vice president Vicki Keenan at (908) 276-4482 or [email protected]