Michael Makin, president and CEO of Printing Industries of America, today sent the following special announcement to members of PIA: NAPL and Printing Industries of America, the two largest graphic arts trade associations in the country, are pleased to announce a formal plan to collaborate on a number of projects going forward. The leadership of the two organizations met earlier this month in Charlotte to explore where collaboration made sense for the benefit of their collective memberships. Both associations were represented by their respective Chief Executive Officers, as well as their current and immediate past Chairmen (Michael Makin, Bill Gibson, and Ken Kaufman for Printing Industries of America, and Joseph Truncale, Keith Kemp, and Steve Johnson for NAPL). We are pleased with the progress we made during these discussions," said Joseph P. Truncale, President and Chief Executive Officer of NAPL. "We were able to identify opportunities to bring greater value to our members and to the industry at large." In the current economic environment, it is critical that we explore how we can work together," added Michael Makin, President and CEO of Printing Industries of America. Two immediate projects were identified and agreed upon. 1.) Both associations have agreed to work with their Graphic Arts Show Company partner, NPES, to develop a spring management conference beginning in 2011. This industry-wide event will combine the Printing Industries of America President's Conference, NAPL Top Management Conference, and NPES Annual Spring Meeting into one comprehensive event that will bring together the best that each meeting has to offer. Oversight and management of the event will be shared among all three organizations through the GASC structure. Planning for this event will commence early in 2010 and benefit from the combined efforts of each association's professional staff and volunteer leadership. A conference steering committee will be formed to provide direction and oversight to the program planning and promotion. We are very excited to see this consolidation of events so that industry leaders no longer have to choose a top leadership program each year," said Makin. We believe this event will be a 'must-attend' for all industry executives," said Truncale. 2.) The organizations have agreed to collaborate on major issues facing the printing and graphic communications industry today, including the need to craft and communicate a positive message about print to media specifiers, educators, and legislative and regulatory bodies. While acknowledging the efforts currently being made in these areas, both organizations believe the added strength from the combined efforts of Printing Industries of America and NAPL can generate even greater results that will benefit all industry stakeholders. The organizations will meet again in early 2010 to monitor progress on these initiatives and assess continuing discussions. A comment in the form of a question to our readers: What other opportunities for collaboration do the two organizations have? In what areas should their activities remain separate?