Printing Industries Alliance (PIA) and the Graphic Arts Association (GAA) have announced a consolidation that forms one of the nation’s largest regional trade associations for the printing industry. The combined organization will launch officially on January 1, 2023 as the Print & Graphic Communications Association (PGCA).
PIA represents printing companies and related businesses in New York State, northern New Jersey, and northwestern Pennsylvania. GAA’s region spans Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware. Combining the two bases gives PGCA 430 members in one of the world’s top markets for print and graphic services.
Several years in the making, the merger was approved this summer by the two groups’ boards of directors and finalized by a vote of the members in the fall. The decision, says the leadership, creates a rich set of complementary services that PGCA can make available to every member across the quad-state region it now serves.
“Taking two regional power players and putting them together will not only maximize internal efficiencies,” says Adam Avrick (Design Distributors), chairman of PIA’s board of directors. “It also leverages two very strong groups with differing strengths. Leveraging just a few of the attractive programs of each to cross-sell to the membership is a big plus for both sets of members.”
“What we're really looking at doing in very specific areas is telling a compelling story to the members,” comments GAA board chairman Jim Rosenthal (PDC Graphics). “These are things you need. These are the things we can do for you. It allows you to do what you do best. And that's to be a good printing company.”
For example, GAA members now can access PIA’s extensive range of services in insurance, employee benefits, and human resources management. PIA members can tap GAA’s expertise in environmental safety and health. Both groups already cooperate in GAA’s Neographics competition, the leading showcase for high-quality printed products in the Northeast.
PGCA’s headquarters will be located at PIA’s present office in Amherst, NY, a suburb of Buffalo. The group will be led by co-presidents Timothy Freeman, currently president of PIA, and Melissa Jones, president of GAA. Both say the response from their members to the idea of a merger was favorable from the start, given the trend toward consolidation that has been reshaping the industry as a whole.
“Everybody seems to feel it's a good idea,” says Jones. “They see it in the industry themselves, with their own companies. These are smart people. They understand what pressures we are up against, and they also know Tim and myself and our respective talents. So they were very pleased.”
The plan got “zero no votes” from the members of PIA, according to Freeman. “I think everyone just really felt that it made a lot of sense. They're all probably thinking about it in their own businesses, so it wasn't like a new concept for the industry.”
Jones says she expects the integration of the two groups to be “pretty seamless” because of the joint efforts they have made in the past. “The major things that we do are already in place,” Freeman concurs. “Now, we'll be picking the best of the best and going forward with that.”
PGCA’s debut as a combined organization will be the 2023 Franklin Event on Thursday, March 30, 2023 in New York City. It will feature the presentation of the 2023 Franklin Award for Distinguished Service – the highest honor bestowed upon an individual by the graphic communications industry – to Mariano Rivera, baseball great, community leader, and philanthropist. For further information, visit www.pialliance.org/Franklin-Event-2023/.