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NPES Celebrates 70th Anniversary At Annual Conference

Press release from the issuing company

November 18, 2003 -- NPES The Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and Converting Technologies marked its 70th with special events at the organization’s Annual Conference October 25-27 at The Cloister, Sea Island, Georgia. The conference opened with a dinner honoring past chief executive officers. Those attending included William B. McCain, McCain Manufacturing Corporation (1983-1985); William E. Sherman, Eastman Kodak Company, (1985-1987); William S. Colehower, Jomac, Inc. (1987-1989); Kent Martin, Miller Printing Equipment Company (1989-1991); Gerald A. Nathe, Baldwin Technology Company (1997-1999), and Stanley E. Freimuth, Fuji Photo Film USA (1999-2001). The first copies of an NPES 70th anniversary commemorative book, "Today’s Wonder…Tomorrow’s Commonplace," were distributed. The book is a history of the 20th century technological revolution in printing, publishing and converting led by the Association’s member companies. Graphic panels using text and images from the book were on display at conference sessions. "The changes in the industry and our association are mind boggling, to put it mildly," President Regis J. Delmontagne told the conference. "From the 26 charter members to the more than 400 firms who belong to the association today, to the changes in the printing process, the printing market and the suppliers, it is a whole new world. A sea change would perhaps be the best way to describe the shift from what was then a heavy machinery craft-oriented industry, to digital printing, CIP-4, JDF, and so forth." "The fact that the association was always grounded in the belief that its main goal was to serve its members has stood the Association well during the past seven decades," he said. "As we look forward towards the future, we must look back on the past and thank those individuals who originally organized the association, as well as those individuals who kept it on the move and have spear-headed the growth of the association, and now it is up to us to maintain the momentum." Outgoing Chairman David R. Reny, Vice President and Managing Director of the Finishing Systems Division of Standard Finishing Systems noted that his term had covered challenging times for the Association and the Graphic Arts Show Company, but there were bright spots on the horizon, such as the fact that 80 new companies exhibited in the recent GRAPH EXPO and CONVERTING EXPO. Noting that illiteracy is a major problem directly impacting the printing, publishing and converting industry, Reny noted: "I am very heartened to hear that NPES will embark on a more aggressive basis a program to promote literacy throughout this country." Taylor Corporation Companies need the help and expertise from their equipment and supplies vendors in a partnership that provides more success for everyone, CEO Brad Schreier told the conference in a keynote address. "What will your equipment do for our end customer," he asked. "How will it add value?" Taylor Corporation, headquartered in Mankato, Minnesota, is a holding and development corporation consisting of 90 diverse and autonomous businesses in 17 states, three Canadian provinces, Europe, Australia and Mexico, with combined revenues of nearly $1.5 billion, total employment of more than 14,000 people and serving more than 9 million customers annually. Schreier explained that the company was founded in 1948 as a home-based wedding stationary company, purchased by Glen Taylor and others in 1974. Schreier began his career with Taylor Corporation in 1971 as a part time employee while attending Minnesota State University, Mankato and rose through several positions to become CEO in 2001. "What has made us great are entrepreneurial leaders and a passion for the customer," Schreier said. "It’s about people – employees, customers and vendors," he said, noting that the company seeks to develop reciprocal business agreements with both customers and vendors and constantly seeks to identify, develop and support great leaders among its companies. The company’s strategic goal, he said, is to sustain annual double-digit profitable sales growth. "I’m bullish on the economy," Dr. Sung Won Sohn told the conference. Back by popular demand following his well-received presentation at the 2002 conference, the executive vice president and chief economic officer of Wells Fargo Bank said he is particularly bullish about productivity gains and technology developments. He noted that consumer spending "is holding the economic ship afloat," adding that business is still cautious but is beginning to join forces with consumers in the recovery. Business spending is primarily on high technology, he said, noting the emergence of "killer apps" in communications such as WiFi and voice recognition systems. However, Dr. Sohn noted that the jobless recovery is a big problem, with 2.7 million jobs lost, 90 percent of them in manufacturing. And he added that the deficit is a potential problem, with government needs crowding out private borrowing, as will be the burden on government programs created by the retirement of the Baby Boom generation. Other potential risks to the recovery include a decline in the stock market and the geopolitical situation, especially North Korea. Turning to the international scene, Dr. Sohn predicted that "China will become an economic superpower." He said the United States "will never compete with China on cheap labor," noting that China also has skilled labor. While part of China’s success can be attributed to the weak dollar, he added that if China revalues, as it is being pressured to do by the Bush administration, "the beneficiaries will be other Asian companies, not the United States." He noted that the Japanese economy is "doing a little better," but has major problems with its banking system." He continued that "emerging Asia is the champion of economic growth," while Europe will see growth in 2004 but has major problems with high interest rates and rigid labor markets in some of the countries. Pointing out the historic conflict between military ambitions and economic resources, he noted that the U.S. democratic society acts as a restraint. In global competition, he said companies would become more competitive by adding value; "pay attention to the little things," he advised.