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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

DAY FOUR ENDS WITH A SNORING GERMAN AND LAUGHTER

GAM's outgoing editor Bert Chapman was held captive by the Agfa junket, but incoming technical editor Earl Wilken. who would join the magazine following DRUPA, managed to attend several press conferences. He'd ask the tough technical questions (not my forte) and I grilled executives on marketing and management issues. We worked in tandem. It was apparent which companies were headed in the right direction, and which were not. There were a number of prototypes and products in beta testing, and astute journalists could easily identify which companies would succeed. On Tuesday, the fourth day of the exhibit, several European editors noted that I was establishing a rapport with presidenst and  CEOs of  the exhibitors,and they asked if they could interview me for my assessment of the event. I declined, but took their business cards, so I could send them copies of our DRUPA extra, which would be published in Augues.

Roger Ynostroza and I decided we should begin to speak to American printers for that 13th issue. But finding them in the thousands of people who visited the Messe was virtually impossible. We were explaining that glitch to Bill Sherman, the top American at the Kodak display. "A number of U.S. printers congregate at our booth," he told us, adding , "Come back at noon, and I'll round up the usual suspects," He sounded much like Louie in the movie, "Casablanca". He was right.  There were a limited number of Americans  who visited DRUPA every four years, and we began to call them the usual suspects. We photographed and interviewed eight printing company presidents and ran that report as the center spread in our extra issue.

Komori hosted a cocktail party, and after having delivered at state of the industry to their customers who had attended PRINT '80, I was greeted with open arms by Mr. I. Komori.. The press manufacturer made a major announcement. Komori was acquiring its U.S. distributors and opening an office in Chicago. He introduced me to the man would direct the operation. He had a long Japanese last name, but his given name was Hidecki. I called him Hi for the two years he was in the states, but as with a number of Japanese companies, he was transferred to Europe and evnentually replaced with an American. What I found interesting was that his English wasn't very good. When I met his wife at the 1982 NPES annual meeting, I found she  spoke no English at all. I introduced him to other attendees at that conference, and when he moved, he sent me a very well written letter thanking me for all of the help I had given him during his time in America.

As I've mentioned before, it was one of the warmest Junes on record. The final press conference on day four was Crosfield's. I guess they wanted us sober for the presentation, so no drinks were served before hand. The room temperature was approaching 100 degrees. The dozen of journalists in attendance had removed their jackets and ties, and fanned themselves with the magazines the carried. After three previous Crosfield press conferences, I knew what to expect...a slide show of several customers, with the lead testimonial coming from AGT's Steve Server. The public relations manager, a guy named Bob Brown, spent another 20 minutes, rambling about something or other. We were all thirsty and looking at our wrist watches. About five minutes into his talk, a German journalist, who had dozed off, began  to snore. It was one of those snores that rumbled throughout the hot room. The audience began to quietly laugh, not wanting top wake him. As Brown ended his talk, he said, "Drinks are in back of the room, and I want to thank all of you for listening, especially those who stayed awake." He paused...and the dozing German, awakened by the silence, was the first to begin clapping at which time the entire room erupted with laughter. I was a moment that I will never forget. Crosfield repeated that same show for years, despite the fact that the press continually  yawned to show their boredom.