In 1982, NAPL president, +Bill Lamparter,+ resigned to form PrintCom, an industry consulting service. Because the association, then located in Teaneck, New Jersey, was only 15 minutes from my residence in Tenafly, I began to make regular visits to their offices. The building was adjacent to Feibel's Bowling Lanes, a popular hangout. I became friendly with +Gregg Van Wert+, who had joined the group in 1973 as director of communications. He had formerly been an editor at Walden-Mott Publishing, and we had much in common. In addition to membership fees, one major income source was NAPL's Top Management Conference. The confab was set for January, 1983 at a West Coast resort and Gregg convinced me to attend. It would be the site of the announcement of Lamparter's replacement. I assumed it would be Gregg, but it was not. +Chuck Allesandrini+, the head of finance, got the, nod and Gregg was named executive vice president. Chuck would retire ten years later to enter the restaurant business, and Gregg would be named president in 1992, retiring ten years later to form The Haven Group, also a consulting firm. He was succeeded by +Dr. Joe Truncale+ who would join the association in 1984. (More on Joe in future posts.)
I was so enamored by that Top Management meeting that I never missed another. NAPL members were like a family, mid-sized to larger printing company executives who had an much to discuss. It reminded me of my fraternity days, sitting with peers and telling war stories. In 1982 I was invited to my first Soderstrom Society dinner held each year during Graph Expo. (Walter E. Soderstrom had founded the association in 1933.) Hosts of the evening's festivities would place medals around the necks of new inductees, and then kissed the newbies on each cheek, bring blushes to the honorees and laughter from the audience. When women were inducted, the laughter ceased. There was something very personable about that ceremony, and I began to embrace the philosophy of the closeness of the NAPL membership
Arriving back in my office, I had a phone call from PIA's president +Rod Borum+, inviting me to attend COMPRINT, an international conference for printers, co-sponsored by PIA and several European associations.. It was scheduled for April in Venice, Italy. I was to be PIA's guest and Rod suggested I bring my wife. A day later +Dennis Nick+, who I had met the previous fall in Paris, called from Capetown to set up a dinner date with our wives. That story in tomorrow's post.