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Monday, March 4, 2013

WHAT'S PAST IS PROLOGUE ACCORDING TO SHAKESPEARE

I'm taking a detour from our trip down memory lane to thank the dozens of printing industry friends who have  contacted me with thanks for the journey to the past. The above headline, of course is from "The Tempest". Originally this blog was launched, because often we can predict our future by examining our past. I've collected many memories from my nearly 30 years in printing, so   initially I planned on  three posts a week .Last week I increased the frequency to five days, because I realized that if I didn't, at my age, I may not make it long enough to finish all of my stories.  After one post, a message from +Dr. Joe Webb+, who has obviously recorded every anecdote I have ever told him,  sent a message which included material intended for future blogs. I ordered him to cease and desist. He also noted, "yore speling is atroshis." But that kind of criticism from Joe doesn't bother me. He was a snot nosed kid when +Dick Gorelick+ and I taught him the ropes and led him by the hand to success. +Gary Dolgins+ commented on my amazing memory. My response..."if you can't  remember, make it up". I warned +Vicki Blake+, who said she missed me, that she would be mentioned in an episode at Zum Schiffchen, a Dusseldorf restaurant at DRUPA in 1986. She responded by writing, "You embellish that story every time you tell it." If it makes a story better, why not embellish it. More importantly, I have two eye witnesses to the episode, +Gary Dolgins+ and +Rick Mazur+. Last but not least, +Kevin Karlstedt+ asked, "Dick...am I in a time warp?" and sent me a list of phrases used on television shows in the 1980's and wrote "thanks for them memories".  With that said, fuel up your flux capacitor, climb into my DeLorean and let's travel back to 1983. It is more fun when you can predict the future.

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.