It's unusual for a magazine to take on its largest advertiser and go head to head in selling the same product, but by the sixth day of DRUPA, I decided that Graphic Arts Monthly would begin selling printing presses. It was a monumental decision, one that was made either because I was numb from the seven days in Dusseldorf or was not thinking straightly But twelve hours a day on your feet can wear you out. The press conferences had dwindled down to a precious few so I had the opportunity to wander areas not visited before. I was glad I did.
One ten-foot booth, infinitesimally small compared to the gigantic displays in the press area,featured one man selling presses. Actually they were model kits of Gutenberg's world famous press, estimated to have been developed in 1436. The completed model was made of wood about 8 inches high, with a movable platen There were about a dozen people watching the man construct the model with the precision of a Swiss watch maker. He narrated his movements in French, and when he had completed the construction, I asked in my barely passable French about the price. "Roughly $20 in American dollars," he answered. "Is there a quantity discount?, I inquired. At first he thought I was nuts when I said I wanted to order 2000. We negotiated for a few minutes and consummated a deal at $17 each. He was skeptical and said they would not be shipped until he had received a check In July we received our first shipment and Graphic Arts Monthly began running a quarter of a page ad every month offering the Gutenberg model kit. Over the next five years we sold more than 5000 to readers at $50 a pop. Eventually, I located a knockoff in Asia for $14 and used it as a premium to new subscribers when I launched Footprints. We may have sold as many presses as Heidelberg did during that period.
I wandered up the the NPES suite where the American exhibitors got together for lunch and relaxation. Regis Delmontagne and his wife Elena were hosting quite a spread. Regis came over and we began to chat. "I need a day off," he remarked. So did I. He knew I had a car and asked if we'd be interested in driving to Bruges Belgium. On Saturday, June 12th, we played hookey, piled into Hertz's yellow Mercedes and Regis, Elena, Carol and I made the nearly three hour drive through The Netherlands and into Belgium. Bruges, often called the Venice of the north, is the capitol of Flanders. Back in 1982 it was one of the most beautiful cities I had ever visited, colorful and quaint at the same time. After s leisurely day walking itS streets, a welcome relief from the noise and activity of running printing presses at the Messe, we began our journey back to Germany.
Somewhere in The Netherlands we decided to stop for dinner at what looked like a charming restaurant located on the North Sear. Regis and I went outside, watching a magnificent sunset and began to tell our life stories. Regis was from Pittsburgh, attended college in that city, and began working for the Tool and Die Association. Six years ago he had joined NPES, the vendors' association, which was looking for a president. He told me his biggest fear. "You never know when a member of the board will wake up and decide that you're not doing the job he or she expected. You could be gone the next day." He needn't have worried. Later that year, NAPL, PIA and NPES formed the Graphic Arts Show company, and Regis was named to head the new organization, making him the most powerful association executive in the printing industry. (More on GASC in future blogs, and if you have a GASC story email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
In our family June 6th is not D-Day, it's B-Day, and that year Carol was celebrathing her 45th birthday. Secretly I had stopped at the concierge desk to order a dozen roses (blumen) to be delivered to our room at 8:30 a.m. before we left for the exhibit. The card read, "Alles gute zum beburstag" (have a good birthday). Precisely at the prearranged time, there was a knock at the door. Carol answered the door, delighted that I had remembered. But, the day would not continue at that level. She was a trooper and knew we had to work that day. Our first stop was the Scitex pavillion, which could be entered through a special ramp through Hall 4, the prepress area. The Scitex display was especially built for this DRUPA.
As was my established ritual, we sat in the first row in front of a stage on which Efi Arazi, the Israeli company's CEO, would make his presentation. He had several terminals in front of him, with a large screen behind him showing closeups of his demonstration. Efi had an eye for good looking women and Carol was easy to look at. He spotted my wife and asked her to assist him in editing color on the terminals. At the time, she was a total illiterate when it came to computers. The screen had several images of Chris Evert, who had been the top ranked woman tennis player for seven of the past eight years. Efi directed Carol in changing her green dress into one of pink. Then he suggested that Chris, known for her powerful two hand backhand stroke, become a lefty, rather than using her natural right handed stroke, Carol pushed each key as she was instructed and the audience oohed and aahed at the equipment's spectacular capabilities. When he escorted her off the stage, she was like a love struck teenager. All she could talk about was this attractive Israeli. I lied and I told her I had arranged for her to be selected. Welcome to show business.
Efi was a brilliant guy and we set up an interview in our offices later that month. That ordeal will be covered in a future blog. We we moved to several other press briefings with Carol on my tail, and discovered that Agfa Gaevert was hosting an affair at a beer house in Old Town. We took a break from the end-to-end press conferences to get a breath of fresh air, and a bratwurst and beer at one of the hundreds of food stands scattered throughout the fairgrounds. "Covering DRUPA is hard work!," Carol shouted over the crowd noise.
Our staff all came together in late afternoon. It was extremely warm and beads of perspiration showed on our foreheads. Since Ron Andriani and Roger and Judy Ynostroza were staying in Cologne, there was no time to commute back and forth, so we invited them back to the Parkhotel to clean up. We asked each other, "Do you really think we have to change?" Remembering the formal dress at the opera, I nodded in the affirmative. But it was consensus that we were only going to a casual beer hall. What's more we were running late. We drove to the hotel and as we arrived, we spotted Bob Coppenrath and his wife exiting the hotel. He was the head honcho at Agfa. He was dressed in a light blue suit and orange shirt (the Agfa colors), and his wife, fashionably dressed, hair freshly coiffed, and looked like she had come from the pages of Vogue Magazine. We looked at each other and unanimously agreed, we had to change our clothes.
Remember it was very warm. The five of us went to our room to clean up, and opened the window. Across the alley, less that six feet away, was another open window. Preparing for the evening's opera, the cast were in various stages of undress, putting on costumes and exercising their vocal cords. Ron shouted out, "They're half naked," and the cast laughed. They could hear every word we said. We walked to the beer hall, and arrived about an hour late. The temperature in the venue was well over 100 degrees, and when we entered we saw Bob Coppenrath sweating profusely, even though he had discarded his suit jacket, tie and shirt. He was now standing in an Agfa orange tee shirt. His wife's hair, exquisitely coiffed when we saw her earlier, was now hanging limply on her shoulders. Carol looked at me with daggers in her eyes. "This is the way we're celebrating my birthday," she said sarcastically. The next day I sent her shopping with the wives of the executives of American exhibitors. And she never stepped foot on the DRUPA messe again.
Nine months before DRUPA would open its doors, the organizers' New York representatives visited our offices to discuss promotional plans for the big event. I could see they had finely honed marketing efforts and treated the press like royalty But none of us at GAM planning to attend realized just how well treated we would be. The massive exhibitor told us the would be running page spreads beginning in January and running through April to promote attendance in the USA. Several months later, I contacted them to report the sale to Heidelberg, which would support a 13th issue in August covering the exhibit. And they became more helpful. They made a reservation for me at The Steigenberger Parkhotel (The Park, for short) in Dusseldorf. I noted that we had others attending and they explained that hotel room reservations were made years in advance. All of us were DRUPA rookies and didn't realized how difficult it would be to secure hotel rooms. So Roger Ynostroza, planning to bring his wife, Judy, and Ron Andriani, traveling solo, were forced to reserve rooms in Koln (Cologne) a 45 minute train ride to and from Dusseldorf, the site of the Messe (fairgrounds). About a month before we were to depart, we received packages with our press credentials and a DRUPA catalog, a pocket sized book, at least two inches thick, sporting a bright red cover.
The Lufthansa flight was uneventful and we arrived in a jet lagged condition in early June. I rented a yellow Mercedes from Hertz, and Carol and I drove to the hotel without incident. It was unusually warm in Europe that summer, and as we entered the hotel's circular driveway, Carol uttered an "oh-oh". "What the matter?" I asked. She had noticed that all of the windows in the Park were open. "It doesn't look like the place is air-conditioned," she observed. She had hit the nail on the head. The hotel itself was a four-star facility, but after we checked in, we found only a fan on the ceiling of our spacious room. We decided to take a stroll through the nearby park, before taking the required nap to adjust the the new time zone. That evening there was a special event for dignitaries and the press was included. The affair was held at the opera house next door to our hotel. How convenient was that? A cocktail party preceded a performance of Die Fledermaus. We were surprised at how many of the invitees were dressed in formal attire. We weren't surprised by the number of Americans sitting near us who had dozed off because of jet lag. Actually, at one point, we quietly laughed, as we spotted more and more familiar faces with eyes closed.
The next day we drove to the fairgrounds to meet our crew at the information building where most of the press conferences would be held. We parked our rental in one of the immense parking lots and took a shuttle bus, a drive of about 15 minutes, to the fairgrounds. I had carefully written down the aisle number in an notebook. (Remember C16.) The flags and banners waved in the very warm summer breeze that welcomed us to the Messe. It was much like approaching a World's Fair, with small bands entertaining visitors at every entrance. I felt like I was reliving my visits to the New York Fair in 1964 and the one in Osaka, Japan in 1970. When we arrived at the press building, several of the DRUPA staff greeted us. When I told them of our long trip to and from the parking lot, they advised me there was a special parking area for press adjacent to Building One, Heidelberg's hall. I was given a pass, which later that day, I realized was so very valuable.
We picked up our press conference schedule and found only a couple of smaller companies would be holding briefings the first day. The big one was the Heidelberg affair, held in their exhibit space after the show ended the first day. The building was packed and I realized what an international entity it was. It also demonstrated the scope of the printing industry 30 years ago. Britain had six publications, Germany, five, France, three, and even the Scandinavian countries each had a magazine serving the printing markets. India, China and Japan were also represented and the languages being spoken throughout the briefings made for a cacophony of sound similar to a angry traffic jam. Most of the briefings were in English, which took the pressure of translation out of the mix and we were able to take notes that would made sense when we wrote our stories..
Following the final press meeting that day, Roger, Judy, Ron, Carol and I headed for my parking spot. Since there was not a social event scheduled for Day One, we were going to the Old Town section of Dusseldorf for dinner and a couple of beers. On the shuttle, I learned there were three parking lots, not just one. I knew I was parked in aisle C16, but in which parking area? That's when I discovered that Hertz rentals were all yellow Mercedes. Looking for the car was like looking for a needle in a haystack. At one point we spotted +Chester Carlson+, president of Carlson, Inc., a firm that manufactured measuring devices in Minnesota. He, too, was unable to find his car. It took us an hour, but working in teams, we finally found our transportation home. Exhausted from a very long day, I made a wrong turn somewhere. "I think we're lost," I said out loud, as I honked, rolled down my window, and asked in my broken German, "How do I get to the Steigenberger Parkhotel?" The couple answered in German, and I nodded my head in hearing links (left) and recht (right). "Ja,Ja,Ja, " I responded.
I rolled up the window shutting out the blast of heat that had entered the car. I could hear all of my passengers laughing loudly. Ron commented, "Like you really understood them." Except for Carol, the three in the back seat didn't know that I had picked up some German on previous trips when I was publishing Paper Trade Journal They also had no idea that I had acquired a set of Berlitz tapes, which replaced music on my drives to and from my home to my office. "Don't worry, we'll be at the hotel in 15 minutes," I defiantly stated. And once again they laughed hysterically. Fifteen minutes later, as we drove into the Steigenberger Parkhotel driveway, I notice looks of dismay had replaced the laughter. In unison, they asked rhetorically, "You speak German?"
We finally have holiday! It's Purim here in Israel.
Two days of smiles, happy music, many colors, costumes, sparkling makeup and parties! And to make my day even better, my parents went to the dead sea for this two days. Which means- Slumber party (: Have a happy Sunday With all my love ♥
Here it is, I've finally had chance to write part 2 after a few busy days in work.
After the previous nights success on the congers and with weather meaning a huss session was out of the question, Lee and Scott suddenly had a change of heart and decided that they too would like a bit of rod-bending eel action the following night. But we still had a whole day to fish before that could happen.
Our first port of call on day 3 was to fish a local lake for the Pike. I know Lee in particular had been looking forward to this, but unfortunately it was extremely disappointing with not a single fish landed between the 3 of us for our few hours of effort. So approaching midday we sacked off the piking once again and I asked the guys what they fancied doing. With no definitive answer coming back, I gave them a few options, to which another day on the LRF at the power station was decided favourite.
We would only have a few hours to fish before the tide had dropped to a level where fishing was not possible, but once again we were pulling out the fish one after the other. Both Lee and Scott were still desperate for a tompot blennie and Scott finally got his prize after switching tactics to a small chunk of rag, Lee however had to settle for the dozens of corkwing wrasse and shannies that plague the mark. I was having no such problems with the tompots and landed at least half a dozen of them over the course of the session, most of which were taken drop-shotting white power isome. I just can't get enough of these fish, how anyone can find catching mini's boring is beyond my explanation. Oh well, there will always be haters I guess :)
That evening, as promised, I took the lads to my favourite conger mark but it wasn't to be unfortunately. We did have one good run on my right-hand rod which I let Lee strike into, but after a short tug of war, the hook pulled free and the eel was gone. A little disappointing after such a good session the night before. Will leave this mark a good month now before I head back to hopefully tame a leviathan.
The last full day of the trip was in my eyes a little bit of a disaster. Having looked at the swell forecast for the end of the Lleyn, I had suggested that it would be a bit rough and that staying local would be a better idea. Lee and Scott had other plans though and were determined to head down to Uwchmynedd, a good hour and a half drive away from Bangor to do some deep water fishing for Pollack and wrasse. Anyway, in the end I just drove down there for Lee and Scott to see what it was like and to see the beauty of the landscape in the area. As expected, the swell height made it almost unfishable which put me in a bad mood, after all I'd just had to drive 60 miles to prove that the forecast I'd seen was correct. Whilst there though, there was no point turning round and going back, so we decided to head to a little cove where the swell was just about manageable. Still annoyed, I spent the first hour and a half watching the others from the top of the rocks. Eventually though after seeing Scott land the first Pollack of the session, I decided to join them and have a fish. It wasn't long before I was into my first of 4 small Pollack on the 3" white delta eels and Lee managed to avoid the blank with a Pollack of his own soon after. Shortly after it was time to shoot to Ty Croes for the evening, where I'd hoped to get Lee and Scott a few rays.
The tides were far from ideal for ray fishing, but as Lee had never had a ray of any kind and Scott had only had the one thorny, it was worth a shot. As we arrived in the carpark, our evening got a little worse, it wasn't packed but we'd just seen a bloke head off with his rods down the path. I knew full well where he'd be fishing, but I had to check just incase, sure enough though my preferred ledge was once again taken. Opting to fish way to the left instead, our chances of a decent haul of rays were greatly reduced, but we were on a spot where I'd had a good number of huss in the past so it wasn't all bad. As it planned out, we did get a couple of fish, a 5.5lb thorny for myself and a doggie for Scott, which he was happy with. With those fish came the end of our last evening session together, at least we had caught what we had gone for. I'm sure next time, they will both get a few rays themselves.
The decision on where to fish for the last day was simple really, the lads just wanted to end the trip on a high and catch plenty of fish, so for the final time we'd go after the mini's. Again we hammered out corkwings and common blennies and once again to Lee's disgust, I held my own with the tompots, bagging another half dozen or so whilst the others were left bewildered as to how I was doing it lol. The one highlight for me on the final day was my first lure caught mullet of 2013, a small but very welcome thick lip which took a liking to my white isome.
After 4 long days of fishing, the time had come to say our farewells, or at least we thought it had, half way back to Bangor, Scott realised he'd misplaced his phone. Positive he'd left it on the roof of the car before we'd set off, he had to make a tough decision : leave it and get his train home or go and have a look for it and miss his train. In the end he decided it was worth having a look for but after a thorough search it was nowhere to be seen. What a downer! So in the end it was just Lee we waved goodbye to that night and Scott kipped in my spare room having booked the next train northbound at 5am the following morning.
Wanting to make the most of my time off, I headed out again that evening for a spot of bass fishing whilst Scott decided to stay in and get some sleep. It was not a hugely productive session but I did manage to get my target with this bass of 45cm and roughly 2lb in weight, better than a kick in the teeth.
By the time i'd woken up for work the following morning, Scott had left so it was back to the day job for the foreseeable future.
It was great to see the guys once again and all things considered, I think we did a fairly good job. I was happy at managing to put them onto a few fish and I'm sure they enjoyed it. I don't think many people can say they've caught 14 species over a long weekend in winter, so we did a good job :)
At our year end Christmas party for the publishers, hosted by Technical Publishing's president, +Jack Abely+ made an interesting announcement. We were moving our offices. The luncheon, held each year in a private banquet room at the 21 Club,was around the corner from our current offices at 666 Fifth Avenue in New York City. Our lease at that prestigious address was expiring, and we were moving to a new building, under construction It would be located on Third Avenue between 52nd and 53rd streets. (The Lipstick Building, made famous by Bernie Madoff, was constructed next door four years later.) Jack asked us to appoint someone on our staff to supervise each magazine's move. Of course, I named Diane Ruggeri, who had helped me orchestrate two office moves while we were at Vance Publishing. The move to the East Side was scheduled for the middle of June in 1982, about the time. DRUPA was ending. I was overjoyed that I would not be there for the transition. In another piece of information, Jack said Dun & Bradstreet had given its blessing on the purchase of a new text editing system from AKI, one of GAM's advertisers. The purchase price was originally $750,000. Before the deal was done AKI was acquired by ATEX, which raised the cost to $1.5 million. ATEX was later sold to Eastman Kodak, which became know for bad acquisitions. The rest of the story, as Paul Harvey would have said, will come in a later post.
In January Carol and I traveled to Puerto Rico for the PIA Presidents Conference at the Cerromar Beach Hotel where I began to solicit entries for our Marketing Excellence venture with the association. Then it was on to The Bay Hill Golf Club in Orlando, Florida for the company's annual publishers' meeting. Actually there was more golf, drinking and gambling, than meetings, but it gave us a chance to exchange experiences with our peers. I took our president for $300 playing backgammon, which might not have been such a good move. However, in one of jousts, he asked if I would take a look at P&Ls and general ledgers of a couple of magazines that were struggling. The punch line is predictable. The next year, in addition to GAM, I had responsibility for Fire Engineering, and one that taught me greater respect for firefighters.
Returning to the office, we met to discuss our editorial coverage of DURPA. Editor Bert Chapman had agreed to retire following the exhibit, and +Roger Ynostroza+ was the heir apparent. Realizing that the industry was on the doorstep of a technological revolution, it was evident that we needed someone who had an understanding of the digital world.+Earl Wilken+, who was then working for Editor & Publisher, a magazine covering the newspaper industry, was the perfect candidate. He had previously been an editor of Datamation, our largest publication, and was familiar with computer speak. Several vendors were organizing junkets and both Bert and Earl were invited to join the Agfa Gevaert party. Roger and I would also be attending. As we brainstormed, I threw out an idea. What if we published an extra issue in August, limiting the number of advertisers.
I called +Ron Andriani+ into the meeting. Ron was our number one salesman with the largest accounts, including Kodak and Heidelberg USA. One of best salespeople I had ever worked with, he was creative, personable and a bit of a con man. I was never sure which of his stories I could believe. Ron heard the proposal and suggested we sell the entire project one company, Heidelberg. We priced the extra issue at a gross rate of $160,000. Heidelberg's ad agency, +Alan Seide Inc,+ would earn a $24,000 commission on the placement,. It would bring more than $60,000 to the bottom line as a 36 page issue, including covers. Heidelberg would be buying eight pages of ads, plus another three articles on signature customers. In addition we would provide full coverage of DRUPA and include two pages of interviews with American printing executives. Roger and I were given that assignment, which not as easy as it sounded..
Ron and I drove to Queens, New York to make our presentation to ad manager +Joe McCall+, Alan Seide and +Lester Reiss+, marketing VP. Ron's father had been a sales person for Heidelberg and had close connections to the company. The plant was located in a rather seedy neighborhood, adjacent to a printing company that produced porno material. I remember Ron going through the trash, looking for discarded press sheets that may have had flaws. It took a second meeting, and then a final one at a German restaurant in the neighborhood. There were ten people at the lunch. I sat next to +Hans Peetz-Larsen+, the president, who had to make the final decision.One piece of the package deal was 10,000 additional copies that the Heidelberg sales force could deliver as a promotional leave behind after sales calls. As the coffee was served, Hans turned to me and said, "Make it 15,000 supplements and we have a deal." "Done", I quickly answered. We shook hands and the deal was finalized. As we got into Ron's car, we gave each other "high fives", and I told him to pack his bags because he would be joining us in making the trip to Dusseldorf. (Next week's posts will recount the many stories we collected during the 14 day marathon exhibit. And if readers, who were there, have stories of your own that you'd like to share, email me at email@example.com.
During my 20 year stint with Vance Publishing, I hired several dozen people to work in the New York office and had an amazing track record. On the editorial side, several became editors-in-chief. A number of sales people became publishers, and one, Mike Ross, who I trained, promoted, and relocated to Chicago, eventually became president of that firm. He's now retired to Arizona, but we still stay in touch. With experience, interviewing can become an interesting process on either side of the desk. Prior to starting at GAM, I logged more than 20 interviews, but, perhaps, the person interviewing me, felt like the job candidates. I asked more questions than he did, and they were, often unanswered.
Graphic Arts Monthly's growth rate in 1980 and 1981 was the highest in the company, and I was soon Technical's President Jack Abely "golden boy". Whatever I asked for, I got. When I came to him with a list of new titles I wanted to hire, marketing director, art director and production manager, positions normally in the company's centralized departments, he gave me the go-ahead. During that period, I made two of the best hires of my life. In April, 1981 Jack called me to say that we were folding one of our smaller engineering magazines. "I'd like you to interview an assistant editor. I kind of like her," he said. Beth Hogan arrived in my office 15 minutes later. I could see by her body language, she didn't care one way or another whether I offered her a job. I inquired about her background and found she was studying for her master's degree. She seemed very bright, and began to open up with her personal story. I told her I'd give her a shot, because something about her intrigued me. Within a week, I called her into my office., "I've got good news and bad news," I advised her, adding. "Which do you want first?" "The bad news," Beth answered. "You are the worst assistant I've ever had and your're fired.." I paused for a minute, hoping she would not begin to cry. "The good news is I'm promoting you to marketing manager and we're giving you a raise." Now the tears did come, as she jumped up and gave me a big hug.
The second interview came a couple of months later. Jeff Deaver, one of our editors, had decided to go back to school, and we needed a replacement. The first candidate to enter my office was a prematurely grey guy who looked older than he was. He was personable, well-spoken and played a mean trombone, or so he told me. It was one fastest connections I had ever made with a job applicant. After 15 minutes, I asked when he could start. "Immediately," he responded. His name was Peter Johnston, and until I met Katherine O'Brien from American Printer, Peter was the only editor I would allow to edit my copy. He was unbelievably reliable, and had a good sense of humor. Eventually, Peter did all of our screening on prospective editors and worked closely with me on editorial budgets. To top it all off, Peter was fluent in German, and handy to have at DRUPA. Within a year he was promoted to managing editor. Years later he would tell me that working at GAM while I was there was the best experience of his business life. And I felt the same way about him. He was the best managing editor with whom I have ever worked.
With Peter's help we hired Barbara Garner, Joann Strashun, Debby Toth Lisa Cross, and Donna Bates to round out our editorial staff. And lest I forget, Peter played a major role in recruiting Leslie Gignilliat, our art director who significantly spruced up the covers and inside designs of the magazine. Graphic Arts Monthly was truly the most handsome magazine in the printing industry.
On another front, I contacted Jim Wilkens, an ex-Kodak employee, who had joined Printing Industry of America as a liaison with industry magazines. Jim would always answer his phone with the following phrase. "This is Jim and I'm on fire for print." I explained that I wanted to schedule an appointment with Dick Gorelick, now a contributing editor covering marketing. We met and established the PIA/Graphic Arts Monthly Marketing Excellence competition. We needed some capital to properly promote the program and I convinced Harris Corp. to contribute funds for the effort. GAM ran three two page spreads advertising the competition which would be decided after DRUPA in June of 1982. There were three categories, based on number of employees, small (under 50 employees), medium (up to 250) and large. It was the start of something that would grow significantly over the next five years.
In September I headed to Birmingham, England for IPEX. On the recommendation of the organizers I stayed in London, which was not a problem during the week. The train ride was only 45 minutes, but on the weekend, all trains were locals and the ride was up to three hours. Our booth was small and sported an enlarged copy of the September issue cover. I had about a 1000 copies shipped and sparingly displayed them. They were gone in two days. Walking the exhibit halls meant I had to leave the booth to visit with exhibitors. A sign read, "Leave your business card." On my return there dozens spread around the booth. I also met Rob Schweiger, who published Quick Printing Magazine, aimed at smaller shops. He also published a directory. I did a pro forma and showed him how he was just breaking even considering all of the effort needed to produce it. He declined but the next year sold it to Printing Impression. I guess they made him an offer he couldn't refuse. (Friday's blog will cover pre-DRUPA plans and the sale of a very creative idea.)
Having planned for a 4-day fishing marathon about a month ago, myself and mates Lee Goddard and Scott Hutchison were all eagerly anticipating a nice relaxing break from work and some long hours on the rocks species hunting. Our chosen venue was Anglesey, which being my local area was ideal and would give me the chance to show off what North Wales has to offer in what most people refer to as the worst month of the year for fishing.
Scott was first to arrive late Thursday night but no fishing was done, instead a few pints, a takeaway and the Inbetweeners movie was looking the best option. Friday morning came round though and the first port of call was a trip pike fishing. Terry had reported to us that he'd had a number of fish that morning at the mark we were going so expectations were high, but on arrival conditions seemed against us with bright sunshine and only around 6" visibility in the water. Perhaps we should have been up earlier as we had definitely missed the best of the fishing, the only action being a small pike I'd hooked on a yellow kopyto which threw the hook at my feet, can't say I was majorly bothered :)
You have to love tompot blennies, such a cool fish!
We sacked the piking off around midday and headed to the power station for a spot of LRF. Due to the constant flow of warm water, the mini-species tend to hang around all year at this mark, so it's a good banker spot when fishing elsewhere is a struggle. When down at the preferred spot, I first chucked in a few ladles full of chum hoping to see some mullet show up. Sure enough, they did and before long I'd hooked and landed one of the thick lip variety freelining a small piece of breadflake on a size 12 hook. Though that turned out to be the only mullet of the day, we were both kept more than busy by the masses of Corkwing Wrasse and Shannies down below and I managed to winkle out a few tompots as well, a good way of spending a few hours :)
Scott gets 1st new species of the trip
That evening our third member arrived and was keen to get straight into some rod bending action. As neither of them had ever caught a rockling of any form, I decided to take them to a spot on the North Coast where I've had a good number of 3-beard and shore rockling, all be it usually whilst I've been fishing for eels. The tide was not ideal with what I considered to be the prime time falling at around midnight, but as they were so keen to wet a line we got there a good few hours before hand on the off chance of catching our target. I first showed Scott and Lee the most productive spots and then went a bit further down the rocks myself to see if I could tempt an eel. As it played out the first few hours were very slow with Scott managing to land the only fish, a small codling. As the prime time got nearer, the bites started coming, myself and Lee both losing Congers in quick succession and all of us missing a few rattly bites which I believed to be lobsters. Just before midnight though, Scott hit the jackpot and got his first ever rockling, a nicely patterned shore rockling. That would be it for the night, not a hectic session but we'd got what we came for so job done!
The next day I was back in work so I had to leave the guys to it for the majority of the day. When they visited me in Menai though they had nothing fishy to report, but they had caught plenty of crabs and had found that enjoyable, each to their own I guess lol. When I was finally free to go at 6, I'd had enough time to check the tides and was set on a trip conger fishing at my favourite conger mark on the island. For one reason or another though, the lads were determined to get out with the LRF gear. I did my best to convince them otherwise and pointed out that it was low water, at night in February but that just seemed to spur them on more to prove me wrong. So in the end, I dragged my mate Steve out with me, who is yet to catch an eel and I dropped Scott and Lee at Amlwch breakwater, which would be there best chance of a few fish........... they wisely took some mackerel fillets with them! Fishing was not to bad for them, Scott turning to the bait and landing a good variety of fish including whiting, poor cod, codling and another shore rockling whilst Lee stuck it out with the lures for the majority, managing a lonely poor cod for his efforts before also switching to bait and landing a few whiting as well as a codling himself.
In the meantime, myself and Steve headed over to my mark, nicely sheltered from the wind and almost spot on tide wise, I was very confident of a few eels. I was right to be confident as well, for at the end of the night, I had landed a brace of eels, one of which already had a trace down its throat and a scorpion fish, also dropping a third eel, whilst Steve had dropped what was surely his first Conger ever and landed a cursed doggie. Not a bad night all round!
So with two days down, we'd notched up a total of 10 species but there was more to come! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for part 2, Tight Lines All, Ross
Wanted to share something that just crossed my mind (: Many friends of mine are reading my blog, and it's makes it very difficult for me to expose my feelings here. But then I think... I opened this blog in order to help me escape from the bad days, to share my thoughts, share my pics, my happiness... and my loneliness.
So in case you haven't notice, I do share all of that. And for the ones who do know me, you just need to read between the lines ;)
The formula for success in publishing is rather simple. Find a magazine in an industry on the verge of a technological revolution in a business you love (that involves a great deal of luck), and convince a company to hire you. Build and create a staff that evolves into a family, produce the best damn product possible, market it to both readers and advertisers and show that you're passionate about making them successful. One more thing, spend time in the field, meeting your customers and your readers. In 1980 and 1981, the U.S. economy was in a recession with inflation high and other economic indicators flat, leading to what was called "stagflation". In both of those years Graphic Arts Monthly sales and profits grew more than 12% each year. GAM was only one of three magazines of Technical Publishing's 25 to demonstrate growth in that period. The other two were Datamation, read by MIS and EDP executives, and Industrial Research & Development. I had deep respect for their publishers, Jim Morris and Tim Burkholder.
Because I was the only publisher in the company who had started his career as an editor (the others had come from the sales side), I initiated a column, Publisher's Perspective. Not one to mince words, I told it like it was. GAM did two readership studies that year, and the first in May indicated that my column was the best read page in the magazine. As a result , I began to get invitations to speak to a number of local Printing Industry of America local affiliates, as well as craftsmen and litho clubs. There was no fee for my appearances because I combined them with sales calls. Besides, it was a great way of promoting GAM, and at the same time, meeting industry executives. My only request was a guaranteed audience of at least 100.
Two of those talks stand out in my memory. Jim Tepper of Printing Industry of New England (PINE) invited me to Boston to speak at the group's monthly meeting. I was the after dinner attraction and was surprised to find more than 250 printing people on hand. I was even more impressed when I sat at the dais and found that the speaker scheduled for the next meeting was famed Boston Celtic coach Red Auerbach. In front of each attendee was a flyer with a picture of Red smoking a cigar, which he usually lit when a victory was in hand.. In my mind I thought about the only things we had in common were that we were short, plump and Jewish. After I had finished my discussion on the state of the industry, I received a modest applause. One of the others on the dais handed me a cigar and I lit it. A member of the audience approached me with that flyer of next month's speaker. He asked, "Can I have your autograph?' I laughed. He thought I was Red Auerbach.
Another invitation came from John Berthlesen, who headed Suttle Printing in Madison, Wisconsin. (Today the company, after a merger, is Suttle-Strauss.) I accepted since I had a trip scheduled to our Chicago office anyway. What I didn't expect was a massive snowstorm raging across the Midwest. Not to be deterred, I boarded a shuttle to Madison, hoping that meeting was not cancelled. The last time I had visited Madison was to cover the 1955 Ohio State-Wisconsin game, and the weather was clear. The flight was rough, and as we flew through the blizzard, the few passengers on the plane seemed to be as white-knuckled as I was. But we landed safely, and I looked out the window and stared at nearly two feet of snow on the ground. As we deplaned (I wore no boots), I spotted a group of three, including John, waiting at the bottom of the gangplank. They were a welcome sight. I gingerly stepped through the snow, aware that I was a couple of hoursf later than my scheduled arrival. My first words were, "Did you have to cancel?" John chuckles and said, "Are you kidding? This is Wisconsin." It took us another 30 minutes to drive to the meeting. I couldn't believe it. There were close to 300 printers anxiously waiting to hear what I had to say.
In November, 1980 My wife and I attended our first NPES meeting. It was at The Cloisters in Sea Island, Georgia, a great golf community at the time. The vendor's association was not what I expected. It had less than 40 members Most brought along wives. As an ice breaker at the opening cocktail party, President Regis Delmontagne, who had assumed the position in 1976,came up with a great gimmick. Each attendee was given a pack of nine trading cards. Each had nine pictures of a specific board member. The object was to inrrtoduce yourself to the other attendees and exchange cards to collect a full set of the nine members. There was a catch. Only one of the packs had ten cards. The tenth was the chairman of NPES. I think it was Bill McClintock of 3M. Among those in attendance were Jerry Reinitz and Sy Weinstein from Royal Zenith, Bill Sherman of Kodak, Wenell Smith and Harold Geggenheimer from Baldwin Technology Jerry Nathe,, then with LogE, Larry Warter of Fuji, Ed Lemanski with Rockwell, Lloyd Butler and Jack Pruitt of Harris Corp.'s printing press division, and Hans Peetz-Larsen who headed Heidelberg USA. Several companies sent older employees as kind of a "thank you for your service in the past" perk. Others sent top executives. (Within two years the attendance ballooned to over 150 after the formation of The Graphic Arts Show Company (GASC) in 1982, but that's a story for a future blog. If you remember or have anecdotes about any of the people at that first NPES annual meeting email firstname.lastname@example.org.