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  • 01 Feb 2018

TLMI hosts printTHINK Summit and annual meeting

TLMI is coming off a busy period that included a trip to Belgium for Labelexpo Europe 2017, which was attended by senior leadership and a few members.

Before the trade show there was the North American association’s inaugural printTHINK Summit, formerly known as the technical conference, and after Labelexpo was its annual meeting, TLMI’s largest yearly gathering. 

All this activity was done with a new leader. Dan Muenzer has hit the ground running as the association’s newest president, as of May 2017. 

printTHINK Summit 
It was the first year for TLMI’s rebranded technical conference, now called printTHINK Summit. Though the name was different, the event still provided North American label converters with top-notch educational content, networking opportunities and chance to see the latest from industry suppliers. The biennial event was hosted September 5-7 in Rosemont, Illinois, near the venue for Labelexpo Americas. 

Participants had their choice of three educational tracks covering five topic areas over the three-day event. Topics included future of operations, color management, inkjet, workflow and UV vs LED. Members took a deep dive in these topics with sessions in hybrid presses, low migration, attracting a skilled workforce, e-commerce and more. 

The keynote speaker was Dr Kaihan Krippendorff, a business strategy speaker and author of ‘Outthink the Competition,’ a mantra he explained to the audience. 

Outthinking means innovating, and to innovate, Krippendorff said, ‘look for an idea that all business experts say won’t work’ and ‘think about where the next battle ground will be.’ 

Annual meeting 
The highlight of the annual meeting was the 40th annual awards gala, which honored not only the exemplary work of label and packaging converters in North America (see boxout), but two industry veterans who have shaped the tag and label industry for the better. 

Nick Van Alstine, president of Macaran Printed Products, was named converter of the year, and Nilpeter’s Paul Teachout was named supplier of the year. When accepting the award, Van Alstine said: ‘It’s a great honor and I’m proud and excited to be recognized by my peers. I can honestly say that joining TLMI has been the most rewarding experience, for me personally and for my company. The ability to learn from the best and brightest in our industry in such an open and friendly environment has helped Macaran become a better company and me a better business person.’

Teachout, who is the vice president of sales and marketing at Nilpeter North America, said: ‘It was a great honor and privilege to be recognized by the TLMI for this award. I have had such a great opportunity over the years to work with so many wonderful converter and supplier members, they have all played a part in my career. The TLMI has had a major influence in my direction and I cannot thank the entire association enough for the opportunities they have provided.’ 

Muenzer congratulated this year’s winners: ‘Nick and Paul exemplify what it means to be part of the TLMI family. Year in, year out, they step to the plate in so many different ways to support their peers and advance the industry. I’m proud to work alongside them and to know that their efforts have been recognized with these prestigious awards.’ 

The awards capped off two days of networking and education tools under the theme ‘Strategies for Success’. 

‘We used the TLMI strategic plan as a guide and developed content and programming around the pillars of the 2016 document,’ said Patrick Potter, president of FlexoWash, 2017 annual meeting chair, and the latest inductee into the TLMI board of directors. 

Potter was installed at the conference along with other new board members, John Attayek, CEO of Inovar Packaging Group, and James Hammer, president and CEO of Hammer Packaging. Mark Glendenning, CEO of Inland, will extend his term through 2020. 

Welcoming the new members of the board, TLMI chairman Craig Moreland said: ‘I am delighted to welcome these experienced industry professionals to the TLMI board of directors. We are in the middle of launching several new strategic initiatives and John, Jim, Mark and Patrick will provide valuable insight and a fresh perspective to these efforts. TLMI has a strong and very engaged board, and I am certain their collective knowledge and unique perspectives will be beneficial to all of our members and the industry as a whole.’ 

The annual meeting was held October 8-10 at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch in Scottsdale, Arizona. Before the awards gala, events included a keynote speech from Mike Abrashoff, who took command of the worst-performing Navy ship in the Pacific fleet and within 12 months turned it into the top boat. 

When implementing changes aboard the ship, Abrashoff banned his sailors from objecting to change by saying ‘that’s the way we’ve always done it.’ It was a military lesson, but one that the businessmen and women could take away. Improvement, Abrashoff said, doesn’t come from maintaining status quo. 

‘If we continue to do things the way we’ve always done it, we’re going to become irrelevant,’ he said. ‘Our challenge is to envision the future and then drive our ships to meet those challenges.’ 

Generational expert Kim Lear had the audience laughing with her take on cultural shift and differences between generations from baby boomers, to Gen X, to millennials and now Gen Z. Baby boomers prioritize hard work, Gen Xers prioritize work/life balance. ‘And millennials say: “I’ve got yoga at noon and can I bring my dog to work”,’ Lear said, laughing. 

Practically speaking, though, there are more than 82 million millennials, so attracting them to one’s business is a matter of understanding them – like it or not. At the same time, it’s important not to alienate the older workers, she said. ‘We need our more senior workforce to be engaged because we need them to mentor the younger generation.’ 

Other speakers included packaging consultant Ron Sasine of Hudson Windsor and George Blomgren of The Good Jobs. There also was an environmental pane featuring Jerry Powell of Resource Recycling, Kyla Fisher of Ameripen and Paul Gardner of WasteZero. 

The keynote speeches were followed by TLMI committee meetings to discuss business. TLMI committees include environmental, government, workforce development, marketing, membership and technical committees.


Chelsea McDougall is North America editor for Labels & Labeling.

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