An Industry Convergence: SGIA Expo 2011

New Orleans plays host to the industry’s latest innovative ideas, education, and market developments.

With its assortment of educational seminars, array of strategic networking opportunities, and expanded roster of sales-free Expert Zones on the show floor, SGIA Expo is marketing its 2011 event as “a convergence of innovative ideas, education, and market development.”

Last year’s Vegas-based Expo set an association record for total registrants, and the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association is expecting this year’s extravaganza in New Orleans to be on track for similar numbers – some 17,000 attendees are projected to hit The Big Easy when SGIA Expo 2011 takes place October 19-21 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Event organizers anticipate more than 500 exhibitors to be showcasing their wares on the 225,000-square-foot show floor (see page xx for a list of exhibitors, current as of this writing).

There is, SGIA reports, a reason for the industry to be optimistic. According to post-show survey results from the 2010 SGIA Expo, nearly 85 percent of attendees either made a purchase from an exhibitor at the expo or planned to make a purchase within 12 months. “These strong purchasing plans indicate a turning point for the community. Imagers are investing in the latest technologies to create new opportunities for business growth and strengthening their futures,” says the SGIA’s Susan Veoni.

Becoming an expert
Expanding your company’s repertoire with the latest technologies presented on the show floor may be your top priority at SGIA. But the expo also presents you and your staff with a panoply of educational opportunities – approximately 30 seminars in all to help you expand your knowledge base.

Educational seminar tracks include: Graphics & Sign; Garment Decoration; Industrial Imaging; Graphics Installers; and Business Management. Here’s just a sampling of the specific educational seminar opportunities you’ll find:
• “Sales Management: Tools and Evaluation Techniques”
• “Value-Added Services for Graphics Producers”
• “Marketing Tools 101”
• “Opportunities in White and Metallic Jetable inks”
• “Sustainability and the Environment”
• “Charting the Rise of UV LED Curing Technologies”
• “Maximizing Profitability in Sign & Graphics Shops”
• “Achieve Greater Success in Graphics Installation Projects”
• “The Top 10 Mistakes Printers Make with Customers and How to Avoid Them”
• “Workflow Management Panel”

Registration fee for individual seminars are $45 each for non-members (SGIA members receive a discount); discount packages are available for multiple sessions.

Also: On the eve of SGIA, the expo will host its annual Business Development Conference, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. The half-day event will offer tools “to take your company to a new level by discovering the core competencies of your business and increasing competitiveness through value-added services,” SGIA reports. Leading the conference are: David Fellman (David Fellman Associates), Brian Hart and Clayton Marsh (Hart Consulting Services), and Barbra Bannon (Cranky Creative).

"This event is an absolute must for any company seeking to take advantage of new market realities, differentiate themselves in crowded markets, and manage their sales efforts to increase profitability potential," says Dan Marx, SGIA's vice president, markets and technologies.

This year’s keynoter, Gene Marks, will discuss “Politics, the Economy, and the Specialty Imaging Industry – How Today’s Current Events Impact Tomorrow’s Profits,” during the Keynote Breakfast, Thursday, October 20, at 8:30 a.m. Marks is a bestselling author, business-management columnist for The New York Times and Forbes, and a regular guest on CNBC, MSNBC, and others.

Knowledge sans sales
Looking to learn but don’t like sales pitches that often accompany the gathering of that knowledge? The show’s “Expert Advice Zones” are specially purposed expo-floor areas devoid of hard-sell tactics, allowing for a hands-on experience in a no-pressure environment.

“SGIA created the industry's first Expert Advice Zone back in 2007. Four years later, they're bigger and better than ever with two new zones debuting [Narrow Format and Industrial Imaging zones] at the 2011 Expo,” says Veoni. “The demonstration areas provide a sales-free learning experience and are designed to fit the unique needs of the diverse sectors of the SGIA community.”

New to this year’s event, the Industrial Imaging Zone offers the latest high-tech products for producing printed electronics, automotive parts, and more. Also make its debut is the Narrow Format Zone, which will demonstrate the use of narrow-format output for marketing, labels, small P-O-P displays, nameplates, and more.

Returning zones include: The Digital Apparel Production Zone, which will offer a firsthand look at digital garment decoration technologies and tricks and new trends to prevent errors and improve accuracy; the PDAA Graphics Application Zone, which will feature live demonstrations of vinyl installations to a variety of objects and surfaces; the Digital Signage Zone, which will offers tips on diversifying your business with this latest trend; and the Screen Printed Apparel Training Zone, where attendees can check out demonstrations of the latest garment special-effect techniques.

Networking opps
Adding to the show experience are the opportunities for attendees to engage with industry peers. SGIA’s Networking Happy Hour offers individual receptions for specific industry segments on Wednesday, October 19, from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. The free receptions are invitation-only; industry segments include: PDAA, Latin American, Garment Decoration, Canadian, and Printed Electronics and Industrial Imaging communities. The Thursday Night Awards Party honors the best-of-the-best in the industry, while allowing attendees to connect with colleagues, new business contacts, and new prospective customers over dinner and cocktails.

SGIA will be joined by other organizations representing different industry segments, allowing attendees to network with companies from a wide-array of specialties. The following groups plan to hold events during the expo in New Orleans to explore new business opportunities: FastSigns, Signarama, the Professional Decal Application Alliance (PDAA), Profit and Education in Reprographics (PEiR), ReproMax, United Application Standards Group (UASG), the Ad Specialty Institute (ASI), and the Western Reprographics Association (WRA).

“Much of SGIA’s recent growth has been from companies new to specialty imaging. The relative ease of implementing digital imaging technology is bringing new companies into the community,” says Michael Robertson, SGIA's president and CEO. “Many of these new community participants are lithographers adding wide-format capability, reprographers and sign makers expanding their markets, as well as companies from the manufacturing sector adding or changing industrial imaging applications in their manufacturing process.”

Awarding excellence
During the expo, SGIA offers several prestigious awards to the top work and products in the industry. Its Golden Image Awards Competition recognizes innovative output in the digital and screenprinting marketplace.

"This is a great opportunity for companies to compete against the best in the specialty-imaging community and display their work to thousands of Expo attendees," says Johnny Shell, SGIA vice president of technical services. Each entry is judged based on its perceived value to the digital-imaging community by a team of digital-imaging professionals during the expo.

All entries will be showcased in the gallery October 19-20, 9:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., and on October 21 from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Every entrant will be considered for "Best in Show" (digital and screen printing categories), and for “Best in Creativity” (digital printing only).

The entry deadline for the Golden Image Awards is October 7. SGIA printer members receive one free entry, and additional entries are $30 each. Learn more about the competition and enter online here: sgia.org/members/events/goldenimage_competition.

Last year's highest honors were given to select winning entries, including:
* Best in Show - Graphic: Solutions Unlimited (entry title: High Shine);
* Best in Show - Garment: Tarun Print Tech (entry title: Michael Jackson); and
* People's Choice: Brilliant Graphics Group (entry title: Eric Drury Sculpture).

The association also awards “Product of the Year” recognition, for quality digital equipment and supplies in the specialty-imaging marketplace. Competition entrants must be SGIA member exhibitors with products currently available. Each entry is judged based on its perceived value to the digital-imaging community.

“Winners represent the best consumables and output devices that offer faster, higher quality output for the wide-format digital market,” says Robertson.

Student work is also honored at the show, via the Tom Frecska Student Printing Competition. Acknowledging students’ innovative imaging work from secondary and post-secondary schools, the competition honors the former editor of Screen Printing magazine, Tom Frecska, who passed away in 2009.

The competition, sponsored by the Academy of Screen Printing Technology, includes 24 categories and two divisions: secondary and post-secondary schools. Students can enter as individuals or teams; all work must be produced within the 2010-2011 school year. First-place winners will be recognized in each category. One entry from each division will be honored with the Best in Show award and receive an ASPT Achievement Award as well as a $500 graphic-arts education scholarship.

SGIA Expo Basics
Show hours are:
Wednesday, October 19: 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, October 20: 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Friday, October 21: 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Entrance into the Expo is free if registered before October 18; it’s $35 after that.

To receive discounted rates on hotels, contact SGIA’s official housing partner Travel
Planners via the SGIA website (sgia.org). Of note: SGIA has been notified that other companies have been contacting attendees to reserve hotel rooms for the Expo; Travel Planners is the only official housing partner for this event.

 

Online Conversation
If you’d like to follow the latest happenings regarding SGIA Expo and its exhibitors, or voice out about seminar topics or new products then the SGIA social-media sites are for you:

Twitter: @SGIAExpo and #sgiaexpo
Blogger: SGIA.org/wordpress
Linkedin: SGIA
 

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