PRINTING United Alliance: More Than a Trade Show
There is a legendary line from The Breakfast Club “You see us as you want to see us: in the simplest terms, the most convenient definitions.” This one line defines a struggle every human being can relate with: to be truly seen for who they are. Organizations too, can grapple with being seen and recognized for what they are. The core of an organization can get lost in both its greatest struggles, as well as its greatest accomplishments. But the true gold of any person or organization is in the complexities and the things that you might not see on the surface.
For almost 70 years, PRINTING United Alliance, formerly known as Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA), has been recognized primarily by its greatest accomplishment: “the Expo” — originally the SGIA Expo, then more recently, the PRINTING United Expo. The Expo is a mecca for equipment and consumable sales, and the best place to check out the latest and greatest technology. The Expo is the most exciting three days in the industry; the one time of year everyone you know in printing is under one roof, in the same city, and bumping into one another at the same restaurants after hours. When the association built the platform of the Expo back in 1949, it could only dream of what it has become to the industry today. But as the Expo has grown, it has — to a certain extent — overshadowed the other amazing things the association has built for the industry.
This year, we grieve the fact that the in-person Expo will not go on, for unfortunate and valid reasons. And while the PRINTING United Digital Experience will still be the “go-to” industry event of the year, this pause presents an opportunity for the Alliance to remind the industry of all the other amazing things it has built in the past 70 years. It is worth noting that an association that can build and maintain a tradeshow as epic and longstanding as PRINTING United Expo is well equipped to build other valuable programs and services. The best part is, the hidden gems of what makes PRINTING United Alliance so valuable are not so hidden at all.
Here are a few of these gems you may not be aware of:
In 2020, Lisbeth Lyons, Vice President of Government and Political Affairs at PRINTING United Alliance, made sure the printing industry was at the top of mind for lawmakers as they defined the essential businesses that should be exempt from the early COVID-19 lockdowns. And through the Print Powers America program, which she oversees, Lyons stays on top of the issues flowing through Capitol Hill that could influence printers and the printing industry, and she advocates to ensure printing businesses can thrive.
Marci Kinter, Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs; and Gary Jones, Director of Environmental, Health and Safety Affairs, diligently provide updates and resources for the safety of printing operations and the health of industry employees, most notably through the PRINTING United OSHA Consulting and EHS Consulting Services. PRINTING United Alliance also offers environmental guidance through the Sustainable Business Recognition Program, which not only recognizes the best of the best in the industry, but also provides businesses looking to implement best environmental practices with easy-to-follow guidance to become more environmentally conscious while simultaneously benefitting from the cost savings.
When it comes to education, the PRINTING United Technical Department — lead by Joe Marin and Ray Weiss — is fully equipped with the latest in education, training, and certification (not to mention the friendliest experts in the business). PRINTING United Alliance education includes the Digital Color Professional certification program, where prepress operators can learn the entire color management process, from color theory to RIP management, spectrophotometer capabilities to print head technology; and more. The PRINTING United Alliance PDAA Proficiency certification program recognizes industry installers for their keen skills in vehicle wraps, paint protection, and retail installations. And receiving a PRINTING United Alliance certification highlights those members in Alliance directories — a place for print buyers to find printers and installers with the confidence they are getting qualified services.
PRINTING United Alliance is your industry association, and it offers a wealth of services. The printing industry is starting to recognize the true value of being a part of this multi-faceted association outside of the shadow of the Expo, and through increased membership and engagement the association is only becoming more feature-rich and stronger. Alliance staff are industry experts that serve members by understanding their particular needs, and working to find solutions and create products that are relevant to the industry. The Alliance strives to bring value to members by creating a place where printers, installers, and designers can find solutions and collaborate.