When it comes to conferences, our spring conference in Lexington, Kentucky on April 20-22 ranks at the top in popularity. We’re not sure if it’s because of the destination, the events (Keeneland and Castle & Key distillery bourbon tour) or the content of the meeting itself. It could be that we haven’t hosted a full conference in over two years. But we heard nothing but compliments from the membership and the vendors when it came to attendance, content and opportunities to network. We’re grateful to all attendees and the support of our valued vendors.
Here’s a recap of the three-day event—
Wednesday, April 20
- Keynote speaker Joe LaPenna from Drum Creative offered his StoryBrand “Story” presentation and we all learned how this approach is changing the way companies present their own stories.
- Afterward, Joe analyzed two member websites to show the audience how well they told their own stories.
- Dovetailing into the keynote was a Member Panel speaking on their approach to the customer experience and how first impressions really do matter. Panelists gave insights into their company approach. Panelists included Clint Tornow from BPI, Shelby Marshall of Lynn Imaging and Trish Meyer from Kelley Connect. Steve Riddle of Accent Imaging presented their “wheel of customer experience.” A practical guide to the “do’s and don’ts” of good customer experience was offered as well.
- We made up for lost time by awarding two Mark Bieleman Leadership Awards. Tony Westbrook of Coastal Reprographics presented the awards:
- First, to Kim Long of Reprodux for her unfailing devotion as a two-time president and her eight years of continuous service on various boards.
- Bob Christy of Triangle Marketing Houston was presented the award as an original member of the RSA, setting the groundwork for the organization’s success.
- The evening started with the Vendor Happy Hour sponsored by KIP and Tim Horn where they proved once again how valuable their participation is to our organization.
- The Vendor Reception started with 28 vendors and over 50 RSA Member companies attending. A very special thank you to National Azon for hosting the post-gala party that provided much enjoyed networking throughout the rest of the evening. Highlights included:
- Canon’s demonstration of the TZ30000 and the GT printers.
- Epson proudly introduced their newest 4D per minute technical printer.
- Image Access demonstrated their BookEye book scanner.
- Two new small format vendors –Lexmark and Brother were also in attendance.
Thursday, April 21
- The day kicked off with two vendors –PrintIQ and ADP at breakfast giving us details regarding the services they provide to Member companies.
- The first session of the day was a timely one with Paul Hillen showing attendees how to attract and retain top talent. His previous presentations were well-received and this one did not disappoint. A key takeaway: using recently collected data, hybrid work environments are not as productive as we thought they would be for most companies.
- The second session was an in-depth discussion into how to sell wide format equipment. The highlight of this panel discussion was the diversity of panelists in size, different market verticals and more.
- Panelists included Bart Jordan from Dorado Graphix, Andy Richter from Richter Drafting & Office Supply, Troy Illum from Drexel Technologies and Dustin Grievous from Selby’s.
- The afternoon started with a plated luncheon and an introduction to the Canon leadership—Rob Reddy, Rich Reamer and Brian Moss. They discussed their “go forward plan” and the new structure at Canon. David Rice demonstrated poster artists online and the differences between online vs. downloadable versions.
- New Revenue Opportunities in Color Imaging started the afternoon with David Perkinson of TRI Graphics of Phoenix moderating the panel.
- Panelists included Dan Hemmings of Reprodux demonstrating their construction site signage, Andrew Heslinga of Vital Signs showing how they work the interior décor vertical and Joanne Underwood of Lynn Imaging presenting their ADA signage production. All shared their knowledge of what applications and specialties were driving revenue to their companies.
- An information-packed day ended with a tour of the state-of-the-art facilities at Lynn Imaging & Monster Color. Their 75-year-old premier facilities are some of the finest in the business and everyone was willing to impart their knowledge. Members were clearly impressed with the professionalism and capabilities of both operations. A big thanks to JL Lynn, Mike Carter and Shelby Lynn Marshall for hosting this incredible tour.
- But wait there’s more! Buses picked members up at Lynn Imaging and headed for a tour of Castle & Key Bourbon Distillery, a bit of food and a fine bluegrass band. We’re so grateful to our vendor partner Synnex and their technology partner Lexmark for hosting this tour.
Friday, April 22
- Sessions started early with breakfast and a state-of-the-industry report from HP. Key takeaway—do not expect a major improvement in the current supply chain bottleneck. HP urged participants to plan accordingly—well in advance–for their customers.
- Epson presented their newest 4D a minute technical printer. While the 36” unit won’t be available until fall, it has the potential to be very competitive, given the productivity and the price.
- Kevin Howes kicked off the morning session with the announcement of the new AIA Continuing Education Program. The RSA is now a licensed partner with the AIA and that means you and your company may take advantage of The Environmental Graphics presentation for local AIA design professionals. Everybody wins with the program—you get access to architects and interior designers to increase your color business by making this presentation to your customers and prospects. They get the Continuing Education credits they need for attending your presentation. Look for your invitation to attend the “Train The Trainer” session in June of this year!
- The next session was How to Develop New Revenue. Members heard from Tony Dargo of Eastern Engineering and John Liperi of Planet Print Systems. Tony spoke to the success of the Epson small printer program developed by the RSA. John talked of his experience being a small format Konica Minolta dealer and the great contrast between ink jet and toner.
- Members also heard from Michael Liberti of Matterport, and how they are offering solutions for 3D scanning services and equipment resale that doesn’t require the capitol and labor costs needed of larger systems. RSA is pursuing a reseller agreement with Matterport so members may buy and sell their units.
- Finally, members were introduced to CloseOut Docs and VIZ Built software, real solutions developed to help digitally close out construction projects fast.
We couldn’t leave our first full-blown conference in a few years without topping the experience off! Members were treated to a day at the races at Keeneland, a historic horse racetrack and the premier auction site for horses in the U.S.
Members were so thankful and enthusiastic to be attending RSA conferences once again. They know this is the place to renew friendship, learn new ways to do business and share experiences with industry experts.
Everyone is looking forward to the Fall Conference in Las Vegas–see you there!