Association News

‘Talkin’ ‘bout my generation’ with TLMI

By Steve Katz, Editor | November 21, 2013

The Who’s seminal hit “My Generation” was fitting entrance music for the hundreds of label converters and suppliers gathered in San Antonio, TX, USA, for the TLMI 2013 Annual Meeting. The event, themed “My Generation – Leading Strategies for Multigenerational Trends and Technologies,” took place October 20-23, at the JW Marriot Hill Country Resort and Spa.

TLMI Chairman Dave McDowell, of McDowell Label & Screen Printing, kicked off the proceedings by welcoming all in attendance to his home state of Texas. McDowell then announced the four new members to the Board of Directors:  Converters Lori Campbell (The Label Printers),  Charlie MacLean (ASL Print FX) and Dan Taylor (Taylor Made Labels), and Supplier Michael Ring (Xeikon). He also  recognized outgoing board members:  Kathy Alaimo (Syracuse Label & Screen Printing), Joel Carmany (Consolidated Label Company), Craig Moreland (Coast Label Company) and David Taylor (EFI) for their dedicated service.

McDowell discussed a few key TLMI milestones. He pointed out the association’s membership is higher than its been in two decades, and September’s Technical Conference attendance matched the record number set by the 2011 event. McDowell also proudly pointed out that an upcoming LIFE certification brings the number of TLMI LIFE-certified converter and supplier facilities to 50.

Darrell Hughes (L) of Avery Dennison accepts the Enviromental Leadership award from Calvin Frost.
Meeting Chairman Rob Hutchison introduced the event’s theme and Monday’s keynote speaker, Cam Marston, an author and expert on the impact of generational characteristics and differences in the workplace. Of the Annual Meeting’s theme, Hutchison said, “This meeting brings together presenters and speakers who will show us ways to effectively bridge the generation gaps within our businesses. Their insight will show us how to make sure we are getting the most from our people and creating a business environment of continuous innovation and open communication.”

Cam Marston’s firm, Generational Insights, provides research and consultation on generational issues to hundreds of companies and professional groups, ranging from small businesses to multinational corporations, as well as professional associations. With the wide variety found in the sizes of TLMI member companies, Marston’s insights resonated with all attendees. 

Marston began by classifying the different generational groups within an organization – Matures (born before 1946), Baby Boomers (born between 1946-64), Gen X (1965-79), Millennials (1980-2000) and iGen (after 2000). He paid special attention to the two most prominent groups present in the room – Baby Boomers and Gen X. 

Baby Boomers, Marston said, are the workaholics of a company. With ethics steeped in history, these workers have a deep respect for visual recognition of success – trophies, plaques, certificates – and they also appreciate tenure. Baby Boomers, Marston added, prefer face-to-face communicating, as opposed to texts and emails. “And when they do email,” he said, “They like full sentences, few abbreviations, and an opening and closing.”

Gen X, Martson said, is comparatively more cynical, and even pessimistic. They are immersed in technology, as they’re the biggest online shoppers and bankers. “But they don’t simply buy something,” he said. “They stalk and they hunt products and information. This generation is cautious and conservative.”

Gen Xers are also significantly more self-centered than Baby Boomers, Marston explained. “When you have a society that goes from struggling to affluence, the children take on a more self-centered ethos,” he said.

While Martson noted that Baby Boomers are the last generation that will define themselves by their work, it is the “tweener,” the employee on the cusp of being either a Boomer or Gen X, that is often retained and valued for being an “interpreter” within the workforce, providing explanations to the other generations.

While Baby Boomers are the outgoing generation of workers, Marston emphasized the importance of succession and transferring their knowledge. He said, “Boomers need to be cajoled into transferring their wisdom – their knowledge of machinery and customer relations. This is a challenge.”

Randy Krouse of Electro Optic
The up-and-coming generation of workers are the Millennials, also known as Gen Y. Born between 1980 and 2000, Marston characterized Gen Y as group-oriented and optimistic, though they have a hard time focusing. “For Millennials, the future is very short-term, and this group, at a young age, is busy and stressed,” he said.

Tuesday’s keynote speaker, “back by popular demand,” as Hutchison introduced him, was Scott Klososky, a former CEO of three successful startup companies who specializes in looking over the horizon at how technology is changing the world.

Klososky focused on the crucial relationship between leadership and technology, and the factors at play that are rapidly affecting business today. “Tech savvy customers, business processes like Lean Manufacturing, digital marketing and mobile device usage are all reshaping forces and “dramatic game changers,” he said, adding that mastery of technology requires leadership to blend industry knowledge and tech savvy.

Klososky also talked about Tech Darwinism, referring to the pace of change and the need for speed when marketing innovation. “When you move too slowly, your products may not be relevant to customers,” he noted.

Challenges abound, as the business world is now “dog-eat-dog,” Klososky explained. “There is increasing competition from overseas. And technology has sped up awareness of ideas. Today, customers can more easily identify other suppliers.

“Technology is all about connecting things that have never been connected before,” Klososky said, suggesting that press operators and production personnel wearing Google Glass can have many benefits. “It’s about ‘profit amplification’,” he added. “Tech mastery raises top line revenue while lowering bottom line costs.”

Big Data was another topic of focus. “Data is an asset,” Klososky explained. “A data-driven organization gathers a much larger database of information than its competitors. This company constantly searches for new analytic trends, and uses the understood data to make better decisions or provide more value.”  – Steve Katz

Awards and honors
During the 2013 TLMI Annual Meeting, Calvin Frost, CEO of Channeled Resources Group and the TLMI Environmental Committee Chair, announced the winners of the TLMI 2013 Environmental Awards. The Label Printers took home the prize for the second consecutive year in the converter category, while Avery Dennison won in the supplier category. Commenting on The Label Printers’ win, Frost emphasized that the award is given to a converter that continues to build an environmental culture throughout its organization. “They have established practices that demonstrate commitment,” Frost said. “The Label Printers has measured benefits and developed programs that could be adapted by others in our industry.”


David Taylor
The Label Printers, with headquarters in Aurora, IL, USA, is a TLMI LIFE-certified facility. The company has developed sustainability programs titled “Go Green, Save Green, and Earn Green” and “Green Ideas.”

Avery Dennison was selected as the supplier winner thanks in part to its improving material efficiencies through kaizen events by a remarkable 24% since 2011, Frost said. “They have a corporate goal of reducing greenhouse gas by 15% by 2015 and are well on their way to reaching their goal,” he added.

Avery Dennison has been a member of the Carbon Disclosure Project since 2007, which publicly discloses greenhouse gas emissions.
Frost also pointed out that Avery Dennison has been a leader in responding to PET recycling issues, as they relate to PS labels. “They have attempted to help the supply chain with solutions for PSA byproduct and have developed non-PVC products that contain zero chlorine. Along with their patented ClearCut, TurnLock and CleanFlake technologies, they have improved the industry’s carbon footprint,” said Frost.

Six out of Avery Dennison’s seven manufacturing plants are LIFE-certified, with the seventh expected to be certified by the end of the year.

Frost concluded: “This is TLMI’s 11th year in presenting these awards and recognizing leaders in the implementation of environmental awareness and best sustainability practices in the label printing industry. Sustainability is a central issue in our marketplace and I applaud all the companies who submitted award entries for consideration this year. Avery Dennison and The Label Printers have demonstrated ongoing leadership and excellence in environmental stewardship and I congratulate them both.”

At the Awards Dinner, Jeff Dunphy, president and CEO of Design Label Manufacturing, was named TLMI Converter of the Year. The Converter of the Year Award honors and recognizes a member of the converting industry who has made an extensive contribution to the North American narrow web marketplace and who has additionally demonstrated an unwavering commitment to TLMI.

Dunphy joined Design Label as a sales representative in 1991 and was promoted to sales manager in 1995. In 1999 he became the company’s president. In 2002, Jeff and his sister structured a deal to buy the company from their father.

Today, Design Label Manufacturing operates out of two facilities and is a premier vendor of labels and paperboard printing. The company serves a diverse range of markets including the household chemical, food, beverage, personal care, durable goods and neutraceutical end use sectors.

AzTech Converting at the tabletop reception

Jeff has served on the TLMI Board of Directors since 2004 and as the chairman of the Scholarship Committee for the past five years. He is the current TLMI chairman-elect. According to fellow label converter Scott Pillsbury, president of Rose City Label and the 2012 Converter of the Year, “TLMI is another area where Jeff shines. He has carried the torch for the scholarship program for many years and as a board member provides guidance and leadership with wisdom and insight.”

Also at the banquet, David Taylor, general manager of EFI’s Radius Division, was named the TLMI Supplier of the Year. The Supplier of the Year Award honors and recognizes an individual for their ongoing volunteer service and dedication to TLMI, and to the greater industry. Criteria for winning the award includes service to TLMI on the association’s board and committees, in addition to continuous commitment to the industry as a whole by helping to promote and foster its growth.David Taylor has been in the narrow web industry for more than two decades and his career’s primary focus has been in software development and integration within some of the market’s most prominent technology companies. He has an extensive background in buying and selling software companies and recently served a term on the TLMI Board of Directors. In his current role at EFI Radius he is responsible for strategic direction and worldwide deployment. Frank Sablone, TLMI president, commented, “David Taylor is a very dedicated member to both TLMI and to the greater industry. He is a true leader who always puts the association first. I speak for myself, the Board of Directors and all TLMI members in congratulating David for achieving this honor.”

Farewell to Steve Lee
TLMI has announced that Paul Teachout, Technical OEM Accounts Manager Harper Corporation of America, has replaced Steve Lee, vice president of technology for RotoMetrics, as the chairman of the TLMI Awards Competition. After 37 years in the narrow web industry, Steve Lee will be retiring from RotoMetrics in June of 2014 and has served TLMI’s membership in multiple capacities over the past three decades.

TLMI Preseident Frank Sablone, commenting on Lee’s retirement, said, “Steve Lee has been an instrumental force in TLMI for 25 years. In 1988 he chaired the TLMI Technical Conference in St. Louis as Chairman of the association’s Technical Committee. He was the first chairman of the Environmental Committee and became the permanent chairman of the TLMI Awards Committee in 1995. Steve has also served three terms on the TLMI Board of Directors. I wish Steve all the best in his retirement and I am thrilled that Paul Teachout has accepted the position of chairman, overseeing the judging panel and the prestigious Awards Competition moving forward.”  
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