2018 FSEA – IADD Joint Conference – A Look Back at the Events, Content and Networking

by Katy Ibsen, managing editor, PostPress

In April, members of the Foil and Specialty Effects Association (FSEA) and the International Association of Diecutting and Diemaking (IADD) joined together just outside Nashville, Tennessee, for the organizations’ joint conference.

Before the conference kicked off, a networking reception was held for the FSEA Young Alliance and IADD NextGen groups, which are networking cadres within the associations specifically created to bring together younger members, helping both associations thrive. The event featured a performance by a current FSEA member and former FSEA board of directors’ president with a history in the Nashville music scene, Guy Dupree.

The much-enjoyed welcome reception and supplier trade fair followed, featuring 34 industry suppliers from across the world sharing their work, new technologies and offerings to conference attendees.

The conference got underway on day two, kicking off with a keynote by author Ken Thoreson, who spoke on leadership and management recipes for industry leaders.

Following the keynote was a well-attended panel on digital finishing vs. conventional finishing. Featured on the panel were Christine Yardley of Print Panther, JohnHenry Ruggieri of SunDance Marketing Solutions and Ross Hutchison of UEI Group. This particular session highlighted the benefits of new digital technology, yet also spoke to the benefits of using traditional approaches. Audience members focused questions on the digital advances.

A series of breakout sessions rounded out the morning. Content and presentations in these sessions included a look at the Hottest Print Trends from Sabine Lenz of PaperSpecs; new opportunities in foil waste disposal from Channeled Resources and Convergen Energy, two innovative companies in waste management, which piqued the interest of many attendees; and a management session from Denise Rice of Peak Performance, Inc., which touched on developing tomorrow’s manufacturing workforce.

The afternoon was filled with networking sessions, also on a variety of topics. Topics for discussion included customer demands, hiring millenials, the changing bindery environment, e-commerce, decreasing spoilage, applications for cold foil decorating and more.

The day concluded with the ever-popular FSEA Gold Leaf Awards and IADD Awards event and reception. FSEA’s Lifetime Achievement award was given to Nelson Stevens, and the Best of Show, J.S. McCarthy’s 2018 Fun & Games Calendar, was announced. Congratulations to all on their accolades.

Day two didn’t end there. Attendees then boarded buses for downtown Nashville, where they took in the sights and country sounds of Music City.

Day three started with FSEA’s annual meeting and project update, followed by general session featuring four eye-opening presentations.

Kelly Goodsel of Viking Plastics (yes, we crossed industries) spoke on his company’s transition to 2-Second Lean, which has created a company-wide environment for improving processes, morale and productivity.

Elena Valentine of Skill Scout, a Chicago-based firm that assists manufacturers hiring millenials, spoke on ways to improve hiring practices to reach and hire talented millennials into our industries. Turns out video is key and easier to produce than we think.

A panel of industry suppliers spoke on trends in packaging and folding cartons, and economist Chris Kuehl rounded out the day by sharing his insights in America’s corporate intelligence, which included current events and the economics – good and bad – behind recent political decisions.

The two associations will come together once again for the biennial Odyssey Expo, to be held May 1 through 3, 2019, in Atlanta, Georgia.