Bob Coomes & Bobby Congdon Receive 2023 FTA President’s Award

The FTA President’s Award is given to individuals who demonstrate steadfast commitment to supporting FTA.

Selection of recipients is the result of a collaborative process that takes into consideration a variety of factors—all focusing on individuals who have demonstrated a strong support of the core values that FTA/FFTA espouses.

The Association has consistently grown and prospered as the direct result of a volunteer base representing committed individuals who see the value of dedicating their time and talent for the collective good of the flexographic business community. Leaders don’t wait to be asked and they don’t take their commitments lightly; they formulate ideas and see themselves involved in areas that best utilize their talents.

The FTA President’s Award has been bestowed annually on individuals who understand this philosophy of leadership and who commit themselves to taking on the responsibility of being an industry driver and a true force of change. For more than 30 years, the Award has been given to individuals selected by FTA’s president who demonstrate steadfast commitment to supporting the Association, and for their support, volunteerism and dedication.

I am proud to announce the names of two dedicated flexographers that are 2023’s recipients:

Bob Coomes headshot

Bob Coomes, graphic, prepress and print specialist at PPC Flexible Packaging, is an exceptionally active member of FTA. Bob is always ready to step up and share his expertise and leadership skills with the Association. As a member of the FFTA Board of Directors, he serves as the chair-elect. Board members work closely with the FTA Executive Leadership to help guide the direction of the organization, and Bob’s industry experience and viewpoint as a printer/converter are a huge asset.

Bob is a champion of process control and fully supports FIRST 7.0 (Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifications & Tolerances) and the FIRST Methodology. He is FIRST Certified with both an Implementation Specialist Certification and a Prepress Operator Certification, while also promoting certification for his team at PPC.

Bob has 30+ years’ experience in flexography and regularly participates as a speaker, panelist or session chair for FTA events, including the Fall Technical Conference and FORUM. You can always catch him on the INFOFLEX floor researching the latest technologies or giving his feedback to the technology value chain suppliers on ways to improve their products.

Bob Coomes FTA President's Award
Coomes, on stage at FORUM 2022

Most recently in 2023 he served as a panelist for FORUM’s The Value of Color Measurement session. Bob always has his customers’ needs at the forefront and is constantly looking for ways to push flexography forward. Bob has assisted FTA in many other ways as well. With support from PPC Flexible Packaging, Bob has led efforts to supply printing for FTA projects, benefitting the membership by providing the physical samples and implementing the technologies that make a difference. Bob is active on the FTA Membership Committee and has worked on the FTA Excellence in Flexography Awards Committee, providing key insights that are a force of positive change. Thank you, Bob!

Bobby Congdon headshot

Bobby Congdon, assistant director, Sonoco Institute of Packaging Design and Graphics at Clemson University, is truly one of our “go-to guys,” generously lending his time and talent to FTA on initiatives that have supported our growth in members, quality recognition and educational development. In Bobby’s role at the Sonoco Institute, he is helping to develop our industry’s next generation of emerging leaders. His continuous curiosity has led to innovative approaches to educate FTA members and the flexographic industry. Our members look to Bobby for research and other services that advance the packaging and printing industries.

Specifically for FTA, Bobby holds a FIRST Implementation Specialist Certification and is an author and contributor to the Communication & Implementation section of FIRST 7.0. As a member of the Flexo Quality Consortium (FQC), Bobby provides 20+ years of experience to help guide technical projects and often leads research initiatives for the FQC at Clemson University. One innovative project Bobby led is the FQC Measurable Slur Target Project, which will make pressroom process control easier for those closest to production.

He is a frequent presenter and session chair at FORUM and Fall Technical Conference and in 2023, Bobby co-chaired FORUM’s Find ’em, Train ’em, Keep ’em: 21st Century Flexographer session, addressing one of the many challenges our industry is facing with the current staffing status. Bobby also acts as the Clemson Graphic Communications internship coordinator, connecting students and employers for meaningful internship experiences.

Bobby Congdon FTA President's Award
Congdon, on stage at FORUM 2018

When it comes to educational development, Bobby is a valuable resource to the FTA and our members. He consistently promotes FIRST Certification programs at Clemson and other industry events, and his team leads the STRIPE online press and safety simulation course initiative, which FTA and other member companies have partnered with Clemson on to provide a modern, much-needed training program for students and members that need this foundational training. Thank you, Bobby!