For the first time since 2019, an FTA conference is delivering technical content, wide-ranging networking opportunities and connection with industry experts—all of that, in person.
Here, Gleich talks to FLEXO Magazine about Fall Conference 2021’s theme—“Evolve or Die”—the focus of each of its eight technical sessions, its expanded exhibition under the name of INFOFLEX at Fall Conference, and why the event is a must-attend conference.
FLEXO Magazine: Flexographers from all sides of the industry talk about wanting to return to in-person networking. Who is more excited to come to Frisco: printers or suppliers? Personally, how does it feel to return to a live setting for the first time in two years?
John Gleich: My guess is the answer is both! I know personally I am super excited to get back out there and connect with like-minded folks. It has been way too long without in-person human contact—I can’t wait for this event!
FLEXO: There isn’t much explanation needed for Fall Conference 2021’s theme—“Evolve or Die.” Why was this the time to use something so direct?
Gleich: For me, 2020 changed every aspect of business for all of us. And as someone who doesn’t enjoy engaging in a lot of fluff, this feels like the perfect time to build our conference around that theme. While I believe this statement is always relevant, it felt even more appropriate as we finished out 2020 and pushed through 2021. The change had happened; if we fail to assess, adapt and evolve, we will be left behind.
FLEXO: Evolution means something different to flexographers in each area of a flexographic workflow. How will that theme be applied to all of them?
Gleich: I don’t believe that any area of the flexographic workflow (or any industry for that matter) can escape the reality that staying the same or being comfortable always has the same ending—failure. The amount of time it takes to get there can vary significantly, but as soon as a person or a business is content with their current state, they are doomed.
We all must constantly challenge ourselves, our workflows and our technologies because if we don’t, someone with more ambition and desire will. We have to get a little creative with how we tell these stories across all our flexographic workflows. That is exactly what we intend to do, beginning with a look at FTA’s technical committees, followed by examining methodologies and the customer’s expectations, and then moving through the graphics and pressroom departments.
FLEXO: What kind of forward-facing discussions will take place in Fall Conference 2021’s opening session, “Evolve or Die: What Does the Future of Flexography Look Like?”
Gleich: We’ll kick the conference off with a humorous look at where we’ve been over the last 18 months. Then, we’ll take a serious look at what we’ve learned and what the future holds for our industry.
FLEXO: The FTA of today is a far cry from the Association started in 1958. As “FTA’s Technical Committees: Then and Now” reveals the future for the FIRST and FQC Committees, what can attendees expect to hear?
Gleich: Before we look at the future, we’ll give attendees a brief history lesson on FQC and how it became the backbone of FTA’s technical experimentation, plus FIRST’s evolution out of FQC to become the industry’s leading technical specifications document. Then, their leadership teams will give some insight into the future of both committees, including updates to FIRST and upcoming FQC research projects.
FLEXO: “Adopting New Workflow Methodologies” presents three different perspectives of workflow methodologies, including SCTV. How does this comprehensive picture help prepare brand owners and printers to adopt them?
Gleich: Over the years, there have been many color control systems introduced, from traditional TVI curves to sophisticated color management systems, SCTV and more. We’re going to hear about how brand owners and printers have adopted these methodologies, as well as the value they have brought to specific printers.