Integrity & Professionalism
Paul Lancelle, who entered the Hall of Fame in 2015, expressed a warm welcome to its newest member. “Mark’s tenure of service and commitment to the association is both commendable and astonishing. He has steered this ship through some very rough waters at times, consistently maintaining and demonstrating the highest degree of integrity and professionalism along the way.
“As anyone in a position such as his is likely to encounter, he has also had to face his share of ‘detractors’ at times. What has always stood out to me has been his even keel and steadfast determination in dealing with both success and adversity. He’s been our ‘rock.’”
Lancelle continued, “I personally owe a lot to Mark as it relates to my involvement in this association over the years. For reasons I’m still not sure why, he placed enough trust and confidence in me early on, ultimately leading to my being named Forum chair, serving on the FTA Board of Directors and as Excellence in Flexography Awards chairman.
“What I value most, though, is how our professional relationship has morphed and developed into a true friendship. Mark is one of the most sincere and thoughtful people I’ve ever met. He may not necessarily wear it on his sleeve, but he has a heart of gold.”
Howard B. Vreeland, Jr., who joined the club in 2008, said that Mark “lives and breathes FTA. We are lucky to have him as the face of our organization.”
Mark Samworth, inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2011, offers similar thoughts. “Mark is not the flashy showman vying to be the center of attention or the life of the party. He has produced consistent, winning results over the long run. A careful observation of Mark over a period of years reveals that it is exactly his lack of ego and lack of spotlight lust that has allowed so many others to shine at FTA events. And after all, the true success of a trade association leader is not how much attention he garners for himself, but how much light he casts on others and on the flexo industry at large.
“Mark deserves Hall of Fame status because of the success that FTA has seen through his leadership,” Samworth continued. “In an era where most trade organizations are declining in size and relevance, FTA is breaking records. This reflects the continued commitment to providing true value to FTA members and event attendees. Balancing product quality with the politics of an association dedicated to serving an industry with conflicting interests can lead a lesser person to a goal of pure risk aversion. Mark seems to have found the right balance, and that balance has resulted in a better FTA and an improved industry.”
The list of FTA’s milestone moments the new Hall of Fame member had a hand in includes:
- Initiation of new educational fundraising programs
- Establishment of the FQC
- Publication and revision of FIRST workbooks
- FTA’s move into the electronic age with the incorporation of email into daily activities, launch of the association’s website, establishment of an Internet edition of FLEXO Magazine and later its Internet quarterly, launch of a Forum app and electronic show dailies, opening the FTA Store, and the rollout of a presence on social media
- Compilation of the first SourceBook
- Launch and execution of FTA’s Strategic Planning Initiative
- Founding the Sustainable Green Printing (SGP) Partnership
- Sponsor of Flexible Packaging and FTA Brand Perception and Evaluation surveys
- Creation of a Technical Education Services Team
- Commemoration of FTA’s 50th or Golden Anniversary
- Development and evolution of a virtual campus
- Initiation of industry leading FIRST Press Operator Certification, FIRST Prepress Operator Certification, FIRST Implementation Specialist Certification and FIRST Company Certification programs
- Evolution of INFOFLEX from tabletop exhibition to first class networking event
Writing for FTA’s Golden Anniversary Commemorative Journal, released at the organization’s 2008 Annual Forum, Mark reflected on his experience with the people and programs of FTA.
“As I’ve been known to quote music lyrics at times in my monthly column, I don’t know which of these two would best reflect my sentiments as I reflect back on the Golden Anniversary of FTA, specifically, the 23 years I have been a member of the team: James Taylor’s, ‘The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time,’ or the Grateful Dead’s, ‘What a long, strange trip it’s been!’ I’m kidding, of course. Truth be told, through the good times, as well as the trying times, my tenure on FTA’s management team has been an awesome journey, one that I wouldn’t exchange for anything short of a starting spot on the New York Jets’ front line!”
He continued, “When I was hired as a part time mailroom assistant in November 1984, my only concern was making a few extra bucks as I completed my graduate degree… The world of graphic arts was one I had never really paid much attention to. I’d like to say that my career path is something that I had planned all of my life, but, like many I turned a corner and bumped right into my future.
“It didn’t take long for me to start picking up an interest in the business dealings of FTA as I began to learn all about this printing process with a funny name, as well as the tremendous opportunities that existed in the marketplace as a direct result of the activities of FTA. From very early on, I began to interact with member visitors to the office—in Huntington Station at the time—and learn as much as I could about this up and coming technology, as well as the amazing possibilities for the future, given the then steep market growth curve that the industry was experiencing.”
Remembering still, he said, “As success is often described as opportunity fulfilled, I thought, why not try to capitalize on what potentially lay in front of me; so I worked hard to get noticed. One thing led to another and before I knew it, a part time gig turned into a full time career! The 1980s was a period of strong growth within the flexo industry and, therefore, also for FTA, based on the intense hunger for technical information and education. Over the years, much has changed with respect to the technology and the key market drivers, yet the principles on which FTA, and its sister educational foundation FFTA, are built, have remained constant. To me, that is a direct result of an organization with a clear, focused vision and strong leaders committed to seeing that vision through to reality.”