President's Column - August 2022

President's Column,

Dear IADD Members and Industry Friends,

Many things about the IADD have changed over the past 50 years, but one thing that has remained consistent throughout is the strength and vitality the association enjoys because of the unfailing support of its volunteers. In fact, the association would not exist if it weren’t for the efforts of an insightful and dedicated group of industry leaders.

In this eighth article in a series leading up to the IADD’s 50th Anniversary Annual Meeting in October 2022 in San Antonio, TX, USA we will explore just how important volunteer support has been to the growth and success of the IADD.

During the 1960s and ‘70s, the monthly publication called Diemaking, Diecutting and Converting magazine was the common link of communication throughout the industry. In the October 1969 issue, Editor Walter Kubilius asked his readers if there would be any interest in forming an industry association. Although the response the magazine received was very positive, the groundwork necessary to bring it all together took a few years.

In March of 1971, the First Annual Symposium on Diemaking and Diecutting was held in York, England. This “first-of-its-kind” program was jointly organized by W. Notting Ltd. and PIRA (Printing Industry Research Association), both of London. The program was a commendable first step toward industry unity and open exchange of information, as DD&C magazine had proposed to United States diemakers and diecutters. It was followed by a symposium in April 1972 at the Warwick Hotel in New York, NY USA where 136 diemakers and diecutters enthusiastically confirmed the need for a formalized association. The national association became a reality on October 31, 1972 at the Ambassador Hotel in Chicago, IL USA when the following officers were elected to serve:

President: S. Ray Miller, Jr., Atlas Steel Rule Die Inc.
1st Vice President: Ben Kenny, Die-Cut Specialty Co.
2nd Vice President: Tom McAdam, J.F. Helmold & Bro. Inc.
Secretary: Phil Saunders, Container Graphics Corp.
Assistant Secretary: Robert L. Larson, Boston Cutting Die Co.
Treasurer: David K. Hart, Cir-Cut Corp.
Corresponding Secretary: John T. Connor, DD&C Magazine
Publicity & Program Director: William L. Edgell, DD&C Magazine

We owe a debt of gratitude to these visionaries, who became the first of thousands to assist the IADD in meeting its goals over the years. In June of 1974, the Midwest Chapter was formed, soon followed by chapters in the Eastern and Western US. In February 1975, the association hired paid management staff, but it was the tireless ingenuity, leadership and hands-on participation of members who created such projects as technical programming, Recommended Specifications (1979), Industry Standards (1991), rule bending module (1992), credit classes at New York City Technical College (1997), Odyssey Expo (2001), TechTeam™ (2004) and IADD Diecutting Academy (2020), just to name a few. In fact, behind every valuable product or service that has been a catalyst for new memberships and is directly responsible for increasing the technical content of the magazine and IADD website, you will find a team of volunteers working together with the paid staff.

Throughout the years, volunteers have provided leadership and direction through their board and committee service. The IADD’s Leadership Guide, a text that is full of great information and serves to give focus to the board’s directors, says that in volunteering “you’ll be working regularly with a group of professionals at the peak of their careers, making decisions that will have a direct impact on the association’s directions, members and staff.”

In the early days, the board of directors was made up of eight volunteers from across the industry in the USA. Today, the association’s board is made up of nine executive members and ten directors, a diverse group of people from companies around the world and with different experience levels and backgrounds. Our colleagues cover a full gamut of areas of the industry: printing and graphics, folding carton converters, corrugated boxplants, diemakers, diemaking and diecutting consumable product vendors, automated diemaking equipment, steel rule manufacturers, punches, etc.

In 2019, when I started my role as president, it marked a milestone in the Association’s history, as I became the first president from outside of the USA. At the end of the Annual Meeting comping up in October, we will reach yet another milestone by introducing our first female president for the organization.

The IADD offers many ways for people to get involved, from technical writing to committee work, to chapter support and board positions. As mentioned before, we have had thousands of volunteers over the years, but here is just a small sample of what a couple of current volunteers have said about participating in our association as a volunteer:

“Volunteering is a two-way street. You give and you receive. You contribute based on your interests and skills and then learn from others who have different expertise. Volunteering creates a platform for networking, learning, teaching and advocating for the well-being of the industry,” shares Lisa Boyd of Wagner Die Supplies.

“The knowledge and learning that the IADD provides through its members, and their unselfishness and willingness to share, will give you invaluable skills, knowledge, and learning, adding strength to your character and inspiring you to want to give back to the IADD. The power of the association is providing a personal reward to individuals, now and throughout the future of their careers!” adds Brent Singer of Metsä Board Singapore Pte. Ltd.

It’s great to reflect on the tangible ways volunteers have contributed to the improvement of our industry. There are definitely so many more ways than I have listed in this article, too. From personal experience, I can say that the biggest benefit for me has been meeting and interacting with many of the amazing people in our industry. Each person has a unique background, set of experiences and knowledge that is truly fascinating to get to know industry colleagues who have passion for what they do.

An example of this was this morning (well, the morning of me doing the final touches on this column, not the morning of you reading this column…but I digress) when I saw “IADD Committee meeting, by Zoom” on my calendar. Don’t tell anyone I said this, but my first reaction to being reminded of the call was “Ugh! I’m too busy for a committee call today!” But I called in anyways, and it was such a great call that I came away energized by the exchange of ideas and meeting some people who were new to the association, but who have been around the industry much longer than I have. So often this is the case.

We certainly wouldn’t be where we are today without the help of our volunteers. The association—and our entire industry—evolves when a diverse group of dedicated people works together to find solutions. When we get together and discuss various topics and projects, we don’t always agree on what needs to be done or how to get there. But that is the best way to make things better when everyone has the best intentions.

Thank you to our MANY volunteers! They do what they do for free, but the value of what they do is priceless!

Take care,

Gino Gualtieri,
IADD President