An Overview of the 2017 GCEA Annual Conference

In July, representatives of SPC attended the Graphic Communications Education Association’s (“GCEA”) 92nd annual conference at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. Educators from high schools, community colleges and universities met with business people over three days for workshops, demonstrations and seminars in emerging areas of the graphic communications industry.

The theme of this year’s convention was “Women in Print.” Speakers included: Angela Stone, Manager of Packaging Optimization for Canadian Tire, one of Canada’s largest retailers; April Burke, VP of Operations and Technology for the Lowe-Martin Group, the company that prints Canada’s postage stamps; and Dawn Nye, Solutions and Services Marketing Manager for Konica Minolta. Professors and students from the myriad schools represented at the conference also spoke and hosted seminars.

Topics of interest included enhanced digital printing, workflow automation, cross media marketing, encouraging the next generation of women in print, and the marketing of higher education.

Attendees had the option to take plant tours at Holland & Crosby, a large format printer specializing in point-of-purchase retail based signage programs, Webcom, a book printer that recently made a substantial investment in state-of-the-art digital inkjet presses, automated workflow software, and bookbinding finishing equipment, and Konica Minolta, a leading manufacturer of presses and printing-related equipment. The nighttime boat cruise around Toronto Islands was spectacular. Many attendees enjoyed a day trip to Niagara Falls, complete with a ride on the iconic boat, Maid of the Mist.

SPC hosted a private dinner for representatives of Ryerson University, Clemson University, Rochester Institute of Technology, California Polytechnic University, University of Wisconsin-Stout, and Western Michigan University. The dinner was held at the old Maple Leaf Gardens, which was recently renovated and repurposed and now serves as the home for the Ryerson Rams ice hockey team, a high-end Canadian grocer, and other retailers.

During the dinner, SPC was able to speak directly with the leaders of these preeminent institutions about the need for educators and business people to work together to find ways to improve recruiting and retention of students, tailor curricula and courses toward topics that are germane to businesses, and broaden the scope of employment opportunities for graduating students. The dinner was a nice precursor to SPC’s first ever forum, “Growing Print,” which it will host in Chicago in November of this year.

“Growing Print” will focus more heavily on the perspectives of the leaders in the print and graphic communications industries, their views on emerging trends and technologies in the market, and the types of knowledge and skills they will demand in future employees. SPC hopes to lay the groundwork for an expanding collaboration between business and academia that will provide lasting benefits to both. Stay tuned for more about this exciting venture in a future blog.


Michael Baig
Vice President of Administration & General Counsel

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