The NAPIM Convention Review

By David Savastano, Ink World Editor | 09.06.05

A discussion on the similarities and differences between North American and European ink industries caps this year�s successful NAPIM convention.

This year’s National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers’ (NAPIM) 87th Annual Convention, held in Palm Beach Gardens, FL from April 22-25, provided attendees with lots of fun times and food for thought.

This year’s keynote speaker, Dr. Gerald Bell of the Kenan-Flagler Business School of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill presented thought-provoking talks on raising children and leadership. NAPIM’s State of the Industry Report also had some messages to think about. Finally, a panel discussion of top leaders from Europe and the U.S. discussed the nature of the ink industry, and their insights offered attendees much to consider.

New Business
More than 300 attendees gathered for the convention, and enjoyed the many recreational facilities and dinners. There was also plenty of business to conduct. NAPIM welcomed three new members – Squid Ink, Micro Inks and Joules Angstrom UV Printing Inks Corp., as well as eight new associate members – Dynamic Color, FlackTek, Hockmeyer Equipment Corp., IGT Reprotest, Kemira OY, Kerr McGee, Mendco and Omnova.

William Rimel III, president and CEO of American Inks & Coatings, is the new NAPIM president, succeeding Michael Murphy, senior vice president and general manager, ink operations at Sun Chemical, who completed his two-year term and implemented a new committee infrastructure that should benefit the industry. Jeff Koppelman, president of Gans Ink & Supply, is the new vice president. Leonard D. Frescoln, Flint Ink’s president and COO, is the new NAPIM treasurer.

The State of the Industry
The 2001 State of the Industry Report, delivered by Brad Bergey, corporate vice president, operations support for Sun Chemical and chair of NAPIM’s Management Information Committee, showed slight improvement over the previous year, with reported sales and profits increasing only slightly.

Ink sales increased 4.1 percent in 2000, and earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) went up marginally. Pre-tax return on net assets (RONA) was 12.2 percent, up from last year’s 10.1 percent mark. The fourth quarter results were not encouraging, however, leading to concerns for 2001.

“While 2000 was a stable year with only small growth, in view of the slowing economy, repeating this result may be challenging,” Mr. Bergey said.

Comparisons Between North America and U.S.
The other major event was the panel discussion, “Both Sides of the Atlantic: The Ink Industry,” in which the participants discussed the state of the printing ink industry in North America and Europe.

NAPIM assembled a top-notch panel consisting of Harvey Brice, Superior Printing Ink’s president; William Rimel III, American Inks & Coatings’ president and CEO and incoming NAPIM president; and George Sickinger, Color Resolutions International’s chairman, CEO and president, as the U.S. participants.

The European members were Herbert Forker, Siegwerk Druckfarben GmbH’s president and CEO; James Mahony, Flint Ink Europe’s president; Dr. Helmut Schmidt, managing director of Druckfarbenfabrik Gebr. Schmidt GmbH; and Juergen Steinmetz, president of BASF Drucksysteme GmbH.

The similarities in industry trends in North America and Europe became evident, as participants on both sides of the Atlantic reflected on declining margins, consolidation, overcapacity and the threat of commoditizing ink.

The panel also discussed the present economic state, which also has similarities. “Our big concern is the drastic decline in advertising budgets,” said Mr. Steinmetz,

“We are struggling with continuing consolidations on our customer base,” added Mr. Mahony.

“We have to get better profitability,” Dr. Schmidt said. “We have to work on our return on revenue. All of us have to stop the talk about commoditization, and we should understand the benefit for our customers. Unpaid service is absolutely impossible.”

Ultimately, it is clear that the ink industry is truly becoming more global as economic conditions in the U.S. play an important role in the European market. “I think that when the U.S. talks about a bad year, it’s bad for Europe,” concluded Mr. Forker.

Overall, attendees came away with the knowledge that the world is indeed experiencing more globalization, and that the international industry needs to work together to come up with new solutions to the challenges this presents.

A Successful Convention
NAPIM officials said that the convention was a tremendous success, with the panel being particularly beneficial to the attendees.

“I think it went very well,” said Bob Hess of Radiant Color, who served as program chair and moderator for the panel. “I think that everyone on the panel got involved, and we got a clearer picture of the similarities and the differences.”

“I was very pleased with the way that our entire convention rolled out,” said Mr. Murphy. “It exceeded all our expectations. The panel did an excellent job of being forthright and covered the important topics facing the industry today.”

“I felt it went very well,” said James Coleman, NAPIM’s executive director. “The panel went better than expected, which reflects the fact that our industry likes to know what other people are thinking.”

Now that his two-year term as president is completed, Mr. Murphy has turned over the gavel to Mr. Rimel. Mr. Coleman said that the efforts of Mr. Murphy and his wife, Sue, have been exceptional.

“Sue and Mike have been excellent to work with,” Mr. Coleman said. “From a business viewpoint, he’s focused on strategy and he’s just as interested in continuing NAPIM’s traditions.”

Considering all that was achieved at the meeting, perhaps this year’s convention offers new possibilities for starting traditions.


Sun Chemical’s Daniel J. Carlick Receives Ault Award

Bob Cantu, Joseph Cichon and David Flint Receive Pioneer Awards

Among the highlights of NAPIM’s annual convention is the Ault Award dinner, which honors printing ink leaders for their efforts, either with the Ault Award or the Pioneer Award.

The Ault Award is the most prestigious honor in the industry, and is presented to an individual for their longtime service to the industry.

This year’s honoree is the late Daniel J. Carlick of Sun Chemical, formerly the company’s vice president of R&D, whose technical accomplishments alone would make him an obvious selection. In addition, his leadership and marketing skills made him an integral part of Sun Chemical’s rise.

During his 54 years in the industry, first with Interchemical and then nearly four decades with Sun Chemical, Mr. Carlick did much of the landmark research on UV inks and polyamide resins, and held 46 patents under his name. He was also responsible for creating Sun Chemical’s research centers in Carlstadt, NJ and Europe. He was also very active in NAPIM and the National Printing Ink Research Institute (NPIRI), with which he served two two-year terms as president. He received NAPIM’s Technical Achievement Award in 1985.

Mr. Carlick passed away in April 1999. His award was accepted by his widow, Elsie Carlick.

“He was a most unusual man,” said Mrs. Carlick. “It is with great pride that I accept the Ault Award for Daniel and Sun Chemical.”

Mr. Carlick’s colleagues at Sun Chemical reflected upon the great technical and leadership abilities that Mr. Carlick had in abundance.

“His impact on our industry is with us each and every day,” said Edward E. Barr, Sun Chemical’s chairman. “He was a technical giant. He was also a great motivator of young technical people who he energized by his knowledge and his leadership, and also helped to see the magic of the industry.”

“He was the most innovative technical person, and he understood the business aspects,” said Massie Odiotti, former executive vice president, inks with Sun Chemical. “He was a tremendous inspiration to our technical people. He said that anyone could buy the same pigments and equipment to make an ink, but developing resins would get you a better ink.”

“Dan was very brilliant technically and also was an excellent manager and leader,” said Michael Murphy, NAPIM president and Sun Chemical’s senior vice president and general manager, printing inks. “He had a vision for the type of lab he wanted to create in Carlstadt. Aside from his 46 patents, there are many other patents in other people’s names to which he made significant contributions.”

“Dan was not only a great technician, but he also had a vision for marketing,” concluded Henri Dyner, Sun Chemical’s president and CEO. “He was very supportive of our technical efforts in Europe. He was an individual who looked at problems from unique angles. We all miss him.”

In addition, Bob Cantu, Joseph Cichon and David Flint received Pioneer Awards for their outstanding services in the industry.

Mr. Cantu is national market/product manager for Sun Chemical’s paper packaging group. He has been dedicated to serving numerous trade organizations, as well as being a member of Clemson University’s flexo advisory staff.

Mr. Cichon, senior vice president of product and manufacturing technology at INX International, has been active in advocating and advancing improvements in ink quality measurement and control procedures. He has served as a member of ASTM committees, and has been program chair for NAPIM’s annual conference. Mr. Cichon also received NAPIM’s prestigious Technical Achievement Award in 1996.

Mr. Flint has been with Flint Ink full-time since 1967, and is presently executive vice president. He is credited with many innovations at Flint Ink which later became common practice throughout the news ink industry.