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An Interview with New SGIA President Ford Bowers

(February/March 2016) posted on Thu Mar 03, 2016

Did he find print, or did it find him? What's next for the Expo? Will screen printing disappear?

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By Steve Duccilli

SP: And that’s coming from the market sector that has been most affected by the digital transformation. Just about every market segment now is at some stage of that process as well. SGIA has done a good job of rebranding itself to support both the screen and digital communities. Is that a direction the association will continue to go?

FB: Yes. Some of our markets at SGIA are still predominantly screen. I have yet to get to know them all intimately, but we have garment, printed electronics, and industrial applications. There is still a very high presence of screen in those industries, and they are growing.

It’s a challenge for us because we serve so many different types of printers and market spaces. How do we create a coherent brand? Of course, we came up with the moniker “specialty graphics” to encompass what are really a lot of different marketplaces using numerous technologies and serving multiple industries. It’s very difficult to wrap your mind around how to message for that – how to be inclusive, and develop each of those sub-communities, and do it fairly without treating any segments as though they aren’t driving the bus. It’s a challenge.

I have not looked at it from an industry-wide perspective until now because I did have that background [in retail graphics]. Now I’m tasked with doing that, and the plan is to have a lot of conversations in the next year, to go out and meet folks in each of these industry segments to ask them what their horizons look like, where they are heading, and what they see affecting them. There’s a tremendous blurring of the different sectors. Technology has changed who prints what kinds of stuff and people can move in and out of different market sectors. The barriers to doing that aren’t negligible, but they aren’t considerable either at this point. I think it’s a fascinating time.

SP: To your point about the growth in many market sectors, it’s been interesting to watch how the SGIA show has grown so successfully when virtually every other major printing exhibition has declined.


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