Commitment to Excellence

It's no small feat to reach a 75-year anniversary milestone. So PFFC — which itself is 81 years young — extends a most heartfelt congratulations to the Tag & Label Mfrs. Inst. (TLMI) for realizing this noteworthy achievement. This month we are giving special recognition to the organization for its commitment to excellence in our “TLMI 75-Year Diamond Anniversary” special report, starting on p43.

If ever there was a common theme spanning the history of an organization, while simultaneously reflecting the singular goal of an industry as broad as our converting business, it certainly is one of commitment to excellence. As a frequent attendee at converter and annual meetings as well as technical conferences — not to mention expositions and complementary conference programs — I have been privileged to hear or work alongside some of the industry's most innovative and knowledgeable leaders.

While the covered subject matter at TLMI meetings may have been widely diverse, each event featured expert speakers that encouraged attendees to recognize and improve excellence in their workplaces, using a host of creative and frequently entertaining techniques.

Spread before me as I write these words is a pile of PFFC issues with recorded recollections of past TLMI meetings serving as testimony to the excellent caliber of content. Of the more recent meetings that stand out, I'm reminded of lessons learned.

My all-time favorite TLMI meeting was chaired by Suzanne Zaccone of GSI and John Eulich (now retired from Mark Andy). It featured Dr. Beck Weathers, a Mt. Everest co-survivor with John Krakhour, who wrote the best-selling novel Into Thin Air. Dr. Weathers had been a highly successful cardiologist and part-time mountaineer when his wake-up call to life came as he performed the act of literally opening his eyes after being left for dead at the peak of Mt. Everest. The audience rose to a full standing ovation at the close of his speech upon recognizing, in their own climb to the top, the necessity to find balance as a survival skill to succeed in this adventure we call life.

Another favorite meeting was chaired by Michael Ritter of Superior Business Assoc. The information from this meeting was highly implementable with a focus on waves of change and oceans of opportunity, including speakers that addressed how to remain relevant as a converter and how to grow business by determining what your customers are doing — not your competition.

But the session I remember most at this meeting featured Amanda Gore who inspired attendees to put some heart and fun back into business by connecting heart to head, letting go, laughing, loving, and learning. She had us wiggling our back sides, making ridiculous noises, and shaking little yellow give-away finger puppets at each other. My puppets are strategically positioned on my desk serving as a reminder to have fun at work and to share the wealth.

Yet another meeting chaired by Dan Taylor of Taylor Made Labels kicked off with a session on “The Subconscious Aspects of Business.” Speaker Anthony Galie literally hypnotized the audience. I learned I was one of the weakest-looking wanna-be weight lifters on stage while another woman expressed herself in “plain” gibberish, fully expecting the moderator and audience to understand her. Galie's visualizing techniques helped people stay focused on their goals.

And most recently at the meeting chaired by Craig Moreland of Coast Label, I experienced one of those “duh!” moments when I learned from keynote speaker Chuck Martin that all people have 12 executive skills, which become hard wired by the time they're 21. In recognizing a person's innate assets and limitations, managers can place people in positions that take best advantage of their strengths. It was the old concept of forcing a square peg in a round hole. I could have saved myself a lot of sleepless nights if I had known this 13 years ago.

In this issue's commemorative TLMI section, trace the history of what was once a simple tag association, formed during the challenging times of the Great Depression, and follow how it grew to become today's tag and label industry with a strong entrepreneurial base committed to excellence.

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