Dancing Bravely on the Edge

Ask my daughters. They think my dancing style needs some help. [Perhaps that's one of the reasons I insisted they take dance as adolescents.] And we all know my sense of balance is precarious. [Just the other day at AWA Alexander Watson's Global Release Liner event, someone asked me if I'd recuperated from my fall in 2009 when I tripped and fractured my pelvis.] So dancing and balancing are only two of my more recent age-related challenges. Whatever. Regardless, I'm taking the brave risk of looking like a total fool — dancing on the edge, if you will — by saying: The year 2011 will finish as a good one for our industry.

So, you ask, just what makes me so confident? You told me so — both converters and suppliers — as well as the results from PFFC's exclusive Critical Trends industry survey. At every event I've attended this year, opinions have been consistent. Mind you, it's only April, and things could change almost instantly — Middle East turmoil and the Japanese earthquake and tsunami are only two cases in point — but despite these events of significant historic impact, we are managing to move forward.

Let's start with Converter's Expo in Green Bay, WI, on March 3. There were about 100 exhibitors vying for the attention of attendees at Lambeau Field Atrium. One exhibitor, Jeff Opad of Jemmco (also Wisconsin based), shared with me that the quality and caliber of registrants was an excellent investment for his company. In a video interview I conducted with organizer Susan Stansbury of Converting Influence (visit my blog at http://blog.pffc-online.com/yolanda), she said the expo drew from regional and national exhibitors and attendees alike from as far away as Germany! The fifth annual expo is scheduled for March 1, 2012.

Even Bob Fry, senior associate economist for DuPont, offered encouraging news with a moderate view of the world's events and their impact on our recovering global economy. Speaking at the Assn. of Intl. Metallizers, Coaters & Laminators' management meeting at the Boulders Resort on March 23 in Carefree, AZ, Fry reported the Great Recession officially ended June 2009. He explained that while recent events in the Middle East and Japan are troubling from political and humanitarian perspectives, he felt the recovery was strong enough to continue with only micro — not macro — negative impact.

At the AWA Mergers & Acquisitions and Global Release Liner conferences on March 30 and 31 at the Hyatt in Rosemont, IL, I learned private equity funding is now alive and well again, and from a business activity standpoint, manufacturing is on the upswing, despite the severe and continuing increases in materials costs.

Lastly, PFFC's May issue Critical Trends Survey will reveal hiring, profitability, revenue, research and development, business backlog, order volume, inquiry activity, and plant capacity utilization are all on the rise. See the numbers, then…May I have the next dance?

My friends call me…

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