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Prepare for the SGIA Expo 2015

Specialty graphics take on Atlanta with new wide-format offerings and educational opportunities.



From November 4-6, the wide-format and digital printing community will gather 20,000 strong at Atlanta’s Georgia World Congress Center for SGIA Expo 2015. With focused zones and tracks, specialized training, and sessions by “dream team” experts, attendees will find a host of useful information and opportunities to increase their skills, not to mention the chance to meet with more than 500 vendors on the tradeshow floor. This year’s setting means an expo that promises “specialty imaging with Southern charm.”

“All the latest in wide-format inkjet equipment and all the continued refinements to those machines will be on display,” says Dan Marx, SGIA VP, markets & technologies. “Something else we have that other graphics shows don’t is the wide array of materials, be it printing media, laminates, finishing equipment – really everything a company would need from the start of the process to the end of the process.”

When and Where
The expo will be held at the Georgia World Congress Center, which is among the largest convention centers in the US. Located in downtown Atlanta next to Centennial Olympic Park and the Georgia Dome, the Center is within easy walking distance of several hotels; shuttles will run to other show hotels throughout the day.

The expo proper runs for three days, with some educational programming beginning on November 3 and attendee registration opening on November 2.
• Wednesday, November 4, registration opens at 7:30 a.m., training and educational sessions start at 8 a.m., special symposiums start at 8:30 a.m., and the show floor opens from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
• Thursday, November 5, registration opens at 8 a.m., the keynote breakfast is at 8:30 a.m., and the show floor is open from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
• Friday, November 6, registration opens at 8 a.m., and the show floor is open from 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Visitors can get a free pass to the Expo through October 13 by registering at the SGIA site; it’ll cost $25 for members and $35 for nonmembers after that. Individual sessions and the keynote cost $30 each for SGIA members and $40 for nonmembers ($33 and $45, respectively, starting October 14) with three- and six-session packages available at a discount. Special workshops and symposia range from $99 to $325 for members, $132 to $375 for nonmembers, with prices again rising on October 14. And full business packages are available for $296 for members and $396 for nonmembers, rising to $330 and $440 on October 14.

Click here for hotel booking information, as well as an interactive map of the show floor where attendees can browse exhibitors, mark booths they want to visit, and plan their routes through the floor.


Energizing Breakfast Keynote
Thursday morning kicks off at 8:30 a.m. with the keynote breakfast. This year’s speaker is influence expert Garrison Wynn, author of The Real Truth about Success, who will discuss sales and changing markets. Wynn is known for his motivational, humorous delivery, and he’ll tackle such topics as being the best printer versus being the selected provider for a print job in this high-energy session. Though you may be tempted to sleep in, cash in on a solid breakfast and an influx of ideas to start your day; last year’s keynoter didn’t disappoint.

Continuing Education Top Picks
Besides the show floor, there are special sessions of interest to Big Picture readers. Marx particularly recommends the “dream team” series: “For each of these, we’ve brought in business owners, or high-level or experienced production managers,” he says.
• Wednesday, 11 a.m., will see a presentation by the graphics business dream team, who will discuss “the business side of running a graphics business,” Marx says.
• Thursday, 11 a.m., the digital textile graphics team will take the stage – this session is “for people who are getting into soft signage or exhibit displays that use a good deal of printed fabrics. This team really represents every process step or material step in that area,” Marx says.
• Thursday, 3 p.m., features the graphics production dream team. “They’ll talk about workflow, automation, color control – all that kind of stuff that has production managers scratching their heads on a daily basis,” Marx says.

Other sessions of note include two different classes on vehicle wrapping each day starting on November 3. Limited to 10 people, Wrap Like a Pro will give a solid introduction and hands-on experience with the basics of vehicle wrapping. Extreme Vehicle Wrapping, also limited to 10 people, will explore techniques for wrapping difficult shapes, such as bumpers and mirrors.

Fabric and Sustainability Tips
Besides the formal sessions, attendees will also find educational opportunities in three special-interest zones on the show floor: the Digital Textile Printing Zone (booth 627), the Garment Zone (booth 3469), and the Sustainability Zone (booth 4471).

“We have a very strong partnership with the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership,” says Marx. “If you look at all the SGP-certified companies, the percentage that are from the specialty graphics community is really quite high. So, we tend to give our sustainability activities a high profile. The sustainability zone will have discussion tables that will help people see what the direction is for their business.” Discussions at the zone will cover energy efficiency, recycling, and other green business practices. Visitors will also find out about the EPA’s SmartWay program, explore alternative materials, and learn how to educate their customers on sustainability issues.

Reception Row
On Wednesday afternoon, after the show floor closes, visitors can mingle with their peers at Reception Row, a group of community-building happy hours addressing seven sectors of the specialty graphics industry. (We recommend the PDAA/Graphic Installers and Graphic Printers receptions.) Each reception requires an invitation, but attendees will receive invites with their registration materials, depending on how they identify their business sectors when they register.


Starter Kit
For a solid grounding in wide format, plan to get there by Tuesday for the half-day Wide Format 101 workshop, subtitled “Four Steps to Profitability.” The workshop features four experts who will give an industry overview, with sessions including:
• Introduction to Wide Format, delivered by Marx himself;
• Understanding Color Management, featuring Jim Raffel from Colormetrix;
• Mastering Finishing Technologies, (check here for a to-be-named presenter);
• And Pricing & Selling Wide Format, presented by David King of MarketKing.

“Wide Format 101 will give the newcomer a good preparation for hitting the tradeshow floor the next day,” Marx says.

Up to the Minute
To keep up with late-breaking news, pay attention to these social media sources:
Twitter: @SGIAExpo
Facebook: Specialty Graphic Imaging Association
LinkedIn: SGIA



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