Forging ahead

By Mark A. Spaulding

The continuing COVID-19 pandemic has somewhat shifted into a new phase as the delta variant is spreading rapidly. Mask-wearing and social distancing is again in vogue in many parts of the world. But as of this post, Converting Quarterly, AIMCAL and most industry events are forging ahead with plans for in-person programs, partly in light of about 75% of the US population now having been vaccinated at least once.

ABOVE: Converters Expo 2021 in Green Bay (WI) was the first in-person industry event I attended since the GAA Global Summit back in March 2019. While attendance was down since the last show, the event set a new record for exhibitors participating. 

Nowhere else has this good news been heard more positively than in the web-processing and finishing community. We’re clearly looking ahead to Oct. 17-21 for the co-located AIMCAL R2R Conference USA and ICEC USA 2021 trade show at the Orange County Convention Ctr. in Orlando, FL. Wrapped around the three-day show of converting machinery, materials, accessories and components will be the five-day annual educational and technical conference. Combined, the two events look to draw about 1,500 attendees to see 250+ exhibitors and learn from more than 90 technical presentations, four keynotes, and six Fundamentals Seminars.

But I personally think everyone’s favorite are all the networking opportunities to re-establish old friendships and to make new ones. The staff of Converting Quarterly recently got together – in-person – for the first time in at least 18 months for our 2022 Strategy Meeting. It was probably the most productive two days we’ve had in…at least 18 months, just because we were sitting around the same table. Zoom and Microsoft Teams are useful, but nothing can replace face-to-face communication.

So, as I said at the end of my previous post, “See you out there.”

ABOVE: Me and AIMCAL Member Outreach Director Tim Janes at this week's Converters Expo at the Lambeau Atrium.