Keeping up on best practice and current trends is a never-ending process in every industry. How do you keep up with all the information that is available?
Answer: When I started my association career in 1984, the ability to access information on topics of interest was nothing like it is today. To find information often entailed a trip to the library or some news magazine subscriptions.
Today, we are 180 degrees from there and are at information overload. The challenge now is sifting through all the information available to find relevant and factual material in a timely fashion.
To do so, I subscribe to 2 or 3 online industry news outlets. This allows me to keep abreast of the latest developments in terms of technology, plant closings, startups, mergers as well as relevant political and economic news. I also make it a point to attend industry trade shows at least once a year as well as appropriate management programs. The important thing is not to get bogged down in unnecessary detail. It’s not important to be a subject expert. It is important to review the subject once and know where to get more information.
Perhaps it’s my age or the industry, printing, but I try to read a printed trade magazine or report rather than online. For me, I find I can think more about, and retain more, when I am reading it is paper. Everyone is different so find what works for you.
Also, the best source of information is talking to people, in person, who know what they are talking about. That is one of the primary values of belonging to a trade organization. Find out what others in your industry are doing and discover ways that you can work together to strengthen your business and industry. A rising tide floats all ships!

What do you wish your legacy to be?
Answer: I have spent most of my working career managing Printing Industries Alliance, a trade association representing the printing industry. I hope my legacy is recognition for maintaining the organization as a resource for business owners and managers in a very distressed industry, to assist them in remaining economically successful, creating jobs, and paying taxes.

Significant change in a company can be problematic. How would handle such change in your company
Answer: It’s significantly less problematic if you’re ready for it. Create the culture where change is identified as appropriate and is expected. Change issues need to be illuminated and presented when it is way out on the horizon. Staff need to be trained in understanding the effect change will have on co-workers, customers, and the overall company. Share why it is really a new opportunity for learning and growth.

Our readers come from every industry and every stage in their careers. What would you like to say to them that will assist them in their journeys to success?
Answer: Don’t be afraid to try new things and perhaps make a mistake here and there. Of course, this can be nerve wracking depending on the magnitude of the decision you are pondering. Don’t hesitate to bring others into the decision making process. Get yourself organized and look at the issue/opportunity from all angles. What is the downside? Is the reward of the upside worth the risk of the downside? Think it through, use your common sense and pull the trigger. Win or lose, analyze the results, make necessary adjustments and more forward.

About Tim Freeman

Tim Freeman
Tim Freeman is President of Printing Industries Alliance, the trade association representing graphic communications and related businesses in New York State, northern New Jersey, and northwestern Pennsylvania. Printing Industries Alliance provides a variety of consultative, informational, educational, representative, and expense reducing business services to companies within its geographical footprint. Printing Industries Alliance is an independent regional affiliate of Printing Industries of America.

Tim joined Printing Industries Alliance in 1984 and was appointed President in 1988. His responsibilities include working with member companies to resolve individual and industry issues, representing industry interests at all levels of government, managing the organizations programs and services, maintaining organizational financial stability, sales and marketing activities, managing relationships with other industry organizations and educational institutions, etc.

In 2007, he led the organizations expansion into the Metro New York area following the demise of a predecessor organization. This action resulted, among other things, in the rescue and reinvigoration of the annual Franklin Event, now the Franklin Luminaire Awards program. The Franklin Luminaire Awards program is held annually and is a major source of scholarship funding for students interested in a career in graphic communications.

Tim works in the Printing Industries Alliance headquarters office in Amherst NY and travels frequently throughout the organizational territory. He resides in Grand Island, NY with his wife Cathy and 4 dogs.