Jessica Harkins named 2014 FTA Forum Co-Chair: Getting Ready for Baltimore

The Flexographic Technical Association’s annual Info*Flex exhibition last April in San Diego was a big hit, but that doesn’t mean the FTA isn’t constantly looking for ways to improve the event and respond to the needs of their members.

Anderson & Vreeland’s own technologies manager Jessica Harkins has been selected to co-chair the FTA’s 2014 Info*Flex conference, which will be held at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore on April 28 and 29. Her co-chair is Pepper Stokes, chief operating officer at Robbie Fantastic Flexibles in Lenexa, Kansas.

infoflex 2014

The duties of the co-chairs include working together with the FTA staff to sort through the data and feedback they received about 2013 Info*Flex. What are they looking for? Session and topic ideas, and people who are willing to help out during the 2014 conference.

[quote]“We’re generating new ideas to keep the content fresh, polling customers and converters to see what’s trending and what their concerns are,” says Harkins, to ensure the educational content is current and useful. [/quote]

infoflex 2014For 2014, the committee is trying a new approach, says Stokes. They’re looking for ways to freshen up the sessions and streamline the process. Historically, the FTA decided on session topics independently, and the sessions themselves were often quite long, sometimes up to 3 hours. But now they’re flipping the method a bit by actively soliciting ideas first, and then putting the schedule together. Look for shorter sessions as well, says Stokes, as the FTA wants to be more responsive to attendees’ schedules and information needs.

[quote]“We’re looking at how to make it more engaging, trying to make it more active and trying to make sure it’s informative,” says Stokes. [/quote]

One common response the FTA received from last year’s conference was that attendees want more actual printers presenting new techniques and ideas with great takeaways for their own businesses. Of course, the challenge with doing this, Stokes points out, is that no one wants to give away their trade secrets. So the group will be looking for ways to satisfy both needs.

Now that they have a set of potential session ideas, the next couple of meetings will be used to filter and refine to assemble a calendar.

How You Can Get Involved

Right now, they’re reaching out to ask for participation. “This is your chance to get your ideas out there,” says Harkins.

Want to get involved in next year’s FTA conference? Stokes recommends joining the FTA’s LinkedIn group, where he’s already put out a call for feedback.

If you want to present, go to the FTA site and complete the Call for Abstracts form. They’re particularly interested in new tools and technologies, process control, and regulatory issues. If you’re an expert in any of these topics, take the opportunity to share what you know with the flexo community.

And if you’d like to get in touch with co-chair Jessica Harkins with ideas, questions, or feedback, she’d love to hear from you.


FTA Call for Abstract Submission Form


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