2019 ING Leadership Networking Summit Set for Oct. 4-5 in Chicago

The ING Leadership Networking Summit will take place at the Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront.

Many years back, I attended a NEXPO show in Las Vegas. I wandered down a pathway behind one of the displays and instead of meeting up with excited vendors clamoring for my business like carnies trying to sell me three more darts to win the big prize, I came face-to-face with a little gray and white pigeon calmly having breakfast.  Apparently the big show provided enough floor food to entertain a stray bird, but not enough excitement and benefits to bring in the horde of attendees I was accustomed to at earlier gatherings.  Conferences seemed to be losing their luster and the expense for many smaller properties didn’t seem to justify the cost like it used to.

I’d been to several shows before and picked up quite a few wonderful new ideas. I knew attendance on the production side had dropped off over the years and as a result, vendors had also questioned their participation due to the expense associated and poor return on their investment.  I was a bit concerned that this could be the end of another era of networking for production individuals to exchange ideas and further develop expertise in our wonderful industry.

To my delight, not only does it appear the void has been filled, but it appears that ING (International Newspaper Group) has stepped up to provide production/operations executives with new and innovative ways to learn about our industry and take that experience back home to benefit their own operations.

In a press release from ING, Mark Hall, Postmedia Network regional director and incoming ING vice president said, “We are proud to introduce our 2019 ING directors to the industry, all of whom will be recognized by the newspaper industry as energetic, knowledgeable professionals driven for success.” 

Introducing the quality of talent that ING brings to our industry can alone be well worth the cost of admission to their upcoming event: the ING Leadership Networking Summit set for Oct. 4-5 in Chicago at the Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront.

In full disclosure, while some of this article was compiled using information provided by ING through their website, personal contact and promotional information, the core is based primarily on my personal viewpoint of the ING organization and the services it provides to our industry. Sincere thanks goes to Brian Blair of Strategic Marketing Communications and adjunct communications advisor to ING for providing answers to many of my questions regarding the conference.

Attendees will have the opportunity to tour Chicago Tribune’s Freedom Center.

Informational Programs

So, what can Chicago offer in October besides perhaps some nasty cold and windy weather? The answer is one of the most informational and exciting programs we’ve seen in awhile.

Referring back to the cost of admission, I posed the question to an ING representative. Although there is absolutely no arguing the benefits of their summit, many small and midsize newspaper publishers have dramatically cut their travel budgets. Profits simply are not what they used to be and many smaller properties, operating on a shoestring budget may not see the value or ROI in the program. Many of the properties I’ve worked at in my career have eliminated travel to summits and conferences all together due to expense reductions. Why is it important to attend the ING Leadership Networking Summit and what’s the return on investment that can justify this expenditure for some of our smaller properties?

I was quickly reminded of the reasonable cost of the program ($195) as well as the point that “history is not always an indicator of future results,” which I interpreted as saying this show is different and has quite a bit to offer. Don’t base this show on any past experiences, but instead look at it for what is will be—a dynamic and informative program that will provide production executives with a wealth of information and some exciting new ideas to benefit from.

After travel expenses, some smaller properties may still question spending perhaps a thousand or more dollars to attend the ING presentation; to this the response is one that made perfect sense based on my past experiences. If a newspaper operations executive can walk away with just one idea or recommendation they can implement back home, the cost should be viewed as an investment with a credible ROI, rather than entertainment expense. This truly appears to be a “must attend event” for production executives throughout our industry.

Here’s a brief rundown of the summit. I strongly advise you to take a look on the ING website for additional information.

The summit will feature two keynote speakers: Jason Taylor and Joe DeLuca. Those of you that have been around our industry for any amount of time are most likely familiar with both of these industry giants and ING couldn’t have selected two more qualified speakers to share their qualifications and many successes navigating through the rough roads of production and operations.

In addition to the wealth of experience both of these individuals bring to the summit, surely between now and October, changes will take place in our industry that will give both of these keynote speakers fuel to add to their already dynamic and powerful presentations.

Taylor is scheduled to present on Leadership, Revenue, and Cost Management in a Consolidating and Declining Market Space. He is president of New Media Investment Group Ventures, and president of GateHouse Live Promotions and Events, and was previously president of Gatehouse Media’s Western U.S. Publishing Operations.

With Taylor’s broad range of experience in publishing, I believe he is well qualified to deliver an exciting presentation that should provide useful information to any property navigating the ever changing world of consolidation and cost management in the current newspaper environment.

Joe DeLuca

DeLuca has shared his vast knowledge of our industry with many of us over the years. According to an ING promotional release, DeLuca is a well-known industry expert, newspaper captain and community leader. He is currently the executive vice president and general manager of the Times Publishing Co. in Tampa Bay, Fla. He is responsible for consumer marketing, operations and distribution. DeLuca will deliver the afternoon keynote speech and share from his hands-on experience producing 70 newspapers and 50 monthly publications along the East Coast. I believe this speaks to DeLuca’s accomplishments in our business and sets the stage for a powerful and informative presentation.

DeLuca is scheduled to present on embracing the challenge and leading the charge—current state of demand for our product; technologies impact on customer behavior and perception of our industry; and the path forward.

In this frequently turbulent time for newspapers, I personally think his presentation will speak directly to many of us in the industry. DeLuca’s experiences—tied to product demand, customer behavior and perception of our industry—are sure to provide everyone with a powerful message to take away from the summit.

The keynote lunch speaker is Keni Thomas, an author, speaker, musician, decorated former Task Force Army Ranger, a graduate of the University of Florida and the recipient of the bronze star for valor. It’s quite an impressive resume to bring to the ING Summit.

Keni Thomas

According to ING, Thomas’s message will inspire and stimulate attendees with valuable lessons from Black Hawk Down. To me personally, after reading the message Thomas is going to deliver, that alone would be worth the entire cost for the summit.

His message is one we all should practice in our daily operation: “Leadership has never been about rank or the position you hold. It’s about the example you set. There are people to your left and to your right who are counting on you and it’s up to you to deliver. But you will only be as good as you prepared yourself to be.”

In addition to these three keynote speakers, two experts are on tap: Dee Anna Hays and TJ Freno.

Hays is board certified in labor and employment law by the Florida Bar. She has represented employers in all aspects of labor and employment law compliance and litigation for more than 11 years. A growing part of her practice focuses on occupational safety and health issues; these areas of expertise should provide production executives with useful information and guidance. She is scheduled to present on OSHA, labor law and Hot Off the Press updates.

Freno is the manager of strategic programs for Orion Talent. He helps companies to acquire skilled professionals using targeted strategies for optimizing recruitment processes, finely matching employment opportunities with candidate skills. His presentation is scheduled to inform attendees on how to attract, reward and retain manufacturing talent in today’s market.

Expert Panels

In addition to serving up a powerful array of industry leaders and dynamic professionals from other fields, ING will also offer a series of expert panels along with network sessions with fellow executives. Expert panels will be facilitated by both current and past ING professionals.

International Print Peers: Quality, Cost, Expertise: With 37 years in our industry, Mark Hall, ING vice president, will serve as the panel facilitator.

Logistics and Distribution—Meeting Today’s Demands: ING president Russ Newton will serve as panel facilitator. Newton is the general manager of Bay Area Production Services. His past roles include president and COO of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Hearst executive director of operations, SVP of operations at the Los Angeles Times, and president and director of operations—California Community News.

Profits from Nothing, Zero Waste: ING immediate past president Joe Bowman will serve as panel facilitator. He is vice president of operations for The Plain Dealer Publishing Co. in Cleveland, Ohio.

In addition, on Oct. 4, there will be several networking opportunities for summit attendees. The first I’ve had the pleasure to experience a time or two and strongly recommend it to all attendees. You’ll come away from a tour of the Chicago Tribune’s Freedom Center in awe. From their robotic newsprint delivery system to their incredible presses and front-end operation, this is one impressive facility.

  • Local tour of Chicago Tribune Freedom Center
  • Custom networking and informational tour of the Tribune’s 10 press campus, prepress, newsprint warehouse and prepress area for newspaper exec attendees.
  • Guided tour at PRINT 19
  • Custom APTech/PRINT presentation and guided tour of show floor at McCormick Place
  • ING opening networking reception
  • Networking dinners

A networking session opens up the day on Oct. 5, followed by a 2019-2020 networking plan, discussion regarding continuing network through the year, closing remarks and networking reception, and networking dinners.

ING shared with me a survey used to evaluate what production/operations executives regarded as beneficial and helpful to their management experience. I was extremely impressed to see how ING took this survey information and incorporated it into the ING Leadership Networking Summit tailored to the feedback. It shows that not only does the ING organization know and understand production, but also clearly shows their desire to present attendees with informative and detailed programs relevant to the daily needs of newspaper professionals.

Each response to the survey questions will be represented in some manner contained in the summit. What an impressive and meaningful way for an organization to represent its industry. We should all be proud and honored to have ING in our corner. 

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include Russ Newton as a panel facilitator.

Jerry Simpkins has more than 30 years of experience in printing and operations in the newspaper industry. Contact him on LinkedIn.com or at simpkins@tds.net.

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