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Monday, October 13, 2008

Puerto Vallarta Hosts WRA, Industry Leaders Brainstorm

By The PEiR Group

As we’ve mentioned here the past few days, I had the pleasure of attending the Western Reprographics Associations’ (WRA) Regional Conference in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico last week.

Great time, great location, and nice to see everyone. The Westin was the perfect venue, with beautiful pools, super food, and nice, big rooms. Beyond that, I thought I’d share some of my observations and experiences at this year’s WRA with you.

The conference was rather light on attendance this year, no doubt due to the international location and the state of the economy. Historically, the WRA is a largely social function where members and their spouses get together to share stories and common interests. Unfortunately this year, my wife was unable to attend so I ended up going alone.

There were several entertaining, informative and inspirational speakers this year and I ended up taking their lessons home with me. I was struck by Brian Shul’s presentation on Overcoming Adversity. Brian shared his story of perseverance and triumph over his own personal tragedy – being severely burned when his U.S. Air force jet crashed in Cambodia. Brian fought through his pain and months of rehabilitation to regain his place as a top Air Force pilot flying spy planes during the cold war period.

And then there was Suri Suriyakumar, Chairman, President and CEO of ARC, who shared his thoughts on The State of the Reprographics Industry and Where It’s Heading and how he positions ARC and the reprographics industry to investors and stock analysts he meets with around the country.

Suri’s presentation suggested that the future would be a rosy one for those reprographers who focus on technology and the transfer of technology to the design and construction community and non-AEC markets.

Suri emphasized the importance of staying close to your customers and learning their document processes. The key, he says, is to work closely with your customers to find ways you can offer improved efficiencies in their document management and document distribution processes.

Suri emphasized ways to leverage your existing technologies in Non-AEC markets. Identify markets that can benefit from the same services that you offer your architects, engineers and contractors. For example: Large Format Color Printing can be offered to retailers and fast food chains, scanning and document management services to governments and fortune 1000 companies, copying and printing services to hospitals, schools, lawyers, realtors and others.

It was a great way to spend a few days with friends and industry professionals who spend most of their time thinking about our industry’s future. I was pleased to have the opportunity to attend and, yes, I did manage to squeeze in a round of golf with colleagues and friends.

No, I won’t tell you who won the round!

Have a question about the WRA or the industry in general? Drop your comment in the “comments” section below and we’ll talk about it!



Anonymous said...

Tough time to be travelling that's for sure but Im sorry we missed WRA this year. A l ot of companies are cutting back on travel and other expenses and I guess we're one of those right now!! But thanks for the update on events in PV!!

The PEiR Group ( said...

We understand completely but are sorry you weren't able to join us this year. Thanks for writing and perhaps we'll see you at WRA next year... sooner if we're lucky!