Two years ago, SGIA President and CEO Ford Bowers asked if I was willing to travel to Australia. “Sure, why not?” I replied, having no idea of the adventure that awaited me.
It had all started with Ford and SGIAA President, Nigel Davies discussing ways to revitalize SGIAA’s membership. Ford’s first suggestion was color management training and certification, which is where I entered the picture.
Over the next year, I coordinated with Nigel, fleshing out the plan to introduce SGIA’s successful color management boot camps and Digital Color Professional certification program down under. One critical element was connecting with the right person to head up the program as lead instructor. Fortunately, Nigel connected with David Crowther of Colour Graphic Services, and for the next year, we all worked on the logistics, course adaptations to European specifications, and overall plan for delivering the first color management boot camp in Melbourne in early April.
At the end of March, after 20-some hours in the air, my wife and I (I was fortunate that she was able to join me for this trip) arrived in Melbourne. To help offset jet lag and acclimate to the new time zone, we visited the zoo and of course pet the kangaroos (isn’t that what everyone wants to do when visiting Australia?).
That Friday, I met with our event host, Peter Way of Starleaton (a local dealer for wide-format materials and equipment) to get everything set up and tested for the class beginning the following Tuesday. We went over the course materials, tested our printer connectivity (we used an Epson S80600 and an Epson P7070 for hands-on profiling) with Onyx (Onyx generously donated software and dongles for the class), and had a last-minute phone call with a prospective attending company about the course’s benefit to their operation. They registered their production manager and lead operator, and we now had a sold-out event!
As part of our preparations Monday, we did the final testing by creating a profile on each of the machines just to make sure all of our devices were working properly and to work out any final kinks.
With Tuesday’s arrival, we kicked off the first-ever SGIA color management boot camp in Australia. The students came from all across the industry including commercial printers with some wide format experience, sign and graphics wide-format shops, textile printers, and even an educator from the local RMIT University.The three days were filled with questions, hands-on training and great camaraderie. We shared stories about experiences and challenges, and even had to go back and fix a couple of the profiles that did not initially pass verification. That’s really what this workshop is all about. Learning how to overcome the challenge when something doesn’t work out quite right, how to assess print quality and color issues and fix them. It’s what makes the hands-on element work so well — real-world experience gained by learning from our mistakes in an environment where it’s safe to make them, so that students are better prepared when returning to their workplaces.
I’d be remiss without thanking those that helped make this event a success. Nigel Davies worked tirelessly to bring this event about. He is a volunteer at SGIAA, has three print manufacturing facilities (both screen print and digital print), and he writes software, because he just doesn’t have enough to do! Secondly, David Crowther, who will serve as the lead instructor for the Australian program. I was honored to work with him through this process. He taught me a lot about FOGRA and how to properly spell “colour,” along with a great deal about color management from the proofing perspective. Needless to say, the program will be in good hands with him. Last, but not least, is Peter Way. He is also very experienced in color management and had many good points throughout the event while being a fantastic host during setup and training.
This was an exciting journey — professionally and personally — and I look forward to seeing what’s to come with this program!