Russ Newton, general manager of Bay Area Production Services and incoming president of the International Newspaper Group conference, recently spoke to News & Tech about his vision for the ING 2019 Conference. ING is a not-for-profit organization composed of international newspaper operations executives and industry suppliers, which meets once a year to exchange information.

News & Tech: What is the mission of the International Newspaper Group (ING)?

Newton: ING serves the newspaper industry by providing the premiere annual networking forum for executive-level print production & operations leadership to creatively exchange best practices and accelerate innovation toward improving production, and for vendor peers to help engage, enhance and empower our print operations to maximize cost effectiveness, productivity and profit.

News & Tech: Who should attend the ING conferences?

Newton: If you are the one in your organization responsible for print, logistics, distribution, workflows, integrated services, real estate/facilities and more. Operation executives continue to have expanding and evolving roles with about one-quarter of our members now handling real estates matters. Transportation and distribution issues are major with executives such as myself.

News & Tech: What is the benefit to executives?

Newton:Since the NEXPO conference ceased years ago, there has been no replacement conference dedicated to operations executives.

ING is the one event you must attend to learn how your fellow production/operations leaders and suppliers are navigating the sea of change affecting our businesses.

All the major vendors attend the conference too and are there to help educate and share user experiences as well. This makes ING a great place to network with peers and vendors. If you have a project going on, having all the vendors in one place is good. For the vendors, having all the decision-makers in one place is a gold mine.

Attendees can have one-on-one meetings with just about all the decision-makers in the industry. Participating in ING’s short Friday evening gathering/Saturday forum affords executives the chance to meet and mingle with other executives who have similar jobs as yours with many of the same issues and challenges you face. And they might have figured out a solution to a problem that you can use, too! Or have ideas on new revenue streams, or new ways of reducing costs. At the very least, getting to know others in the industry can come in handy when you need a part at 2:00 a.m.

Another benefit—we have linked our annual conference dates to mesh with PRINT; their show starts on Sunday so you can stay an extra day to see all the vendors’ equipment at the show. Plus, there are lots of great restaurants in Chicago as well!

News & Tech: What’s new for 2019?

Newton: We have engaged a dynamic keynote speaker, Keni Thomas (motivational speaker, singer and former Army Ranger). Every member of the ING board of directors is working on a subcommittee with the goal of making this the biggest, best ING possible in 2019. We have already secured over $30,000 in vendor support and we haven’t launched our real effort in this area yet.

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