Ink World Q&A: NAPIM’s John Copeland – Covering printing inks, coatings and related industries

It’s a time of change for the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers (NAPIM). The ink association hired a management company, Seven 12 Management, to manage NAPIM. Meanwhile, John Copeland, executive director of NAPIM for six and a half years, is retiring.

During his 44 years in the ink industry, John has seen the industry evolve. He began his lifelong interest in graphic arts as a high school student. After high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served for three years, from 1975 to 1978. Upon returning home, he attended Sinclair College, Dayton, OH, where he earned a degree in graphic arts technology / printing science.

In 1978 John began his career in the printing ink industry at Sinclair & Valentine in Dayton, OH as a lab technician. During his 44 year career, John has held a variety of positions including Laboratory Manager, Technical Service, Product Development Manager, Plant Manager, Sales Representative, Technical Manager and Vice – President of Operations. His last position before joining NAPIM was President of Toyo Ink America, LLC.

In 2007, John was elected to NAPIM’s Board of Directors and later as an Officer. John received the Printing Ink Pioneer Award in 2011. In 2015 John joined NAPIM as Executive Director. He will retire from NAPIM in April 2022.

John is married, has five children and eleven grandchildren. His main hobbies are playing guitar, golf, and studying the history of printing and printing inks.

As he heads into retirement, John shared his thoughts on NAPIM and the ink industry.

IW: You have been leading NAPIM for six and a half years. How has NAPIM and the ink industry changed during this time?

John Copeland: Thanks Dave. NAPIM and the printing ink industry have gone through a number of changes over the period you mentioned. We have seen a number of member companies sold, bought and/or merged, supply chain issues escalate to unprecedented heights, virtual meetings and conferences have grown, rates have increased, l importance of our industry as essential growth and the all time high price increases for raw materials, to name a few!

IW: How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted NAPIM, and how has NAPIM evolved during the pandemic (virtual conferences, etc.)?

John Copeland: Of course, all of our live events have been canceled lately. The 2021 Fall Technical Conference was held in Oak Brook, Illinois last October. This was the first live event in nearly three years. The good side of NAPIM is that we were able to adapt some of our events virtually and even add two new conferences in 2021! We had to learn new technologies to make these events work. We have had success with virtual events and will now be able to continue to use these technologies as needed.

IW: How will NAPIM continue to play a major role in the future?

John Copeland: Personally, I believe that print is still a foundation of communication. It’s still important and relevant. Print will remain necessary for trade marketing, packaging of all types, education, specialist applications, publications, reading and emergency distribution of documents in times of crisis.

NAPIM has been around for over 100 years. Printing applications and technology will continue to evolve and change, but the need for NAPIM to represent the industry will remain. Environmental issues, industry training, safety, government regulations and compliance needs will always be changing and confusing for many. NAPIM will always be needed for all of these reasons.

IW: What did you like the most as Executive Director of NAPIM?

John Copeland: I have enjoyed meeting and getting to know so many great people in our industry from so many great companies and organizations. This was the highlight for me!

IW: Is there anything you would like to add?

John Copeland: It’s been a great industry to work in since 1978! I wish the best of luck to all our member companies, the printing ink industry and Seven 12 Management who now manage NAPIM.

I appreciate all the past presidents and board members who have worked so hard to keep our industry focused. I appreciate all of my predecessors since 1916, and especially Jim Coleman and Brad Bergy for their time and assistance as two recent executive directors before me. Finally, it was a pleasure and a privilege to work with George Fuchs during this period. George works very hard for NAPIM and does a great job for our industry!


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