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Dreams + Action = Reality

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For several years now, I’ve been hearing comments from the
larger publishers within PMA that they want something similar to
what we present at Publishing University but better geared toward
the needs within their companies. We tried several approaches, most
of which didn’t work. Then I was at a seminar in Indianapolis
a few years ago that our Mid-America group was presenting. At this
event, one company—JIST Works—went through each and
every department within their company structure so that the
publishers present could get an idea of what was involved in a
company’s growth. I watched as Curt Matthews (at the time,
PMA’s President) began asking questions of Mike Farr, the
publisher at JIST. The session almost turned into a direct dialogue
between two peers, and a light bulb lit up in my head—just
like in the comic strips!

I returned home and began formulating a program with the help of
several of the PMA board members. Don Tubesing of Pfeifer-Hamilton
(then a board member) spearheaded the program, and it was in the
works for several years. Recently Ray Riegert of Ulysses Press
(currently a board member) helped bring it to fruition.

During our discussions, we decided to limit the participants to
no more than 20. We would direct them to a remote location where
there would be little access to phones, faxes, e-mail, or any other
outside distractions. Linda Ligon (currently a board member) of
Interweave Press recommended a location in Colorado that our group
could use exclusively for the three-day period.

This dream turned into a reality on April 7, 2000 at Gold Lake in
Ward, Colorado. We utilized a facilitator, who called all the
participants prior to the event to find out what their most pressing
concern was currently. The participants were also asked what their
area of expertise was so it could be shared with all the others
gathering. Our attendees came from all areas of the country and had
varied publishing expertise.

As one publisher stated, it was an “outstanding opportunity
for learning from each other. The diversity in size, content,
personalities made the experience even richer.… I’ve
now met 15 other people who I know I can call to get advice.…
Thanks for the great experience.” This publisher echoed the
thoughts and comments from the others. These participants now have
15 people with whom they can network and get immediate suggestions
on solutions to problems facing them.

Their only recommendation for improvement? Extend the time of
stay and block a full day to cover personnel issues, or the
Internet, or whatever the group thinks needs more time.

We on the PMA Board all wondered if this program would work. And
thanks to a huge amount of people (both on the board and those who
took a chance and attended this first event), it not only
worked—it succeeded!

We shall be incorporating this Advanced Publishers Retreat into
our educational program as a regular feature. Some of the 16
original attendees stated that they wanted the “first right of
refusal” on attendance at the next event.

By the way, I must admit that the headline of this article
isn’t original. However it fit so well that I decided to use
it and mention where it came from. A long-time PMA member, who I met
so long ago that I forget the year, produced a book for teens with
that title. I’ve always thought the book was spectacular and I
hope that Rico Racosky, Action Graphics, is achieving the success
with his book that he deserves, since he is a living role model of
that title.

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