GLGA News: Great Lakes Graphics Association’s Response to PRINTING United Alliance Proposal

March 4, 2021 – This past year has brought many challenges to both our professional and personal lives. Through it all, we thank you for your continued membership and support of the Great Lakes Graphics Association (GLGA).

In January 2021, PRINTING United Alliance (PrUA) CEO Ford Bowers presented the GLGA Executive Committee Officers with a plan to alter the structure and operations of how PrUA engages with GLGA and all of its twenty North American Affiliates of the former Printing Industries of America (PIA). While the proposal significantly alters a month-to-month terms and conditions agreement signed by GLGA and PrUA in May 2020, GLGA and its Board of Directors evaluated the PrUA proposal with the hope that the strategy it outlined would result in a stronger association and industry. Our due diligence revealed quite a different picture. Hence, all affiliates chose not to adopt the PrUA proposal.

PrUA Seeking to Strip GLGA’s Elected Board Representatives of Control

Prior to the merger of PIA and SGIA, the needs of our members were defined and addressed by GLGA, with periodic support from our national partner, PIA. In contrast, the proposal by PrUA seeks to immediately reduce the size and scope of GLGA, and cede its finances, management and governance to PrUA.

GLGA services are of course dependent upon a staff charged with their development and delivery. Had GLGA agreed to the PrUA proposal, GLGA would experience a net operating loss of $232,000 in the first year alone.  To this end, the Association’s ability to maintain regionally focused programs would be significantly limited and the value GLGA offers members would be significantly diminished. Ford Bowers acknowledged that it will take years to expand PrUA level of services to replace those lost under the revised proposal. It is for this reason that the GLGA Board and all twenty sister affiliates throughout North America declined to adopt the PrUA proposal.

GLGA’s Commitment to Providing a Member Return on Investment

It should be noted that during GLGA’s Board of Directors due diligence, member return on investment was addressed. In 2011, GLGA created a return on investment module in its database to measure how its members benefit from both national and local membership. In 2015, GLGA membership received $158,535 in ROI from participating in national programs and services. Unfortunately, that number has steadily declined over the past several years and sank to $30,471 in 2020. This was mainly a result of national services and benefits that have been cut because PrUA deems them unprofitable. It should be noted that is exactly the opposite of GLGA’s mission. There have been many services developed by the Association over the years that are unprofitable. This has been especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic, where the Association created and developed unprofitable services not because they would make money, but because they created a significant return on investment for members and the industry at-large. Finally, GLGA is committed to local services that mean a great deal to members. These include networking opportunities, member-ask-a-member listserv questions, wage and benefit reports in state GLGA markets, human resource information through MRA, and personalized assistance. Unfortunately, without the local Affiliate, these services would be reduced or cancelled.

What Does This Mean to You and Your Company?

There is NO CHANGE to GLGA services and benefits, or your access to those delivered by PrUA through the terms and conditions agreement that is currently in effect. In addition, a cooperative of sister Print Affiliates is already developing a set of products and services for affiliate members that would enhance those currently being delivered by PrUA.

It is our belief that as an industry, we are stronger together. We look forward to the continuation of our partnership with PrUA that serves the needs of our membership. Because in the end, GLGA is your Association, and its staff and directors will always put the needs of its members and the industry first.


Kirk Larsen
President, Graphics Partners
GLGA Chair
Shane Lauterbach
President, Lauterbach Group
GLGA Vice Chair

Click here for a printable pdf of this letter.