34 Years Strong and Still Changing
Did you know that in the first few years of business starting in 1912 Sharp invented the first snap buckle and eventually built the first mechanical pencil? But now when you see Sharp, you probably think of flat screen HDTVs, microwaves and calculators. And yes, they still make pencils.
Just like Sharp, Omnipress too started out doing one thing and has adapted and changed over the years.
Long ago in downtown Madison, WI, Omnipress was born as a small shop college printer in 1977. And over the past 30+ years, it has grown into well-known company in the association and meetings industry through printing, collecting abstracts online, managing online knowledge centers and online social media event communities.
And yes, we still crank out millions of printed pages each year, but technology and people have forced us to change.
Here’s a Brief History of Omnipress
1977 – Omnipress opens shop as a college printer focusing mainly on university text books in Madison, WI. Professors and students seek new printing company.
.1982 – We become the “proceedings printer” for associations focusing on printed proceedings books and manuals for annual conferences and seminars. Services include collecting and managing bazillions of hard copy papers and manually pasting page numbers, heading and footers for printing.
1987 – We relocate from downtown Madison to next to the airport (and get to hear big F-16 jets taking off regularly – It’s like Top Gun every week.)
1990 – This marks the beginning of the digital delivery era for Omnipress as we began putting large volumes of content on floppy (yes, those little 3.5” diskettes). Imagine a binder with 27 diskettes? At this same time, we started reformatting let’s just say, “a lot of technical manuscripts.”
1994 – We start expanding to the point we had to add on to our product facility and office areas.
1995 – Still conference focused, we changed from floppies to CD-ROMs – Converting content to PDF and creating interfaces to access the materials and duplicating discs.
2000 – Just when the Internet was starting to gain momentum, we began placing meeting content in PDF format online for single events and large volume archives.
2001 – We start collecting final presentations and technical papers online from author and presenters for conferences. And even then, some authors still mailed in their materials.
2003 – The original black Omnipress logo retires and is replaced with the blue logo – Which seems fitting as it also marked an accelerated shift towards printing more in color.
2005 – Another media shift has us producing content on flash drives which rounded out our core delivery options in print, CD, online and flash drives – We’re no longer just “another printer.”
2006 – We partner with the University of Wisconsin’s Department of Engineering and Business to implement Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM) to lower turnaround times and improve our development of services.
2007 – Omnipress rebrands into “Helping you Deliver Knowledge” and provides creative solutions using any and all media types to educate members and attendees.
2008 – We start sending our crew to meetings to capture breakout sessions then offer post-event synchronized slides to audio outputs to associations. We also hit the social media scene with the launch of our blog, “The Conference Handouts” chock full of best practices, tips and cost-saving ideas. Facebook and YouTube pages are also created to show the lighter side of Omnipress.
2009 – Keeping up with the social online world, we launch Conference 2.0 event communities to help event go’ers engage with one another before and after meetings.
2010 – We launch the Engage365 community knowledge center to help event professionals learn best practices and gain insights to social media for events (by the end of 2010 over 1,000 members join).
We also expand two major services:
- Order Fulfillment for Association Training and Publications — This includes order processing and integration, print on demand, inventory management, and fulfillment to help simplify the management and distribution of training materials to events and publication to members.
- Online collection, review and management of abstracts and final presentations — This gives meeting/education professionals a single, complete “Call for Papers to final outputs partner.”
2011 – Online knowledge center solutions are launched to help associations drive growth by using their educational meetings and publication content. This solution replaces the phasing out conference recording service. By taking educational content and making it more useful, available, accessible and montizable (<–it’s our made up word), it empowers associations to be the central hub of knowledge in their industry.
Summer of 2011 – Omnipress As Your “Big Ideas People”
Since we’ve always been about educational content and as we’re always using our best practices from serving our 800 clients, we’ll take the field this summer a team who , “Provides ‘big ideas’ to associations for their educational content.”
You can look forward to a new website to find ideas and practical solutions for collecting and sharing content with your members and attendees. The website will not only focus on just the meetings industry, it will offer solutions engineered towards association training events and educational publications.
And regardless of what we do, those F-16’s are still buzzing the tower with their “fly-by’s” trying to spill my coffee!