By Dr. Joe Webb on April 29th, 2013
Neil Richards, retired market research executive (and legend) of Kodak, spread the word about the end of Terry Nagi’s battle with brain cancer the other day after getting the news by phone from Terry’s wife, Barbara. I’ve known Neil for more than thirty years, and it was Neil who introduced me to Terry. At the time, Terry was the executive director of GAMIS, the Graphic Arts Marketing Information Service, part of Printing Industries of America. GAMIS was a vibrant organization of market research and planning executives of vendors, printers, and paper companies, meeting together and funding research. There were very few sources of data about printing, and GAMIS was one that had not just historical data, but also analysis by top consulting firms like Battelle and Arthur D. Little about the future of technology and the industry.
Unfortunately, I was getting involved in GAMIS around the time in 1982 that Terry’s tenure was coming to a close. But it was clear from the cohesiveness of the organization that his skills and guidance were significant. How else could so many members of divergent interest and purpose be so supportive of each other? Frank Romano “always respected his dedication to the industry” and noted that Terry “…had a challenge balancing the paper, prepress, press, typesetting and other factions. He did a good job moving consensus agendas along.”
He was always introducing people and telling them why they needed to know each other. He made sure they got involved in the flow of research at GAMIS and that their skills were well-used. Whenever I asked for advice in my role as representative from Chemco Photoproducts, it was always timely and always opened a new research door for me.
Terry’s life in the printing industry began in the business forms industry, and then as the vice president of marketing for Western Publishing. In 1973, he became an executive at Printing Industries of America. In 1974, Terry took over for the GAMIS founder, Henry Paulsen, who had retired. Terry left PIA in 1983. He spent the rest of his career consulting to printing companies, large and small.
Dee Gentile, who is now at Printing Industries of America, was a GAMIS representative for AM International and later for Mergenthaler Linotype. She said that “…it was hard to imagine who could take Henry Paulsen’s place, but his “son” did, with his matching look, beard and all, and commitment to the print industry.” Terry had worked alongside Henry as his retirement was nearing. “What I do well-remember about Terry was his boundless energy, enthusiasm and his ideas, combined with his love of the printing industry. He always said it was the greatest industry with the best people ever. The meetings were filled with information and ideas along with fantastic conversations and networking and gatherings that were not to be missed.”
GAMIS meetings were definitely not to be missed because of all of the marketing, economics, and technology information that was provided by leading speakers and thinkers in the industry. One of the regular speakers was the Commerce Department’s specialist for printing and publishing, Bill Lofquist. “Terry Nagi was one of the smartest, sharpest men I’ve ever met,” Bill says. “Missing a GAMIS meeting was unthinkable: there was so much information and analysis being delivered, with so many opportunities for networking. He was at the forefront of an industry in transition and his impact was significant.”
One of the people who worked with Terry early in her career was Jackie Bland, the director of PRIMIR, the organization that GAMIS became when it moved from PIA to NPES. Terry’s assignments at PIA were many and varied. “I was his first executive assistant and he was the Director of Marketing. He was responsible for not only GAMIS, but also the Security Lithographers Section, Conference Board of Major Printers and a number of other special industry groups of PIA. He also was involved in the Comprint International program as well as the GraphComm USA program and research report. Terry also ran the Sales & Marketing Executives group and conferences. And, of course he has authored probably a half dozen books on sales & marketing topics, some of which are still available. Terry was a brilliant sales & marketing guy and a terrific mentor for me. He taught me so much about publicity, promotion, sales & marketing, and conference and association management.”
Neil Richards summed it up best. “GAMIS truly became the industry source for unimpeachable market research under Terry. This was in a time when market research in commercial environments was virtually non-existent. Terry was the consummate market researcher, but also the consummate marketeer at a time when PIA and GAMIS and the printing industry needed both desperately. Terry was many things to PIA, GAMIS, and the industry, but most of all, to me he was a wonderful friend. He was an inspiration to make GAMIS and what its members did the best we could. He brought joy as well as wisdom to those who knew him, and that was an unbeatable combination.”
A memorial service for Terry will be held on May 24 at Georgetown Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC. The date is Terry’s birthday; he would have turned 74 years old this year.
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