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Terry Nagi, Consultant, and Former PIA Executive, Passes Away

By 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.

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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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  1. 13 Responses to “Terry Nagi, Consultant, and Former PIA Executive, Passes Away”

  2. By Rachel Ann Shattah on Apr 30, 2013 | Reply

    I was privileged to know Terry for a long time and I salute him as being a great individual, teacher/trainer, industry inovator and leader. Terry made himself available when asked to help any PIAG member,he provided leading edge programs and was particularly talented at connecting people to solutions to their problems.

  3. By Patrick Whelan on Apr 30, 2013 | Reply

    Sad news indeed. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and collaborating with Terry for nearly 20 years. His wit and candor are two of the things I will never forget. My condolences to his family.

  4. By Jackie Bland on Apr 30, 2013 | Reply

    Nice piece, Joe. Terry will certainly be missed by the industry. His mentoring and confidence in my abilities gave me the confidence to apply for the Managing Director position at GAMIS several years after he moved on. And the skills he taught helped me carry on with not only the direction of GAMIS, but also the culture of this great research organization that eventually became PRIMIR.

  5. By Steven Schnoll on Apr 30, 2013 | Reply

    A great man lost. May his lasting memory be an inspiration for all who knew him.

  6. By Andrew Gordon on Apr 30, 2013 | Reply

    Beautifully written. Terry would be honored by your words. Our industry could use more people like Terry. He was a gem.

  7. By Dawn Lospaluto on May 1, 2013 | Reply

    I was privileged to work with Terry on a number of books he wrote for NAPL and am saddened to learn of his passing. He was a keen industry observor and a straightforward advisor whose insight and intelligence will be missed.

  8. By Simon Lewis on May 1, 2013 | Reply

    I was privileged to work with Terry in the 1990s when did he performed a consulting project in connection with the 74 Karat DI press from Scitex + KBA. He was a gentleman, a professional and a “mensch” – a good human being. May his family be comforted.

  9. By Norman Belanger on May 2, 2013 | Reply

    I was blessed to be able to discuss issues of mutual interest with Terry when I started my consulting adventure in the printing industry in the mid 80s. He was always unselfish and willing to help.

  10. By Wayne Peterson on May 2, 2013 | Reply

    I was saddened to read of Terry Nagy’s passing, I met Terry first in the mid-1980’s at PIA’s first Marketing Institute in Miami. And I enjoyed the sporadic contact I had with him from that point forward. For me, very early in my career, he affirmed my belief that marketing was both central and a critical void in most printing companies. He reviewed, applauded and provided critical feedback for the business plan I wrote to recreate the prepress company where I had my first general management assignment. And he cheered me on as I implemented it. He remembered me each time we crossed paths, even when several years had passed and was always glad to see me. I knew of his struggle with cancer, and we’ve lost one of the good guys.

  11. By John Kypriotakis on May 2, 2013 | Reply

    The Printing Industry will surely miss his insight. May he rest in peace.

  12. By Willie Brennan on May 4, 2013 | Reply

    Thank you for a well written tribute to one of the industry’s pioneers. I too was blessed to learn from his unique insight in the late 80’s.

    Peace to him and his family.

  13. By Jim Olsen on May 4, 2013 | Reply

    Terry was my angel.

    I remember the day well. It was in March of 1982, when I received a call from Terry who said: “Hi Jim, this is Terry Nagi, I’m Executive Vice President of PIA, and I have a job here I think you would like.” In two weeks I was working for Terry as VP of Management Services at PIA. In a flash, I had gone from having to worry about meeting print production deadlines 24 hours a day, to helping all those PIA members that still had to meet those deadlines. On many a day, I actually left the office at 5:00pm – something that heretofore had been rare occurrence in my life.

    More importantly, Terry brought me into a new exciting world. One that allowed me to use my imagination and creativity. The print world was changing. The tidal wave of the digital age was rising, new methodologies of quality control were being introduced, presses were faster and quality was increasing. Literally every aspect of the industry was changing. Terry was smack dab in the middle of it, and brought me along with him. He allowed me freedom of thought and expression, and allowed me to use my own initiative.

    He changed my life.

    To this day, I’ve been grateful.

    Goodbye my friend. Like the rest of us, you had your foibles, but they paled in comparison to what you gave our industry and to me personally.

    My love and prayers.


  14. By Pamela Conover on Jun 30, 2013 | Reply

    I always thought of Terry as the expert when it came to the strategic print sales and marketing and whenever the opportunity arose to attend one of his seminars or read one of his books, I did, and I was never disappointed. Having met him on various occasions he was always inspiring. A dynamic individual and a dynamo in our industry.

    God bless him.