Graham Graham Lowe - APCOM President
Staffordshire County Council
Graham will hold the role of APCOM president from 2012 to 2014.
Graham is the Finance & Support Services Manager of Print Commissioning Services in Staffordshire County Council and moved to print in 2004, bringing over 20 years’ experience in local authority trading service management.
Graham joined the former Central Print Unit at a time of considerable uncertainty and has overseen projects that have significantly changed printing services in Staffordshire. Most significantly the former print unit was restructured and re-branded resulting in major business improvement and a recent relocation to purpose built premises. Graham often states that APCOM membership has played a major part in Staffordshire’s successes. Print Commissioning Services now provides a successful centralised corporate access point for a diverse range of print services including graphic design, litho, digital, variable data, finishing, procurement and project management.
Anthony Evans - APCOM Immediate Past President
City and County of Swansea
Anthony held the role of APCOM president from 2010 to 2012. He has been an active member of APCOM since 2003 and was formerly editor of the magazine, APCOM Secretary and Vice President.
In his full time capacity, Anthony is the Manager of the City and County of Swansea, DesignPrint unit, which incorporates graphic design, large format, both digital and litho print processes, transactional printing, management of the council MFD fleet, and a professional print buying service for the authority. Originally trained as a Technical Illustrator and Graphic Designer, Anthony has a broad range of experience spanning 26 years in the print sector. As a graphic designer and studio manager for a 100 year old printing company, Anthony was instrumental in bringing the then new Apple Mac technology to the studio and developing reprographic services around this. He was also a part time lecturer in graphic design and DTP.
Anthony moved to the public sector in 2000 bringing commercial experience gained in the private sector to a developing in-plant facility.
Anthony has 3 sons, all playing football, rugby, cricket, etc., so spends most weekends on the touch line, and is chairman of the local junior football club.
Mark Barlow – APCOM Executive Member (Past President)
Mark is the Head of Design & Services at Blackpool Council, which incorporates Graphic design, wide format, both digital and litho processes, transactional printing, management of the council MFD fleet, promotional items, including garments/mugs/key rings etc. and a professional print buying service for the authority.
Originally trained as a Computer Graphic Designer, using such diverse software as GEM Ventura, CorelDraw and Paintbrush, Mark has a broad range of experience within the Public Sector and Printing. Initial duties involved Estimating and Accounting, whilst continuing to build on the Design aspects as a sideline, with the onset of new technology the old Compugraphic Editwriter was replaced and a whole new era began. In 1992 Mark became the Manager of Blackpool Council’s Print and Design Service, which had a small staff of 7, this has now grown to 30, incorporating the Post service and a much larger Graphics Team. With well over 24 years local government experience, Mark is well versed in the intricate workings and procedures surrounding In-plant operations within a local authority.
Mark has been an active member of APCOM since 2000 and was formerly APCOM President 2008-2010, editor of the magazine, secretary and publicity officer. On a personal note one of Mark’s main passions is Scuba Diving, which he currently teaches in the UK.
John Price – APCOM Executive Member (Web Master)
John joined Wigan Council in 1991, his background is in IT Management, and Variable Data Printing / Mail Fulfilment. Following a review in 2008 he was asked to take over a new role covering the Central Print Unit, Reprographics Team and his own Variable Data and Mailing Team. Being new to production design and print, he faced a huge learning curve as he admits his narrow world of A4 80gm printed on a monochrome laser printer changed into a rather more complex mix of paper sizes, weights, coatings and of course colour.
Thankfully he was, and continues to be, supported by an excellent in-house team and APCOM. He attended his first conference in 2009 in Kirklees and has been thankful for the support and advice given by numerous members of APCOM over the last 5 years.
John tells us that being from a technical background he is attempting to use technology to drive the unit forward and can now offer offer web-2-print, automated pre-flighting, automated imposition and hybrid mail. John reports that "I have had excellent support from my new Head of Service in exploring new opportunities within the public, 3rd sector and more recently the commercial sector". A rebrand has been effective in promoting the service internally and within the public sector but also further afield. He is seeking collaboration with other public sector and commercial sector organisations and developing relationships within the 3rd sector as we need to broaden our customer base. I don’t believe in reinventing wheels and will be happy to share our successes (and failures) with other members, as I will be the first to use other members ideas and initiatives within our own business.
Sharni Athwal – APCOM Executive Member
After graduating with an MSc in ‘Health Education and Promotion’ Sharni secured a position with the ‘NHS Management Scheme’. In the interim she was appointed to Kirklees Council, in order to gain practical skills and experience and of course to help pay off her student debts, however, as fate dictated, Sharni remained in Kirklees and ended up building up a career within the authority. Sharni began her career working for the ‘Building Services’ trade then ‘Policy and Governance Directorate’ where she was responsible for administration and resource management to Elected Councillors. Not one to stay still, Sharni was yearning for other challenges and was appointed as the Operations Manager for Document Solutions – Kirklees Mail and Print in-plant in 2007. The initial role at DS was to manage and streamline mailing processes and systems, implementing robust financial procedures and charging mechanisms, and the marketing and promoting of DS.
In 2009, Sharni moved to the print arena and conducted an intensive PPIP (Print Process Improvement Plan) with a view to identifying problematic areas, making improvements, introducing changes in print/production management, streamline systems and introducing automated workflows and processes. This exercise aided in giving her an in-depth understanding and knowledge of the print industry. Over the past year her role has evolved and moved towards a more business and strategic position in planning the future of DS.
Currently working closely with senior Finance Officers, Procurement and I&E teams to introduce new projects, to meet efficiency savings and departmental targets and also to assist in meeting the Councils needs both now and in the future. In the last two years DS has become a viable and sustainable entity for Kirklees Council and they pride themselves in being able to deliver a great customer experience and value to all their internal customers and at the same time achieving financial targets and more. But above all, meeting significant challenges which every council is constantly being faced with. When Sharni first became an APCOM member, she said she felt a little out of her depth, as she did not possess the years of experience and knowledge that members of APCOM shared, however, she was delighted to be welcomed into the association and feels that she still has a lot to discover and learn.
Nigel Leighton - APCOM Executive Member (Secretary)
The Document Centre (Wolverhampton City Council)
Nigel, who recently racked up 30 years in print split between the private and public sector, is the Business Manager of The Document Centre at Wolverhampton City Council which provides graphic design, document processing, print, encompassing litho, digital, transactional and wide format, mail and distribution and a print commissioning service for the authority.
Vindication of a strategic decision made a few years ago to rebrand and transform The Document Centre from a traditional print services provider (PSP) to a comprehensive marketing services provider (MSP) and ensuring that operations are firmly embedded and contributing to the goals of the organisation has ensured that The Document Centre has enjoyed steady growth even though internal marketing budgets have been reduced.
Nigel is a great believer that however big an expert you might be in your own field, you can always learn from people with a different pool of knowledge and debate with people facing similar challenges can clear your head, stimulate creativity and inspire solutions, that’s why, in his opinion APCOM has been so successful for over 30 years.
When he has a spare moment outside of the office, Nigel enjoys relaxing with his family alongside pretending to be Darth Vader and being struck regularly with a light sabre by his Star Wars mad six year old son.
One of his claims to fame is that he once hit the England cricket captain for 3 sixes in one over, what he will not tell you is that it was the England women’s cricket captain.
Michael Jaques - APCOM Executive Member (Treasurer)
Leicestershire County Council
My career started in print working for a newspaper as a compositor and soon realised that with the introduction of typesetting this may not be a good career move. I then progressed as a printer working both within the in-plant and commercial sectors. This gave me a good grounding of how different the printing industry was, and how the two types of operation although the same in principle were miles apart in both production and equipment.In the early 80’s, I started my own print company and developed this for over 20 years into a medium sized B2 colour print operation.
During this time I made many friends within the industry and had a first-hand crash course into every aspect of the printing operations from initial design and selling to print finishing. This grounding was invaluable and the skills learned along the way have proven their worth many times over since then. It also gave me the chance to enjoy myself and jump on the presses when the need arose. Although I had a hard time convincing my children that my first four colour machine was not actually a train!
I started at Leicestershire County Council in 2004 and helped with the review to create a new fully equipped print room. Following this I took over the role as Print Manager in 2005 and oversaw the modernisation of the department and introduction of the new equipment and printing procedures. Now four years on, we have brought all the external work back within the department to provide all of Leicestershire County Council’s print requirements internally and have generated income streams by bringing work in from external partners. I have especially enjoyed the networking with Apcom and the close working arrangements developing with other members.