The National Geographic Society is my biggest customer for Mondadori Printing, which is fine with me since it allows me to spend the day with this crazy, funny, hardworking group of people every couple of weeks. This trip, my mission is to try to convince VP of Manufacturing Phil Schlosser that even though we have the exchange rate against us at Mondadori, and even though it might be faster to manufacture right here in the U.S. of A. -- his plans for 2009 would not be complete without awarding a significant number of projects to Mondadori.
Phil lets me know that I have some serious competition from Asia, the U.S. and even other European printers. By noon, after reviewing a long list of possible titles, my mission is not going well. This is getting depressing. It seems like a good time for lunch.
We round up a group for lunch including Monika and Nicole who are Production Managers in Phil's department, and Mike who handles international co-edition printing as well as silly remarks at any gathering. We head over to the Mayflower hotel, which Phil tells us is one of a handful of hotels in DC that is "pre-cleared for security" so that all important Washington bigwigs can hang out here with confidence. This makes us all feel much better. At lunch Monika has issues with the size of the tables (too small) and the entree selections (too few). Mike wants us all to order martinis. Nicole is pre-occupied with her James Bond-themed Halloween Party (which has got to be the best idea of a theme party in terms of cute outfit options). And Phil is trying to persuade me that I need a new photo for my blog -- at which point everyone wants to take my picture, and I gotta say the results of this free-for-all only confirm that the picture I have now is still my best option.
Alas Production Manager Rachel has the day off today, and cannot join us - while Director Chris Brown stays back at the office, remaining incognito....
After a good lunch, and a stroll through the Mayflower, we get back to the office and have another discussion about book projects for next year. I talk to Mike and Gary and it turns out that there just might be a couple of multi-language projects that would be perfect for Mondadori. Maybe some other things will come up too. Phil is willing to take another look at the numbers, and so 2009 is starting to look a little better than it did this morning.
These meetings are more like a day spent hanging out with your friends, and it always is a little sad to leave. So, until the next time...
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