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Editor's Note

ShirtLab Austin 2024: A Terrific Reason to Go Back to College

Editor Marcia Derryberry returns to her old stomping grounds for a fun educational and networking event.

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DO YOU EVER GO BACK to your old college town and relive the glory days? I do. There’s nothing like it. So even though it’s been 35 years since I graduated from Texas State University near Austin, TX, I absolutely love going back as often as I can. I can’t just let my 20s go.


So recently I was thrilled to have attended ShirtLab Austin 2024, a high-level screen-printing and apparel decorators conference co-founded by long-time Screen Printing magazine contributor Marshall Atkinson; co-founder Tom Rauen; and co-owner Ali Barnholzer. This ninth annual event, of which Screen Printing magazine is a sponsor, always brings in high-level screen-printing shop owners and executives and is a printer’s “college” in its own right.

The event hosts great speakers not usually seen on the industry’s educational circuit, with cutting-edge topics that help elevate businesses to the next level. This year’s theme was automation. It’s the word on the street for apparel, industrial, and commercial screen printers. Manufacturers’ engineers and technical experts have been working hard to bring the latest advancements to today’s equipment and supplies.

Intriguing topics included “Automating Lead Generation,” by Justin McKibben; “Automating Sales Strategy,” from Davis Slagle; “Automating Order Entry,” presented by Cole Lundstrom; and “Automating Inventory Management,” given by Shane Snodgrass. More than 100 attendees listened with great interest as these experts shared their insights on how automation can improve efficiencies and, ultimately, profits.

The event also is an awesome networking opportunity, with a cocktail hour the night before the conference and a dinner after the event. At the cocktail hour, I met screen printers from all over the country. These print shops were big and reporting success this year as we all adjust to an ever-changing industry. The highlight of the cocktail gathering every year is the annual “Rock, Paper, Scissors” contest, in which Stahls’ gave away a heat press!

The dinner is an opportunity for these new friends to come together and discuss what they had learned. They also share real-world experiences of situations they’ve come across in their shops and how they found solutions.

ShirtLab has several educational initiatives throughout the year that you can explore through its ShirtLab Tribe at shirtlablive.com. Also, I’m eager to hear what your shop is doing to up its automation game. I’d love to hear from you: marcia.derryberry@smartworkmedia.com.

ShirtLab Austin 2024: A Terrific Reason to Go Back to College

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Let’s Talk About It

Creating a More Diverse and Inclusive Screen Printing Industry

LET’S TALK About It: Part 3 discusses how four screen printers have employed people with disabilities, why you should consider doing the same, the resources that are available, and more. Watch the live webinar, held August 16, moderated by Adrienne Palmer, editor-in-chief, Screen Printing magazine, with panelists Ali Banholzer, Amber Massey, Ryan Moor, and Jed Seifert. The multi-part series is hosted exclusively by ROQ.US and U.N.I.T.E Together. Let’s Talk About It: Part 1 focused on Black, female screen printers and can be watched here; Part 2 focused on the LGBTQ+ community and can be watched here.

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