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Travels with Larry Archive

Rich Lapin to Retire from TAPPI

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Rich Lapin, TAPPI marketing manager, will retire December 21. After 25 years in the paper pigments industry followed by several years of marketing and media consulting assignments, Lapin joined TAPPI as a marketing contractor in February 2006 and went full time in August of that year as an account manager, handling several of the association's major events, including the TAPPI coating and nanotechnology conferences.

A native of Charleston, S.C., Lapin graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a B.S. degree in Business Administration. He joined Anglo-American Clays (a precursor to Imerys) in January 1974 and left in September 1999. While there, he held roles in export distribution, domestic customer service, marketing services, and marketing communications.

After Anglo-American Clays, Lapin joined an Internet company (WorldWideTesting.com) as marketing manager, and subsequently did contract work for several technology firms, before migrating with a former boss into consulting assignments and then into an Atlanta-based media company (Field Media). He later rejoined the consulting arena by working as a business manager for Grisanti, Galef & Goldress, a corporate renewal ("turnaround") firm.

Married for 37 years, Rich and his wife Gloria have two daughters, Michelle and Sharon. He is an avid recreational bicyclist and is also active with the Georgia Prostate Cancer Coalition as a board member. While at TAPPI, Lapin developed the following document, now a framed display in the lobby of TAPPI's headquarters in Norcross, Ga.:

It's All about Our Volunteers

  1. Volunteers are our customers. Meeting their needs is essential.
  2. Look internally for answers before asking volunteers. Our volunteers' time is limited; help them make the most of it.
  3. Work to build trust and partnerships with volunteer groups. Take the time to learn about the business environment in which the volunteers work. Volunteers can be great teachers.
  4. Understand that volunteers sometimes have little time to commit to volunteer activities.
  5. Work to understand our volunteers' various needs and expand the value they receive from TAPPI. They participate for a wide variety of reasons.
  6. Remember: volunteers who retire from the workforce don't necessarily retire from a desire to "give back."
  7. Actively seek the opinions of volunteers – every day, with every interaction. Volunteers want to participate and, like all of us, they want to be HEARD.
  8. Respond to ALL volunteer communication within 24 hours of receipt – sooner if possible.
  9. It's your job to find ways for volunteers to get the most out of their volunteer time with TAPPI.
  10. Don't surprise volunteers with changes or announcements. Seek "buy-in" first.
  11. Prepare for meetings, anticipate volunteer needs and respond proactively.
  12. Avoid saying "no" to a volunteer suggestion, commit to study it. Consider whether alternative solutions or funding sources can meet everyone's needs.
  13. Be positive about your job – don't complain.
  14. Always, Always, Always do what you say you will do and never push "your" work onto volunteers.
  15.  Volunteers are TAPPI's heroes! Providing public recognition in front of their peers is often one of the greatest awards they can receive.


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