EDSF “The Future is Bright” Q&A: Carl Gerhardt

By | December 2, 2009

EDSF, the international non-profit organization dedicated to the document management and graphic communications industries, could not be effective without the outstanding leadership of its Board of Directors. During EDSF’s “The Future is Bright” Awareness Campaign, you will hear from four leading industry executives about their support of EDSF’s mission.

Today, WhatTheyThink is talking to Carl Gerhardt, president and CEO of Allegra Network, LLC, a proud supporter of EDSF and its mission to ensure that the document management and graphic communications industry has the talent it needs to survive, grow and excel.

DN: You’ve been involved with EDSF for several years now and currently serve as executive vice chair of the Board and vice chair of the Development Committee. What is the single largest benefit that EDSF provides to the industry?

CG: Without a doubt that would be the scholarship program. As part of EDSF’s Board, it is our responsibility to provide our industry with the future leaders of tomorrow. This can only happen by supporting them in their goal of receiving a college education. By joining forces with other industry leaders we have a tremendous opportunity to make a big difference in the lives of deserving students who need our help more than ever before in this challenging economy.

DN: What challenges are facing EDSF at this time?

CG: There are two major challenges. First, EDSF remains a well kept secret. Despite being around since 1996, very few companies and individuals are aware of the Foundation and the work it does. I’m constantly talking about EDSF with industry peers and I hear over and over “we’ve never heard of them.” That is what this awareness campaign is all about, getting the word out and increasing industry participation.

Secondly, and even more important, is the critical need for funding. Non-profits have been significantly impacted by the recession and at a time when scholarship funds are desperately needed due to the current economy and the difficulty in obtaining student loans. EDSF is not membership based and is totally dependent on contributions from companies and individuals. So we encourage everyone to get involved. No gift is too large or too small.

DN: What have been your favorite parts of being on the EDSF Board?

CG: I would have to say meeting the scholarship recipients. Each year, EDSF hosts a reception for industry leaders and invites several students that have received scholarships. That’s when it all comes together and you can see the return on your investment up close and personal. They are so excited about the industry and so enthusiastic it is really contagious. Many of them have expressed to me that without the support they receive from EDSF they would not have been able to complete their education.

Another benefit that I have enjoyed, along with the other board members, is the chance to network with other key industry leaders while at the same time benefiting graphic arts education.

DN: What thought would you like to leave for companies and individuals regarding EDSF?

CG: I would challenge them to get involved and help make a difference in the life of a student. It’s heartbreaking to think that without continued support our industry stands to lose the enthusiasm and creativity of these young minds. Please visit the EDSF Web site and see the different ways you can help make a difference.

EDSF Scholar of the Day
Daniel Mast, Pennsylvania College of Technology –
Heidelberg USA Scholarship 2007
EDSF Board of Directors Scholarship 2007
EDSF Board of Directors Scholarship 2006
EDSF Board of Directors Scholarship 2005

“Since I was young, I have aspired of not only working in the printing industry but also becoming a successful owner of a printing business. EDSF scholarships are enabling me to obtain this goal through financial aid. These scholarships encourage me to maintain concentration throughout my college career so I can obtain as much knowledge as I can to further myself in the communications industry.”

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