By Nicole Tomassi, Marketing and Conference Manager
In 2017, Westchester Publishing Services enjoyed several significant accomplishments, and we’re already hard at work to build upon those successful initiatives in 2018.
These achievements are possible thanks to the efforts of our employees, along with the trust placed in us by our valued clients. Together, they made 2017 a year we look back on with pride, and we hope 2018 will be an equally successful year for all.
Conferences, tradeshows, and events, oh my!
In 2017, Westchester significantly increased our sponsorship and attendance at conferences and events in publishing, including Council of Science Editors, Association of American University Presses, Publishers Weekly Star Watch, and National Council of English Teachers among others.
Increasing the growth of our client list
Throughout the year, Westchester Publishing Services became the provider of editorial or composition services to several more publishers, including signing multi-year agreements with prestigious publishers The MIT Press and Rutgers University Press.
Meanwhile across the pond…
We further expanded our presence in the UK during 2017, sponsoring and attending conferences including London Book Fair, The Bookseller Children’s Conference and FutureBook. We also became a member of the Independent Publishers Guild, which has been an advocate for independent publishers for 55 years.
Expanding into new markets
In May, we launched our K-12 Publishing Services division, led by Managing Director, Kevin Gray, who has an experienced and talented team to meet the demand for high-quality content development our clients require.
PW Digital Solutions in India Special Report
Each year Publishers Weekly looks at the developments and innovations in digital production in their Digital in India supplement. We received significant coverage in the July 3rd issue and are proud of being the only US employee-owned company profiled who has full ownership and hands-on management of our production facilities in India.
Shortly before the EdNET conference this past September, we announced our collaboration with the well-respected digital content provider FableVision Studios. More exciting developments are on the horizon with FableVision Studios as well as other companies in the ed-tech industry, so stay tuned!
Better by design
In November, Westchester Publishing Services brought Mark DaGrossa on board as our Director of Creative Services. Mark’s extensive knowledge and resources allow us to significantly increase the design capabilities we are able to provide publishers for their titles.
An updated website and Client Portal
On the digital front, we gave our website a makeover, which made it more functional and user-friendly. We also unveiled a new version of our Client Portal
New faces and milestone anniversaries
Westchester Publishing Services has been growing steadily in recent years, with approximately one-quarter of our team joining the company since 2014. We are also fortunate to have employees who have been with us for 20 years or longer, including Roger Mahaffey and Sue Shaw, who each recently celebrated 25 years with Westchester. Bill Foley joined the company in 1976, making his impressive tenure second only to our Founder and CEO Dennis Pistone. Congratulations to all on your careers with Westchester!
Lending a helping hand
Being involved in our local community is important to us at Westchester Publishing Services. In addition to providing a financial donation supporting the efforts of the Connecticut Food Bank, some of our employees also gave of their time to help fill backpacks of food for distribution to area schoolchildren. These backpacks ensure families in need have access to nutritious food when school-based resources are not available. Feeding America has information on how you can support a foodbank in your local area.
A look ahead: 2018 conferences and trade shows
In 2018 Westchester Publishing Services will be involved in more industry events than ever before. We have made sponsorship and attendance commitments for several conferences and tradeshows in the US and the UK, including:
Visit our events page for a complete list, and contact us to set up a convenient time to talk! We look forward to learning more about how we can help you resolve your editorial, design, or production challenges in the year ahead, so you can fully focus on growing your company in 2018 and beyond.
Westchester K-12 News
Conference Observations and Highlights
By David Bailis, STEM Content Director, Westchester K-12 Publishing Services
Kevin Gray and I recently attended the SIIA conference in Washington, D.C. It was my first time attending the conference, so I did not know what to expect. I was pleased to find the SIIA community is very tight-knit but also quite welcoming. The focus of the SIIA conference is to bring people in the Ed Tech industry together to learn more about what others in the industry are doing, and we were able to meet a lot of important players at this conference.
Fostering the idea of collaboration and building the industry as a whole, we participated in two engaging networking activities. The first was a Speed Networking session (sponsored by Westchester K-12), which was an excellent opportunity to break the ice with other conference attendees. Though the interactions were brief, we were paired with potential clients, partners, and resources, enriching our network and providing an expanded view of the ed tech publishing world. The second session was a curated networking opportunity hosted by Educational Systemics in which we were paired with like-minded companies, either in consulting or client-vendor roles. This session was helpful in facilitating conversations and finding intersection points that we might not have otherwise uncovered.
I thought many of the sessions we attended were both interesting and thought-provoking. There was such a wide variety of topics, including artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, the intricate process of founding an Ed Tech startup company, as well as many others.
One of the sessions we attended was led by Phaedra Boinodiris, the Senior Strategy Lead Ed Tech for IBM and the Watson system. The main topic of conversation was about how artificial intelligence is being implemented in many different ways in education technology projects. One use case Phaedra gave was about how a small school in Texas is using a Minecraft mod to teach the students about epidemiology and the human immune system. Using the game, the students were able to go inside the human body and fight diseases which the software spawned using AI. This amazing use of gaming education was just one of the ways that teachers across the country are using similar applications to teach content in more interesting ways for their students.
Another session on how augmented and virtual reality are being used in education was led by Lisa Casteneda, the co-founder and CEO of foundry10, and Jussi Kajala, the chairman and COO of 3DBear. They shared that many studies have been done which seem to indicate that AR and VR have a positive effect on student performance, as well as student engagement. While the cost of VR equipment is currently high, more and more teachers are using it in their classrooms. Lisa and Jussi also shared some of the many ways teachers are using AR to explore virtually, such as creating a more welcoming school environment or “visiting” a location that would be impossible to experience otherwise, such as the South Pole or Mars!
A third session covered the process through which a startup edtech company could be established. Santeri Koivisto founded MinecraftEdu, a system that helps teachers use Minecraft to teach students a variety of content in classrooms all over the world. He spoke about his experiences coming up with an idea, finding funding, and eventually selling his company to Microsoft. Most of my personal experience is based in creating or teaching content, so it was both interesting and exciting for me to learn how Santeri was able to take the steps needed to make his business dreams a reality.
Additionally, Kevin participated in a break-out session on investing in Content vs. Platform. He shared the stage with Blackboard, myON, and a teacher representative. Each shared their unique vantage points about the buy/build/partner decisions that major players in the market have to make with regards to content creation and online delivery. Having a teacher on the panel also helped ground the discussion in the end users in the classrooms.
Kevin and I found the tenor of the conference was rather collaborative, with the attendees seeking each other out to discover ways to work together to meet their business goals. We came away from the conference with many new connections and potential opportunities to work with companies we hadn’t previously known about, and are looking forward to attending next year!
If you attended the conference, what sessions did you find to be the most informative? Share your thoughts in the comment section below, or email me at David.Bailis@westchesterk12pubsvcs.com.