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The Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum would like to thank the following members of the United States Postal Service and the mailing industry for their support in helping to make this important project possible:

United States Postal Service

  • Brian Corley
  • Judy de Torok
  • Jason Diebler
  • Peter Klausner
  • Jennifer Lynch
  • Jeff Marino
  • Nick Sucich

United States Postal Service (Retired)

  • Kent Smith
  • Lenny Kilburn
  • Gary Thuro, Sr.
  • Nick Williams

Mailing Industry

National Postal Museum

  • Emma Auburn (Administrative Assistant)
  • Marty Emery (Public Relations & Internet Affairs)
  • Bill Lommel (Web Publication)
  • Karen McCormick (Former Contractor)
  • Hannah Trumbull (Development)
  • Nancy Pope (Curator)
  • Roxanne Symko-Smith (Project Management)

America’s Mailing Industry Virtual Exhibition Launch

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September 13, 2016 Celebration Event: America’s Mailing Industry Virtual Exhibition Launch

Good evening.

If I can have your attention, we'd like to get started here tonight.

Allen Kane my boss told me what you do to get them all gathered, is you go, shhhhh.

Well Allen it worked. Hey listen, thank you very much for coming tonight.

On behalf of Allen Kane and the entire staff, I'd like to welcome you to the National Postal Museum.

I'm Marty Emery. I'm the Manager of Public Relations and Internet Affairs.

And we're happy to have so many of our friends and colleagues from the Postal Service and the mailing industry join us tonight to celebrate the launch of our new virtual exhibition, America's Mailing Industry.

And it's the story about a partnership between the Postal Service and the industry that's been helping American citizens and businesses communicate and conduct business for more than 200 years. It's about a partnership that helps people shop, and ship, and deliver, and communicate.

It helps people conduct transactions, gain information, seek entertainment, build relationships, enhance communities, and foster citizenship.

The virtual exhibition features wonderful introductory videos by Marlo Thomas and Jim Cochran, the Chief Marketing and Sales Officer for the Postal Service. It also contains hundreds of photos, and videos, and narrative text about people who have built this industry and make it what it is today. Let's take a minute, we have one screen only here, sorry about that folks, the other one didn't work but I want to show you guys what Marlo Thomas has to say about our project.

To bring cards and letters and packages into our homes almost every day of the week, today this partnership has, of thousands of businesses that employ more than 7.5 million people in the United States alone, and it's a major contributor to the economy more than one trillion dollars. Aren't those numbers astounding? The mailing industry is breathtaking, and it is woven into the very fabric of our lives.

It's the companies that produce the ink and paper to create the magazines and catalogs that bind us to those who share our interests.

It's how millions of us still pay our bills and receive physical proof for our financial transactions.

It provides information and entertainment. And more and more these days, let's us shop from the kitchen table for just about anything we need.

And it's how thousands of charities and non-profits can receive aid and assistance. I'm speaking with you today because I depend on the mailing industry to help St. Jude Children's Research Hospital® in its mission to save the lives of children who are battling cancer and other deadly diseases.

As the National Outreach Director of the hospital, I can tell you that we rely on the mail to help us raise funds and awareness for St. Jude's each and every day of the year.

And I should tell you that the mailing industry is especially dear to my family because in 2012 the US Postal Service issued a stamp featuring the founder of St. Jude's, our dad Danny Thomas.

That sure makes mailing a letter special to us.

So I hope you take a few minutes to explore the site.

And while you're at it, think about how the mailing industry affects your daily life and helps others who are in need.

And if you like what you see, tell your friends about it.

Or better yet, mail them a card.


Wow, what a wonderful testimonial to the Postal Service and the mailing industry for all they do to support the efforts of St. Jude's.

A big thanks to Jerry Mathis for making Marlo's video possible.

Although we launched the virtual exhibition today, we've really just begun.

We'll be adding hundreds, if not thousands more stories in the coming weeks months and years. And we're just so excited about this project.

So just a little little background on how this thing came to be and what we've learned about the mailing industry. So the mailing industry consists of all the organizations, associations, and companies that communicate with their customers and constituents through the US Mail, from direct marketers to publishers, to non-profits, to public entities.

It also includes businesses that help prepare mail such as ad agencies, print shops, software vendors, transportation providers, and others.

It's big business producing big results for American citizens.

The Postal Service delivers more mail to more addresses in a larger geographic area than any other post in the world.

With operating revenues of almost 70 billion dollars it handles almost half of the world's mail.

Its professional workforce, almost a half a million employees, processes and delivers more than 150 billion pieces of mail each year.

And it does all that without any tax dollars.

The mailing industry is also enormous, 1.4 trillion dollars a year, seven and year half plus million employees, and the partnership between the Postal Service and the mailing industry is quite possibly the most successful government-private sector partnership in the history of our country.

Yet most Americans don't even know that it exists.

Today we change that. Today we start telling this story.

And it's a big story, to tell.

It's actually a story we've wanted to tell for a long time but really didn't have the resources to do so.

We're a small museum.

We have a total of 37 employees. So our boss, Allen Kane, did what he always does, he came up with a strategy to address the dilemma.

The strategy was to reach out to the Postal Service, to the mailing industry associations, and to companies within the mailing industry to help us tell the story.

We formed a steering committee early on with a who's who in the mailing industry and I called them at the time the E.F. Huttons of the mailing industry, for those of you old enough to remember the television commercials from the 1970s and 80s.

These are the people that have dedicated their entire years to the industry and helped make it what it is today.

So we have researchers and historians at the Postal Service, at the mailing industry associations, companies in the mailing industry, all uncovering photos, producing videos, and generating narratives to tell their stories.

We identified 14 unique segments within the industry.

And we tell each of their stories, providing a rich historical context for how they came to be.

And with the help of our industry expert, we identified the companies in the mailing industry that have really gone above and beyond, been successful and helped make the industry what it is today.

And we tell their stories as well.

These are the pioneers, the early adopters, some of the biggest companies in America.

So together, these individual stories are stitched together to tell one big story, the story of America's mailing industry.

And at the heart of the mailing industry is the US Postal Service.

They've been delivering for America for more than two centuries.

They've also been powering the mailing industry for more than 200 years.

The partnership's not always easy.

There are competing opinions at times and at times there may be disagreements.

But in spite of any differences the industry always rallies for the better good and does what it has done for more than two hundred years, serve American consumers and businesses in spectacular fashion.

The Postal Service is led by Megan Brennan, Postmaster General of the United States.

Megan is the 74th and the first female Postmaster General of the United States, and chief executive officer of the world's largest postal organization.

It's my pleasure to introduce Megan Brennan, Postmaster General of the United States.


Thank you Marty. Good evening everyone.

Let me take a moment to recognize Allen Kane.

We're all so happy to see him back and healthy.

Allen nice to see you.


Let me also thank Marty and Allen for their vision and their commitment to this project.

And I'd also like to thank everyone at the National Postal Museum, the staff, and certainly our business partners, those of you represented here, and our other business partners, 75 companies engaged in this effort.

You've created a compelling testament to the role of the mailing industry in America's economy and our society. And this exhibit reflects the strong collaboration among the industry and among the Postal Service and our numbered business partners here tonight.

So I want to thank you for your leadership role within the industry.

And the mailing industry is a partnership.

[Microphone reverb]

Excuse that.

It's probably, but, I think I just blew the mic.

Can you hear me back there? That would be a first if my voice is that melodious that I shattered the mic.

Marty mentioned about the exhibit and how we'll educate Americans about the progress of our industry. And they'll view it through the prism of partnership. And that's critically important for us.

They'll see the Postal Service, they'll understand that there are literally thousands of companies and millions of people over the years that have been a part of this industry that has served the American public so well.

And we'll continue to work to strengthen our industry and create business opportunities. We're looking to grow together.

We're partners in the future and over time as this exhibit gains momentum, really the millions of Americans that will visit the National Postal Museum.

One of the things they'll see is not just our legacy and the history of the industry, they'll learn how we're focused on better serving the needs of the American public.

They'll recognize how we sustain America's economy and influence society.

They will also see that we have exciting plans for the future, As we well know, this is a very pivotal time for the industry.

It's an exciting time for the industry. And we all know the value of this industry. We're an industry that has always been at the center of change. If you look back over the years, the mailing industry that we collectively represent is on the cusp of a new era.

And this new era is steadily coming into focus.

Today we're supporting America's e-commerce and powerful omni-channel, or integrated, or coordinated marketing efforts. Tomorrow we'll look to ensure that mail is a seamless extension of digital experiences.

We'll deliver better experiences for the consumer and provide marketers with greater value on their investment.

And we'll do this together.

So on behalf of the men and women of the United States Postal Service, a number of our officers that are here in attendance tonight, we're happy to support the National Postal Museum, this exhibit, and to be part of this exhibit that will grow from as, as Marty indicated, this web-based exhibit. And what I'd like to do is just offer again my thanks for your involvement, particularly the companies actively involved in telling the story of the industry.

But thank you most importantly, for your ongoing partnership and your business.

And we look forward to continuing to grow together.

Thank you. Enjoy the evening.


Thank you, Megan.

Thanks for your leadership with the Postal Service, your leadership with the industry, and certainly your your support of this project.

And this is really, this virtual exhibition we launched today is really step one in a two-step process.

The next step is we're going to be designing and building a physical exhibition on the mailing industry here at the museum.

We have a team in place already, they've already started work on the exhibition.

So we look forward to having the millions of people that visit us in the next coming years to to witness it in person.

So enjoy some some drinks and some food.

We have a couple more people in about maybe, 20, 25 minutes, that are going to have a couple remarks.

But, again, thank you very much for coming tonight.



Hi again folks. Hey if I could have your attention, we got a couple more people I know you're going to love to hear from.

One of the companies showcased in our America's Mailing Industry virtual exhibition is Data-Mail.

And we're pleased that Andy Mandel and members of his family have joined us tonight.

Data-Mail was founded in 1971 by Andy and Joyce Mandel. It's a family-owned, full-service direct mail production company headquartered in Newington, Kentucky.

It's an incredible story of success.

We're proud to have it on the site. They've been serving customers needs for a very, very long time now.

Andy Mandel is chairman of the board of Data-Mail.

And I'd like to have him come up and share some thoughts about his involvement with this project.

Andy, thank you for coming.

You know it's a it's a real pleasure to be here tonight uh, with people from the museum, people from the Postal Service, and a lot of our comrades, friends, enemies, from the direct mail business. Okay and uh, for the most part we are a friendly group. We do get along.

And it's it's been a pleasure to see all of you tonight and talk with you.

I would like to introduce my wife, Joyce, who helped founded our company in 1971, [Applause] and Carrie Hanofy, our Director of Quality who's with us tonight.

I don't want to miss him.

It's been a good run. We started our business in a thousand square feet in Bristol, Connecticut.

Today we have about six hundred thousand feet located outside of Hartford, in a couple facilities.

We mail about a little over a billion five hundred million pieces of mail a year, over a thousand employees.

And I'm going to tell you something.

That just didn't happen because we might be good, but it happened because our relationship with the Postal Service has been outstanding for the 45 years that we've been in business.

And I can't say enough and we really ought to thank the Postal Service that's here tonight, okay? Hartford is kind of unique. I think Harford promoted more people out of the Harford postal district and the northeast district and to Washington than any other place in the country.

And Allen Kane, and Allen, you're still here? He might have gone home.

But Allen is one of the people who worked in the northeast.

A great guy who's put this whole thing together.

We had Pete Jacobson.

We had Bill Galligan. We had John Kelly. We had, uh oh god, there was, there was a whole bunch of them. Can you think of a few more? John that was from that area. There were others, Allen Kane, I said Allen.

But anyway we had a lot of great people come through Hartford that later got positions in Washington to lead our country.

The the market today in our industry, and I think I speak for most of people here, is, it's changing.

We happen to be in the standard mail business. Probably 95 to 98 percent of our mail is standard. Uh, it's, it's changing. The markets are telecommunications, financial services, direct mail promoters, publishers.

We're finding in the last six months to a year that mail is really being, uh desired by our customer base. It's, it's, amazing that we've had a lot of consolidation don't get me wrong, we have a lot less people in the industry today doing the printing and the data processing and the processing mail. A lot less people.

However, there is a major volume increase happening. And I would say, Megan you can expect probably a good season coming up this year for Christmas. I see it coming in the retail market too. And the thing that's really happening is that our clients are using not only the mail but they're using email, they're using telephone, uh calling, uh, in conjunction with their mailing. And this has been very, very successful.

I will tell you that our clients are much more selective on the mail today they have more data, more information today than they've ever had before.

And they're taking advantage of this, not just blanketing an area by being very selective in what they do.

When this program started I got a call from Karen. Where's Karen?

Karen called in the very beginning. She had this idea and I knew Allen when I was in Hartford. And Allen got on the phone and we've been involved with this, Joyce and I and our people.

And by the way we're a family business. There's three siblings in the business today who actually run the business and I don't. But we got involved in the beginning.

We thought this was a wonderful idea. And I see what you've done here is magnificent. We saw the videos earlier this week.

And if you talk to Allen, he did this on a quite a limited budget.

The money came from the people in this room which is really amazing who put this together.

And I think it's a great legacy to have for our business and for our families as we go forward.

So Karen, you take a lot of credit for making this happen.


And I'm not going to talk much longer.

Let's talk about the Postal Service.

Our association with the Postal Service over 45 years has been I think, I give it a A+. Obviously there's a hassle here and there, and you got to fight it out a little, bit you know.

But you work together to make things happen.

And as far as I'm concerned, it's been a wonderful partnership.

It's a business partnership. It's not we against you.

It's a business situation. You look at a problem, you see how you can best analyze the problem and you solve the problem.

The number one thing that I think is necessary to remember is you must protect the revenue. Once the postal revenue has been protected then I think your negotiations and your talk about how you may process something that's uh, has a little something there or whatever.

You can talk to the Postal Service and work on a business situation or business arrangement, but you, and, and that does work.

The customer service of the Postal Service is very, very helpful.

And over the years we've had people involved in MTAC. And there's a lot of people out here from MTAC. We still have one, or, one or two people on MTAC now? One person on MTAC now, which you're all familiar with, which is the industries' uh, uh gives the industries' uh, up front what-we're-doing talks to the Postal Service, and see how they can work together.

And the associations have been, been wonderful.

I saw Gene Del Polito tonight. Gene, you still here? Well Gene's retiring from his association, a tough guy but he is retiring.

I saw Leo Raymond from the old MFSA here tonight, Epicom. And I see others around the room which is really wonderful.

But when we talk about the Postal Service work share programs and I know I've been on committees for years, not so much recently because the three boys have been taking over, but for me, but working together on work share programs has been really, really a terrific arrangement with us.

They're always there for us.

So thank you very much, and I really enjoy being here tonight.

[Applause] Andy, thank you so much for the remarks.

I thought you also might like to hear from one of our mailing industry executives.

We've had a lot of them that have been part of this steering group and have helped kind of coach us along the way and gave us the suggestions that put us in a position we are today.

Steve Carney worked for the Postal Service for 33 years.

He was a officer at the Postal Service.

And since January, 2014 he's been the executive director of the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers. The Alliance has served the mailing needs of nonprofits since 1980.

And as a former postal officer and now a member of the mailing industry, I think he has a lot of experience, kind of on both sides. So we wanted to hear from him tonight on what this project means to him and his involvement.

So join me in welcoming Steve Kearney.


Thank you. I'll just take a couple minutes.

Congratulations to everybody here, especially Allen for his vision and leadership, Karen and the whole team at the museum, Megan Brennan and the Postal Service leadership for having this vision and carrying through. I really think this is a breakthrough moment for all of us. I've spent my entire adult life working with or for the Postal Service or the mailing industry.

I'm still a youngster so I'm looking forward to many more years of that.

But this is a breakthrough moment. We've all spent a lot of time trying to explain why mail is so important, why it's so valuable, why the Postal Service is so, uh much the best post in the world and one of the best things we have in our country, and the critical role of the mailing industry.

But there's one reason why this beats all previous efforts. And I'll paraphrase, the movie The Graduate. I just want to tell you one word, just one word, and that is, stories.

Marty already emphasized stories, but I know telling stories is one of the most important things museums do.

And that's what they all strive to do. But I was a little skeptical when first approached about this by Allen and Karen. And I'm, just my expectations have just been by far exceeded. I mean this is excellent.

You know think about it, what interests you more? Reading a new novel by an author you love or a Powerpoint presentation? Or watching a new Hollywood blockbuster movie or an excel spreadsheet? Or uh, the new Netflix series that you want to watch all weekend or a long business meeting where you go through a lot of numbers? Of course stories resonate with everybody and that's where this this exhibit is so strong. And I think it will be a turning point for all of us.

Of course we need to bring people to it and make people aware of it. But it tells stories as has already been mentioned at the top level all the way down to individual organizations.

And just skimming the stories I've learned many new things and fascinating things already, like as far as the Postal Service and the industry as a whole I didn't know there was a program called NIMS in 1961 which apparently was a turning point in the relationship between the mailing industry and the Postal Service, the Nationwide Mail Improvement System, or something like that. We always come up with great acronyms in in our business. But that was a turning point that led to PCCs and more working together about how, where, and when mail is dropped off with the Postal Service.

And then in the 14 segments we've talked about there are amazing facts of course. I know most about the non-profit segment given where I work now.

I was fascinated to learn that the nonprofit sector in the United States, which is probably the biggest and best in the world, quadrupled in size in the 1980s, and then doubled again in the 1990s, and this is exactly when the relationship between the Postal Service and the mailing industry really took off, with work sharing MTAC and all the other ways we worked together.

And it's when mail volume basically doubled in that period, also, so things like the non-profit sector are closely related to how the Postal Service does and how it grows.

But for me the stories that are most compelling, and I think most people are going to like and love, are the ones about the individual organizations and companies and I'll just touch on a couple that I've been able to read. Again they just happen to be in the non-profit sector but, there's an organization that mails every American it can get a hold of their name, address, and birth date, a letter when they turn 50 and they try to get it to them right on their 50th birthday.

And then if they don't respond to that letter they send them another one, another one, another one, until they do respond. You know.

AARP started less than 60 years ago in somebody's living room and now they have 38 million members.

and they publish the magazine that has the biggest worldwide circulation, biggest magazine in the world is this group that started in a living room in California less than 60 years ago.

And it's part of Americana now to receive that letter. Some people like it, some don't like it.

There's another group that's less well known that I'm, they're a member of my group. I'm only now learning more about them but, the Elks are a very quiet network of people who try to do good in their local communities and there are 800,000 Elks in this country. After I read the story about them I want to join the Elks. So I started asking our Elk who's here what are the qualifications. You actually have to be recommended by two other Elks.

But they uh, they give back to their community to the tune of about 330 million dollars a year and they raise all that money internally. They don't send fundraising to people outside the Elks. They send two fundraising letters a year to their members.

They have a national magazine. They have chapter magazines.

I think mail is the main way they communicate aside from at the bar at their local lodge which is probably number one, but mail is a close number two. And that was very impressive to me.

Karen brought one to my attention early in the process that I have to talk a little bit about which is the the Maryknoll Missionaries.

It's a worldwide missionary service that started over a hundred years ago in Maryknoll, New York.

And one of the first Maryknoll sisters was a former Postal Service veteran who had worked for the Postal Service for 21 years, Catherine Slattery. She became the Postmistress of the post office that was created in Maryknoll because of the mail volume that this organization was generating.

Because from the very beginning mail was at the heart of the Maryknolls.

They had to communicate with their missions all over the world.

They published a magazine that explained to Americans what missionary work is about. And of course they do fundraising.

Sister Margaret Mary stayed the Postmistress there for 24 years and she was followed by another Maryknoll sister, and then by another Maryknoll sister, and then Maryknoll brother.

And this post office grew to the point where it got its own ZIP code, the mail volume was so much, mostly coming from this one missionary organization.

Fast forward to now. Last year there was a big earthquake in Nepal and the Maryknolls have had a mission there for over 30 years. Father Joseph Thaler, actually his picture is on the home page of this exhibit, and they wanted to bring quick relief to the people who were really hurt by this earthquake. So they did a quick mailing to their 275,000 best benefactors in the US, raised over a million dollars in two months, immediately sent it to Nepal and brought food, medical supplies, shelter to these people who were hurt by the earthquake.

This is really, a friend of mine, said stories like this humanize the mail.

They say that it's more than a bunch of numbers and statistics and jobs and things, like that it, it, there's a human story to it. And so many things are accomplished with mail, through mail, that this exhibit is going to tell that story like it's never been told before. And I just gave you a couple examples, scratching the surface of what's, what's in there.

The important thing for all of us now is, as Marty and others have already said, and Megan, we need to promote this, tell more people about it, get more visitors, because it's not a building and they will come, but when I go to meetings people talk about how do I mentor young people who are thinking about a career in the mailing business. Well this is a great tool now that we have a great go-to place. Talk about these stories with them or what do I do about my new boss who says we're going to go 100 percent digital so we can save 30 million dollars on postage costs? This is another great tool to use with them, in addition to your own data and your own experience, to explain the importance of, and the critical nature of mail being in the mix. Or if you're talking to a member of Congress about reform legislation, again this, this will be a great tool.

So in addition to being an outstanding museum exhibit, I think this is a breakthrough event and tool that all of us in the mailing industry and at the Postal Service can use to spread the word that we've got the best post in the world, we've got the best, as Marty said, the best public private partnership anywhere in the United States. And we're doing it in a vehicle that works so much better for everybody, you know, telling interesting, real stories. And let's add more stories to that.

That's the other part of it. We're going to try to get more non-profits to contribute and I'm sure all of you are going to work on that too.

So again, congratulations to everybody involved.

It's been a great journey so far, and I look forward to continuing it.

Thank you.


Thanks, Steve.

Hey uh, Allen asked me to play the MC role tonight and to deliver the remarks on behalf of the Postal Museum.

I think because I had a leadership role in this project.

But let me let me be quite frank, this project would never have happened without Allen Kane.

And I, I've been with Allen for a long time, uh, probably 17 years now maybe.

He is a visionary. He's a tremendous leader and he's also a great guy.

He's a good friend. I've learned a lot, and I feel blessed to have been able to work alongside him for a very long time. So when I wrote my remarks he didn't ask to see them. He has full confidence in me but I, I took him in and I said here, take a look.

And he came back he said, looks great.

But you talk too much.

So we scratched a couple paragraphs out and I said, Boss that's fine.

What he didn't want to do though was to get behind the mic because he wanted to show that it's about the people, the staff at the museum, and you people in the audience. But I'll tell you this project is very, very, near and dear to his heart.

He and I both share a deep love of the Postal Service, and this project, more than any since I've been here in 10 years, I was bound and determined to make this a success for him.

So I would like Allen Kane to come up and to tell everybody what this project means to him.

Allen? [Applause] All I wanted to do is be a pretty face in the crowd and I got stuck up here again. I don't care.

Thank you, Marty. I appreciate those comments.

I wanted to do this for a long time.

I was involved when I worked at the Postal Service, with the mailing industry, and of course the Postal Service, and I saw an amazing partnership. There were bad times, obviously you're always gonna have that. But it was an amazing partnership and it was for the good of the American citizens and businesses.

They're the ones that ended up winning.

So I wanted to tell this story but quite frankly I couldn't figure how to do that with a few people, we didn't have many people.

And then we came up with the idea of letting the industry and the Postal Service tell their own story and we'll just put it all together. And it worked like like a charm.

But as Marty said, it's only the beginning.

This is going to go on for years.

There are thousands of companies out there.

I mean the objective really is to get everybody on here who wants to be on here, and keep on telling more stories and keep it going.

And maybe I'm, maybe jumping ahead and talking about the future of the mailing industry and the future of the Postal Service.

Because quite frankly, we're a history museum and it's all history.

But somebody's got to start looking ahead and gathering all the thoughts together of all the industry people in the Postal Service and kind of put it out there.

So that might be the next uh, phase of it.

But listen, seriously you guys did it. You guys did it.

I just saw, I think you, you're amazing.

You put together a website.

You cannot believe the price of this website.

It is about the cheapest thing you'll ever see.

I mean it's unreal. I can't believe it myself.

You can't even have a good dinner for what we paid to do this.

So, you did it and you did it very economically.

And it's just the beginning.

Thank you very much for doing this.


Thanks Allen.

And hey, listen again, thanks to everybody for coming tonight.

I don't have a watch on so I don't know how close we are to the end.

But my guess is there are probably still some more drinks over there so enjoy the rest of your night.

Thank you.

America’s Mailing Industry