Gary Hilliard Elected to FTA Hall of Fame
SAN DIEGO—May 2, 2013—Gary Hilliard, past chairman of Foundation of Flexographic Technical Association’s (FFTA) Board of Trustees, worked fervently to ensure flexography became and remained packaging’s print process of choice for nearly four decades. When he passed away, February 23, 2013, it was just two days since he learned of his pending installation into flexography’s most prestigious society, the Flexographic Technical Association (FTA) Hall of Fame. He was looking forward to what was sure to be a shining moment in his career.
Ellen Hilliard, his wife, recalled, “I felt great joy and pride in Gary and his achievements upon learning of his selection. I realized immediately that it was something we would have talked about for years to come. Gary has long aspired to become the recipient of FTA’s President’s Award, so when I told him, ‘You got the big one—the Hall of Fame,’ he was very quiet but managed to say, ‘That’s cool.’"
Hilliard's fascination with flexographic printing aligned him with FTA and carried him through a career that took him from the University of Kentucky to Hygrade Foods to Color Ad Packaging, Anagram International, Stone Container and most recently, Hood Packaging. He served as FFTA’s chairman from 2008-2010, was a two-term member of that body, as well as FTA’s board of directors. He received FTA’s Distinguished Service Award in 2011 and FLEXO Magazine’s Author’s Excellence Award in 2006.
Most recently, he chaired the Flexo Quality Consortium’s (FQC’s) Standards Working Group. Past service to FTA included stints as Wide Web Council chair and chair of the Expanded Color Gamut Subcommittee for Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifications and Tolerances (FIRST) Third Edition. He played an instrumental role in developing FIRST’s Design Guide and making it available in downloadable format.
Midway through his career, Hilliard served as a judge in FTA’s Excellence in Flexography Awards Competition, having himself engineered multiple pieces of award-winning flexographic print. On multiple occasions, he spoke at FTA events, primarily the organization’s Annual Forum, where he has chaired and co-chaired technical sessions.
Ellen Hilliard reminisced on her husband's love of the trade. “We spent hours discussing his work, his committees, his time on the FFTA board, FQC, etc. He loved to test new products and ideas that might shape the future. And, he enjoyed sharing all he learned.”
That kind of drive and passion, exhibited by his commitment to research and love of cutting-edge printing technologies and packaging processes, is responsible for his selection as the 51st inductee into Flexographic Technical Association’s Flexo Hall of Fame.