FTA president Mark Cisternino has announced his plans to retire at the end of 2022, after nearly four decades of service to the Association and its membership. The FTA Board of Directors and FFTA Board of Trustees will lead the search process for the Association’s next president, to be carried out during the first half of the year.

“I have to say... I really have mixed emotions about making the decision. Not being a ‘spring chicken,’ I knew the time was coming,” says Cisternino. “Over the past few years, I began to see retirement on the horizon, but when the discussions with my wife — who just retired at the end of 2021 — started to point to a definite date for me, I began to enter a zone where I didn't fully believe that I’m in my 60s and that it was OK to consider making the decision.” 

After informing the Boards in late 2021 of his decision, Cisternino felt a “huge weight” lift off his shoulders, at which point his immediate focus shifted to planning the process for selecting a successor. .

Cisternino’s leadership, drive and dedication to the flexographic industry helped shape FTA and its numerous initiatives. Among a litany of achievements during his tenure with the Association: The creation of the Technical Education Services Team (TEST), FIRST Certification Program and FTA Virtual Campus; as well as the establishment of the Flexo Quality Consortium (FQC), Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP), and FTA Strategic Planning Initiative. He also ushered FTA into the electronic age with the launch of the FTA website, a digital edition of FLEXO Magazine, an online store and social media presence on major networks. And, long before their prominence, he pointed the Association toward virtual events that now encompass multiple webinar series. 

“Mark’s name is as synonymous with FTA as FORUM, FIRST and FLEXO — and that’s due to his remarkable dedication and leadership over a storied career,” says FTA VP Brad Pareso. “On behalf of all FTA staff, I thank Mark for his decades of service and setting the Association up for success in its next chapter.” 

In 2016, Cisternino was inducted into the FTA Hall of Fame in recognition of his contributions to the Association and flexographic industry. He considers the honor to be the highlight of his lengthy career because he shares it with members of the industry whom he admires. 

“From the very beginning of my time with FTA, I revered the industry icons that had this honor bestowed upon them. Many were before my time, but without exception, year after year as new inductees were selected, I identified with what made them worthy and why the industry is so much better off as a result of their commitment,” says Cisternino. “To this day, I still tear up knowing that these same people that I admired so much felt that I was deserving of standing side-by-side with them. 

The search for the Association’s next president is being led by the FTA and FFTA Boards. The Association is also enlisting the services of an independent HR firm to assist with the communication process, and to ensure the search is accomplished swiftly and efficiently.

“FTA and FFTA have exceptional governing Boards. Each and every Board member is fully engaged in the execution of our business,” says Cisternino. “My main goal is to ensure that the entire process is transparent and that anyone interested in pursuing the position is given full access through a clear pipeline.” 

Candidates for the position can visit flexography.org to see its job description, desired qualifications, required documentation and instructions for submitting materials.