Placing our stamp on the Mailing Industry 
for over 40 years!

History of MMA

Established 1976

In the seventies, several large corporations were headquartered in the Twin Cities area that provided mail processing and other related service functions for all of their locations, both within the US and internationally.  These companies experienced many of the same issues we still face today – such as understanding postal regulations, building relationships with the US Postal Service and vendors, sourcing equipment, and navigating issues related to technology and staffing, just to name a few.  

The advanced technology of today was not yet available – no internet, Skype, Tweeting, or Googling.  The only “clouds” were in the sky.  Networking options and resources to address issues were very limited.  Professional associations, organizations, publications and consultants were not nearly as prevalent as they are today.   And outsourcing of functions was a relatively new concept to the industry at that time.

Tim Hoffman, 3M’s Vice President of Corporate Office Services, came to the decision that there must be other companies with similar issues and needs.  It was then that he identified and reached out to a group of Mail Service Managers from key Twin Cities’ corporations to discuss the concept of forming a local mailers association. 

The first meeting was held at 3M headquarters in St. Paul.  It included 8 well-known Twin Cities companies and their representatives: 

3M Tim Hoffman

Honeywell          Mike Pelz (Zachmann)

Cargill Bill Mains

Control Data Bob Schultz

General Mills Russ Potter

Hennepin County Warren Berger

NW Airlines   Bob Schoen

NW National Life

It was unanimously agreed that an association of this type would be beneficial to business mailers of all sizes – large and small.  And they dedicated themselves to forming a plan to achieve their vision.

With no official list of mailers, they proceeded to go through the yellow pages and any other resource to develop an initial mailing list.  Announcements were sent out explaining the purpose of the proposed organization and to invite anyone interested to an initial meeting to get mailer feedback and get a feel for the interest level within the community.

The first meeting was held at a St. Paul restaurant with approximately 30 business mailers in attendance.   Tim Hoffman was elected the first President and Mike Pelz was elected the first secretary.  

The name MINNESOTA MAILERS ASSOCIATION (MMA) was selected and voted in as the official name of the organization.  A by-laws committee was established.  Eventually, a Treasurer was elected; followed by the addition of the office of Vice-President.  

Early meetings focused on getting ideas and input from the mailers.  What problems were they experiencing in the daily operation of a mail center?  What learning opportunities were needed?  What obstacles existed?  What staffing challenges did they face?  This networking was a great start in shaping the direction and vision of the newly formed mailers group. 

But unlike today, vendors were not initially part of the membership.  It was strictly a business mailers organization.  And there were no membership dues.   The sole revenue was generated from the profit from meeting/event attendance.   Members and their companies volunteered their services to prepare, print and share in the costs for the membership mailings.  Only later were vendors voted to be allowed as members.

The early programs were similar to those in MMA today.   There were mail center operation tours.  Speakers from the US Postal Service were invited to share information and knowledge as well as other mailing industry experts.  

Other unique opportunities developed to serve the mailing community.  For example, when several mailers were experiencing problems with a particular vendor, MMA facilitated a meeting held at the actual vendor company so the members could express their concerns and find solutions to their issues.   This proved highly effective.  The members were pleased with the fact that, as a group, they had some ground for getting common problems resolved.  

MMA continued to build official mail lists and community participation.  In 1978, MMA hosted its first mailers vendor exhibit and show at the Minneapolis Armory.  It was a 2-day event that was an immediate success.   All available resources and lists were used to solicit participation at this event to include more vendors and contacts within the mail and printing industry.  

Eventually membership dues were added to provide for more programs, professional speakers and a newsletter.   In the 1980’s, MMA even sponsored a course in mailing operations at a local college in downtown Minneapolis.  

Today, 41 years later, the MMA is still going strong and better than ever thanks to all the continued participation, hard work and innovative ideas from its members.   And moving forward by a third update to the website, PayPal acceptance, and email blast notifications, MMA is evolving to build on success and create a forum for learning and networking throughout the Twin Cities mailing community.

Mike Pelz Zachmann - 2017


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2200 W. 66th Street - PMB 196 - Richfield, MN 55423

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