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Posts Tagged ‘Classic’

Things Legends are Made From: Word on the Street — Sept. 24th thru Sept. 28th

September 29th, 2012 3 COMMENTS

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

OK, well maybe that is a bit overstated 🙂 … or maybe not.

Last Saturday September 23, Club 815 Powered by the EDPA Foundation saddled up to ride and to raise money for Mike and Janet Swartout. The event was the Eschelon Gran Fondo of Hood River.

To say that this event and everything leading up to it took on a life of its own would not be descriptive enough. This event became one of the most personally inspiring events of my life. And it was not just about the “day” of the ride.

From the outset, each team member took this ride very seriously. Serious in their training, serious in the way they raised funds, and serious in their understanding of why we were riding. We were riding for one of our own — much more than just a co-worker, associate, or friend. Everyone approached this ride like it was for a family member. And it was.

To Donate:

I wanted to acknowledge this TEAM of exceptional people:

  • Tony “Layers” Ricci
  • Betsy “Veggies” Ricci
  • Greg “Marathon Man” Garrett
  • Mel “Crash” White
  • Dave “Weird Science” Brown
  • Charlie “Super G” Shivel
  • Joel “Grumps” Roy
  • Grant “King Of The Mountain” Murrell
  • And…myself Kevin “White Cheeks” Carty…don’t ask…cause I won’t tell

To my fellow riders — Proud, Honored, Inspired and Blessed are the words that come to mind when I try to describe how I feel about your participation, training, and dedication to the ride. You all are exceptional individuals that I am fortunate to count as friends in life.

Some particular comments….

Mel White…I am particularly proud of you my friend. You trained like no other. And it was not just that you were training for the ride. You really put your heart and soul into the “cause”– the real reason we all were there. Thank you!

For those of you who don’t know. Mel fell hard on one of the downhills and separated his shoulder. And kept riding!!

Dave Brown…Since I first mentioned this event, you were all in. During his training, Dave would send me his training ride stats. How far, how fast he rode, and how he felt during the training ride. One thing was always consistent. He would say “whenever it got hard I just kept telling myself this is nothing compared to what Mike is going through.”

Grant Murrell…my stepfather. Grant and my mother have been two of my biggest supporters, certainly in life, but especially when it comes to all things cancer related. When I told them about Mike, they both just said, “What can we do?” Thanks for always being so supportive. All my friends from the ride appreciated getting to know you both. Thanks Mom for being a “Mom” to us all on the day of the ride

Charlie Shivel…Dude, all I can say is that your source for inspiration on this ride “inspired” me. Referring to your fundraising letter in particular, it bled character! Thanks again for hanging with the slow rider for awhile at the beginning. It was fun riding together for 40 miles or so.

Joel Roy…I am been trying to get Joel to do one of my crazy events for years. Once he heard about this one and why we were doing it he committed immediately.  Hopefully now that you have done one of these, you think I am a little less crazy than before.

Greg Garrett…Greg is an iron man. He came off riding across the entire State of Iowa for Rag Brai to do this event. And thankfully Greg shares a similar riding style as me. We essentially rode the entire 80 miles together. Good fun and great opportunity to get to know you even better my friend.

Tony and Betsy Ricci… Our resident couple on the ride. They flew all the way from Florida for the event. Granted they have recently adopted Oregon as their second home for vacations, but they both trained very hard on the flat lands of Florida for this mountain-filled ride. And they did amazing. Thanks for showing us how great it can be sharing events like this with the ones closest to you. Very cool!

Lastly from the entire team — Mike and Janet, you were our fuel. Seeing you at the start line in the morning gave us inspiration and motivation to attack the nearly 7000 feet of climbs. Then to actually see you out there on the course rooting us along as we topped the big climbs was awesome! Could not have asked for better cheerleaders.

In closing, one post ride comment: “We may have bit off more than we could chew.” Let me explain in case the other riders do not want to brag. This ride was so HARD. So hard that the organizers actually backed off from 100 miles to 80 in the final week or so. Along with there being 7000 feet in climbs, we were all greeted at the 50 mile marker by 45 mph winds. Not gusts! Steady wind. What does that look like? Here is the best way I can describe what that does to a rider.

As I came off the biggest climb (1400 ft and 6%-9% grade), we had a downhill that was nearly 6 miles long. Normally coasting time baby. But not when that wind shifted into a headwind. I literally had to peddle downhill for 6 long miles. As if the climb was not hard enough!

Mike and Janet Swartout

Anyway, I want to thank you all again for supporting our team. Without your generosity in donations, we would not have been talking about this today. You truly helped to make a difference not only for Mike and Janet, but also in the hearts and minds of all nine of us that rode. Thanks so much

To Jeff Provost, Dave Walens, and the entire team from the EDPA Foundation, thanks for your generous support in being the vehicle for our fundraising efforts

To the team, see you next year. We are already planning our next adventure.

Make sure you take a look at the slideshow here. You can see some of the beauty of our great state and the riders that took on the challenge.

Be well and have a wonderful weekend.

Kevin Carty

Out with the Old, In with the New: Word on the Street — Dec. 26th thru Dec. 30th

January 2nd, 2012 COMMENTS

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

I trust you enjoyed your Holiday Season and were able to recharge your batteries as we head into 2012.

As is typical, the end of the year has been BUSY, especially the past two weeks with budget dumping orders as well as projects for the first three months of the year.

My annual “State of the Company” letter is nearly completed, and I hope to have it ready for next week’s blog.

Until then, here are several of the more widely read blog posts from 2011. Enjoy (and please share).

Best wishes from the Classic Family. May your New Year be filled with joy and prosperity.

Be well!

–Kevin Carty

Classic’s Green Initiatives: Word on the Street — May 16th thru May 20th

May 21st, 2011 COMMENTS

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Classic’s Green Initiatives (What You Should Know)

So, you may be saying, “Well it’s about time!” But not so fast.

Over the past three to four years, we have witnessed a lot of companies  jump, or should I say “belly-flop,” into the Green/Sustainable movement. In doing so, many have looked foolish by attempting to make “Green” a marketing ploy rather than a responsible business plan. I’m sure you’ve seen many of the claims. My favorite was the exhibit manufacturer that claimed their lunchroom was a green initiative since many employees ate there rather than drive to a fast food joint.

As a result, we have opted not to market a green plan that is not real. Instead, we have taken real steps to become a more responsible business when it comes to recycling and being a steward of the environment.

Granted, we’ve had help. As many of you know, we acquired ownership in Eco-systems Sustainable Exhibits last June. But even before that, we had a very close partnership with Eco-systems where we provided manufacturing expertise to Eco-systems, and they, in turn, guided us toward more sustainable manufacturing processes.

Again, this has been a learning process for Classic Exhibits — one we are still learning almost daily. We still have a long way to go, but our Production and Administrative employees are clearly passionate about it. Make no mistake, we will continue to become more and more environmentally conscious. But understand one thing. It’s unlikely we’ll refer to Classic as a “Green Company” anytime soon. Because we are not. For exhibit solutions that are 100% “Eco-friendly,” we encourage you to turn to Eco-systems Sustainable Exhibits, the industry leader in sustainable displays.

Here are a few of the Green/Sustainable changes in our manufacturing process over the past few years.

recycle, reuse, reduce

Recycle, Reuse, Reduce

1. Eco-fi Fabric

Classic uses Eco-fi fabrics, which are made from recycled soda bottles, for many of our fabric needs. Whether it’s on Quadro Pop-ups, Intro Folding Fabric Systems, Euro LT Modular panels (backsides), or the wood crates that we line with fabric and completely jig for your displays.

2. Glues

Classic primarily uses 3M’s Fastbond 3000, a water-based adhesive. It’s a replacement for many of the standard glues of the past which were not only unsafe for the environment, but also did not work as well.

3. Metal Recycling

You can’t be the leader in hybrid exhibit manufacturing and MODUL aluminum extrusions without metal drops. Nearly every order creates drops whether it’s Aero Overhead Hanging Signs, Visionary Designs Hybrids, Sacagawea, or specialty work on our CNC mill. We work with a local company called Metro Metals. They pick up our drops for recycling and pay us for the metal.

4. Aluminum Extrusions

We are very fortunate to work with a local aluminum extruder that believes in using as much regrind aluminum as possible in their billets. So much so, that they are the only extruder we know that certifies the recycled content of their billets with a 27 percent post consumer minimum! Combine that with the fact that they recycle their own drops off the extrusion press (post industrial) and you get a level of recycled content that often exceeds 70 percent.

5. Sheet Goods

Like others in our business, we use a lot of sheet goods:  Sintra, Lexan, Styrene, Coroplast, Black Foam, Acrylic, Laminate, and certainly Wood.

On the plastics, we developed a program with a local company, Denton Plastics, where they pickup our drops and recycle it into reusable pellets. With a simple series of labeled drop bins, our shop staff has someplace other than the trash to throw even the smallest pieces of laminate and acrylic scraps. Which leads me to the next item . . . .

6. Regrind Cases and Black Foam

All of Classic’s roto-molded cases  are made from 100% regrind plastic. The beauty is that the plastic pellets used to make our regrind cases are supplied by Denton Plastics, the same company that recycles all of our sheet good drops (except the wood of course). So, the drops we produce are actually in some cases recycled into pellets that are then used by our local roto-molder to make our cases. Pretty cool and a fast reclamation of goods.

In addition, the die-cut foam packaging you’ve come to expect and love from Classic is made from recycled content. The next time you receive a Sacagawea or a Perfect 10 and open a roto-molded case (regrind plastic), unpack the MODUL aluminum (recycled content), and admire the packaging (recycled foam), you’re witnessing our commitment to finding green solutions.

7. Wood

Classic has many local options for recycling our wood drops as well. All of which, like the plastics, get ground down and then sold for re-use in either recycled sheet goods or other recycled wood products.

8. Cardboard and Paper

Recycling cardboard and paper has always been easy. We’ve been recycling all our paper products for years.

So rather than send out press releases about how we encourage carpooling, or how our systems are reconfigurable, or how we offer a substantial rental program, all of which make us green somehow, we’ll continue to take it one positive step at a time and learn from our suppliers, our employees, and from our partner Eco-systems Sustainable Exhibits.

Be well.

–Kevin Carty

Word on the Street — April 5th thru April 9th

April 11th, 2010 1 COMMENT

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Got Any Secret Travel Tips?

Busy week. On Monday and Tuesday, we hosted a small group of distributors for an extensive training session. On Wednesday, I was putting the final touches on a business trip for this coming week. I’ll be traveling to three separate destinations, and each destination has a distinctly different agenda. This is a complicated trip, and it made me realize that although I travel frequently, I don’t consider myself either a road warrior or an travel expert.

However, experience has taught me a few things about business trips, so I’d like to share some of my tips. There are many readers of this blog who travel far more than me, and I know everyone would enjoy hearing your tips, tricks, and insights for a successful business trip too.


When I start planning my trip, I focus on “anchor appointments.” These appointments should be scheduled at least three weeks in advance if possible. This is especially critical. It helps you plan your flights, hotels, rentals, and other appointments. Setting appointments well in advance of the trip means that you respect your client’s time and by extension that they respect your time and the effort and expense you’ve made to visit them.

Next, I try to have the rest of my schedule set two weeks before the trip. Then, if someone has to cancel or to move an appointment, I have time to shuffle my other appointments . . . although it can be difficult to make schedule changes at this point.

Now, what are my goals for each appointment? It depends. Some appointments are as simple as saying “Hello,” making sure we’re doing a good job, and taking the distributor to lunch or dinner. Those appointments rarely happen anymore. As Classic and ClassicMODUL have added product lines and online features, I’ve found that distributors are hungry for product and website training, industry news, and sales and marketing feedback.

Some appointments can be 3-4 hours long where I am conducting a complete product overview, including a “dog and pony” show of multiple products and services. Those usually are accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation created and tailored for that specific client.

Lastly, there are the 30 minute appointments. They are few and far between but are often the first step in building a relationship with a prospective distributor. I usually have two or three of these on any given trip. They offer me an opportunity to put a face to a name/voice . . . sort of a quick speed date to get formally introduced, answer some questions, and drop off some samples.


Now the flights. Personally, I like Sunday flights. Red-eyes if I am traveling to the East Coast so I can just hop of the plane and start my day. Plus, it means I can spend all day Sunday with my family. Many think I am nuts for doing this, but I will let you in on a little secret that Dave Brown from Optima, Reid Sherwood, and I know all too well.


Word on the Street — September 14th thru September 18th

September 19th, 2009 COMMENTS
Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Where Have All the Turnaround Times Gone?

Of course, I say this partially in jest, but boy isn’t it true right now?!?

And please don’t get me wrong. Like you, we are delighted to have the business. As many of you have shared with me this week, everyone is ordering much later this year.

Every morning at Classic, we hold a 15 minute Lead Meeting. It is designed to give the Production Leads and the Purchasing, Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service Managers a quick review of the day’s business as well as an opportunity to look ahead at upcoming orders, quotes, and purchasing requests.

We use our Shipping Report as our guide in these 15 minute morning meetings. So naturally, I review it before the meeting begins. It looks much different these days than it did this time last year.

As many of you know, Classic Exhibits already has the fastest lead times in the industry, so we are used to being nimble when it comes to your client’s “unrealistic” requests. One of the ideals we adhere to in Production is:  “Do enough of tomorrow’s work today, so that when tomorrow goes to hell or someone has a rush need, we are prepared to handle it.”

Sometimes even I forget these basic ideals. But I am always amazed by how our Production and Customer Service teams live by them. Looking at the Shipping Report this week, I have seen everything from 10 x 10 Visionary Designs Custom Hybrids with 4 day turnaround times to a Euro LT 20 x 30 Island that has to deliver in 8 days. It’s crazy! And yet . . .

We make it happen!

Now, to be fair to our Project Management and Production team, this is not a invitation to hammer our lead times.  We do everything we can to meet your requests, which you already know, but when we say, “Sorry” which is very, very rare, or when we add rush charges, you know those are real and not arbitrary.

That said, we are very happy to have the business and even happier to see Classic Distributors busy. 

Have a safe and restful weekend.

Be Well!

–Kevin Carty