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Posts Tagged ‘Optima Graphics’

Women in Exhibition Breakfast @ EXHIBITORLIVE 2019 | Mentoring Opportunities

March 19th, 2019 COMMENTS
Featured Speaker
Sandy Jones-Kaminski

Our thanks to everyone who supported the Annual Women in Exhibitions Breakfast at EXHIBITORLIVE. It was a huge success! Attendance increased from 100 in 2018 to 150 in 2019.

Here’s what our members are saying:

“I attend the Women in Exhibition event each year at EXHIBITORLIVE and bring the women on my team for networking and education. At this event, we are able to connect with other women in our industry who have various roles and challenges within their organizations. The breakfast is professionally facilitated with a keynote speaker to allow for education at all levels.

“I started my business 26 years ago after the President of the company I worked for told me I would be great at what I did, if I were a man. This simple statement fueled years of passion in starting and growing my own business where women play a key role. Women supporting women is the right thing to do.” – Donna Shultz, President & CEO of Mirror Show Management

“Optima was proud to sponsor the WIE breakfast at ExhibitorLive 2019! Looking around the venue that morning, I was proud to be sitting amongst the best and brightest women in the industry. I think we all felt a sense of camaraderie.

“I walked away being reminded of the importance of mentoring and being mentored. Each of us can mentor and share our knowledge and experience with someone less tenured. Being mentored doesn’t stop, no matter what age or level we are in our career, we can always learn something from someone else, especially in this industry.”  – Gina Porcaro, Account Executive at Optima Graphics, Inc.

Connecting and learning from each other is the basis for Women in Exhibitions, founded in 2002. The incredible women in our group have proven to be a valuable resource to each other. It has become critical to optimize our meeting time and location at EXHIBITORLIVE to bring more of us together. And how better to keep the connections growing and vital throughout the year than through a mentorship program?

Want to be a mentor or have a mentor?  Start with this survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WIEmentorship

This year’s speaker Sandy Jones-Kaminski pointed out: “Mentorship is what you make of it. Set expectations, set goals. Each of us can learn from each other.” Sandy shared so much with us, not only about mentorships, but about networking and building a personal brand. Here is a link to her presentation if you missed it or just want to review: http://www.belladomain.com/exhibitorlive/

Both our financial and in-kind sponsors deserve so much credit: Exhibitor Media Group, Classic Exhibits, Optima Graphics, Exhibit Concepts, Access TCA, Live Marketing, Highmark Tech, Pinnacle Exhibits, ProExhibits, AFR Furniture Rental, Brumark, Skyline-Holt, Condit, Steelhead Productions, and Exhibit Expressions. An extra special thanks to Freeman who added their support to our cause as well!

Have questions? Want to get involved? Have a great idea to name of our mentorship program? E-mail us at WomenInExhibitions@gmail.com. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Katina Rigall Zipay, Creative Director @ Classic Exhibits (katina@classicexhibits.com)

The World of SEG (As I See It)

September 11th, 2018 2 COMMENTS

Guest Post by Dave Brown, Optima Graphics

When Neanderthals Walked the Earth

My first exposure to Silicone Edge Graphics (SEG) was in 2002. At the time, we (Optima) were using a foam/rubber gasket to finish fabric graphics. The gasket (similar to screen door material) was an aesthetic step forward from Velcro since it helped to remove ripples and waves in a fabric graphic, but it was not a viable long-term solution. In early 2003, Optima was approached by AIT. They were promoting an improved graphic attachment using a stretchy silicone material that could be tucked into a channel or systems groove on an engineered aluminum frame, like Octanorm or MODUL. I vaguely recall that they were selling frames as well, but don’t quote me on that.

During that same time frame, several truss suppliers were offering a “truss clip” option where an 18” section of aluminum channel would snap onto the individual truss rails. A magnet was sewn to the graphic, so it could be secured within the truss clip. There was nothing special about the magnet other than its dimensions were perfect for sewing it to the fabric and then tucking it into the truss clip. Functionally a shim. However, the magnet was impractical for shipping purposes.

With the ever-present desire to cut exhibit program costs, many “early adopter” exhibitors and exhibit houses were looking to fabric graphics as an option. Fabric or dye-sublimated textile graphics had two immediate advantages:  they reduced the overall weight of an exhibit and they could be folded for compact shipping. But the Velcro and truss clip option each had aesthetic and practical flaws.

The Rise of SEG

Entering 2005, Silicone Edge Graphics were moving more mainstream, and our very own Mary Mueller coined the term SEG. Heck, we even tried to trademark it, but the US Patent Office claimed it was too generic (but “three peat” could be trademarked. Hmmmm?). By mainstream, I mean that SEG was being incorporated into display hardware, wall-mounted frame solutions, and custom exhibits.

As time progressed, SEG became a true building material, and fabric now clads the exterior of exhibits in the same way Canyon Blue Formica or Tempo loop did in the early 90’s. Customers want their visual message and presence maximized in their exhibits, and as dye-sublimation has progressed so has the boundaries of SEG. It is not uncommon to see a single 10’ x 20’ SEG fabric graphic whether backlit or non-backlit that’s as stunning and real as a Lambda print. A handful of companies have incorporated machinery that will produce a single graphic that’s 15 ft. in width, and the industry has been the beneficiary of R&D from many different perspectives. For example:

  • Backlighting. At Optima, we have launched three different backlit materials in the last 11 months, and our suppliers keep sending us a steady stream of potential new materials to test.
  • Opacity. Fabric may have been great for packing and hanging, but prior to 2013, there were functionally no opaque options. The blocker game is over because numerous opaque options exist and are ideal for trade show graphics. Eliminating blockers reduces installation time and cost. We can all cheer for that!
  • Stretch / Pliability. Installing SEG is, good bad or indifferent, a bit of an art form. A material that stretches east – west vs. east-west and north-south is a big deal because the added pliability reduces the artistic install talent needed by the end client or hired labor. “I have done this a million times” does not perfectly translate to “You are really good at it.”
  • Wrinkles. Let’s not mince words, Wrinkles suck! I get it. Paying as much as $250 an hour for Sunday OT steaming is unappetizing to any exhibitor.Here’s a snippet from an actual conversation I had this spring, “Sorry I am late. My shirt was a mess from packing, so I had to touch it up with the iron.” Fast forward to, “We arrived at the booth and one of the graphics was all wrinkled, so we had to steam it. Why do we need to do that? We should not have to do this” Logically, you know that a shirt (piece of fabric) needs to be ironed to eliminate wrinkles, but a fabric graphic should be impervious to similar wear and tear. Trust me, the holy grail of dye-sub fabric graphics is a 100% wrinkle-free material. This is and has been a R&D priority for years.
  • Flame Retardant (FR). Optima and many other high-quality providers will not sell an SEG dye-sub fabric graphic that is not FR. However, the FR treatment can increase the wrinkle factor or wrinkle-ability. Selling a NON-FR fabric is just plain stupid. Can you imagine ALL the instances where exhibitors are informed that all their fabric graphics need to be removed because they are unable to supply a FR certificate, and/or the material fails an onsite test? That is the stuff of lawsuits. It’s not worth it. Yet, there are instances where low-cost providers take that risk without informing the customer.

The Future of SEG

If the key ingredient in SEG is simply the attachment element (various rubbery / reasonably stretchy / reasonably firm 2.3mm x 7mm x 1mm-ish strips), then the sky is the limit. We have already progressed through print clarity (print resolution, density, color gamut via equipment and print technology), textile opacity, textile transmissiveness (backlighting), and ideal size of material.

A Prediction:   LED incorporation into the textiles will progress from experimental to routine and full digital textile is only a few years away. Envision a wall frame with an SEG monitor installed at any size you want. A 10 x 20 inline that conveys your client’s dynamic message, creates and morphs from one environmental engagement to the next, and during breaks on the show floor – you can watch your favorite Family Guy, episode. AND the whole thing fits in a single airline shippable case.

It’s coming sooner than we all think.

Dave Brown
dsbrown@optimagfx.com

Dave Brown is the VP of Sales at Optima Graphics. We all know and love Dave, so a long, detailed bio isn’t really necessary. And, yes, we all have a memorable Dave Brown story.

SEG Installation Video from Optima

October 20th, 2014 1 COMMENT

Side-by-Side Comparison

Kudos to our friends at Optima for their recent videos.  They’ve upped the ante on how to script and produce a professional educational video. Here’s a terrific one to share with your customer if they’ve purchased a silicone edge graphic display. Force them to watch it. It will save you a 9 a.m. call from the show floor that the SEG graphic(s) doesn’t fit. It does.

For more videos by Optima, go to https://www.youtube.com/user/OptimaGraphics.

–Mel White
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite
mel@classicexhibits.com

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Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.


 

Another Great SKU Class : Word on the Street — September 22nd thru September 26th

September 27th, 2014 1 COMMENT

Kevin Carty, VP Classic Exhibits

Kevin Carty, VP Classic Exhibits

Shared Knowledge University Graduation

Last week, thirty trade show professionals descended on Portland, Oregon for Shared Knowledge University. The group was diverse, both in background and geography.

We are proud of every SKU graduating class, but this class was truly exceptional in my opinion. To a person, each and every student came to learn, listen, and participate in the class sessions and hands-on product training. For that, I thank you all. Your engagement across both days was truly over the top.

Anyone who has ever held a business training seminar recently knows it’s challenging to keep everyone engage. Emails are constant and responsibilities don’t suddenly disappear just because you are 2000 miles from the office.  This group, however, was involved every step of the way.

This session was a little different. We invited an outside presenter on Day 2, Pinky Gonzales from Sightworks. Pinky is an expert on all things LinkedIn. His two-hour session focused on creating compelling profiles and using LinkedIn as a sales prospecting tool. Based on SKU attendee comments, this session shook up everyone’s understanding of LinkedIn. To a person, they now recognize the true power of using LinkedIn as an active sales tool.

IMG_9189One big takeaway for both Mel and me was that we will continue to include someone like Pinky, and maybe Pinky himself, in future SKU sessions.

To the SKU Graduates, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to learn more about the business and the people at Classic Exhibits. You were all amazing. The time we spent each evening at the Kennedy School and Bridgeport Brewery was so much fun. I hope you got a little sense for what we love so much about our city. But whatever you do . . . remember THE PLEDGE!

To our industry partners who presented, Eric from Eco-Systems, Dave Brown, Robin Talbott, and Brianna Ziomek from Optima, and Marlys Arnold from the Exhibit Marketers Cafe, thank you for sharing SKU with us. Your content was “King” as they say. And we appreciate your help as always. The impact of your sessions was felt by the entire class as well as the Classic Team.

Lastly, to our Classic Family — What else can be said but thanks for all your hard work. You continue to make us all shine. We are proud of you and the work you do. The attendees’ feedback was more about YOU as group than anything else. Thanks as always!

See the Tuesday afternoon reception:

sku-enw-reception-timelapse

You know . . . after seven or eight of these events, you would think that I, as one of the organizers, would not really have much more to learn. Not true! I learned valuable tips regarding business as well as life. And even some odd tips that are not even business related. For example, did you know that the History Channel is an aphrodisiac? In particular, Modern Marvels. It’s true! One attendee has a two-year old to prove it. 🙂

Have a great weekend! Watch for the next SKU announcement, tentatively scheduled for May 2015. We hope to see you there.

Be well.

–Kevin
http://twitter.com/kevin_carty
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kevin-carty/3/800/32a

A Groovy First Year Retrospective

July 9th, 2013 COMMENTS

First Year Retrospective

Lessons Learned by Jen LaBruzza

Lesson #56 – Problems Can be Opportunities in (a really bad) Disguise

Some might say “astounding.” Others may choose “astonishing.” I choose “G-R-O-O-V-Y”!

The past year has been, well, groovy. I’m imagining a few LOL moments from those who have spent time with me. This month marks my one-year anniversary with Classic Exhibits as the Western Regional Manager.

As a former teacher, I would be remiss if I didn’t pause for a little self-reflection on my first year. To those who have allowed me into your businesses and into your lives — “Thank You!” I am grateful for every conversation and every meeting. I realize that it’s not always easy meeting with a newbie.

Which brings me to the sometimes challenging part of my job:  problem solving and wheel greasing. You may recall Reid Sherwood’s timely blog post last year, What You Should Expect From a Manufacturer’s Rep. It was published just as I was heading out on my first trip and hearing a lot of, “Now what is your role with Classic Exhibits?” It was a great insight into the expectations for Regional Managers at Classic Exhibits and ClassicMODUL.

Did you lose my manuscripts?

It also brought to light a part of our job that we sometimes dread — Problem Solver. Having worn many hats over the years in this industry, this is still the one hat that drives me the most crazy. It eats up everyone’s margin on that “oh so easy” job. But without something breaking, without trouble that shakes up the normal course of things, there is no opportunity to introduce new and better solutions.

Ernest and Ezra

In the 1920’s, when Ernest Hemingway was working hard to perfect his craft, he lost a suitcase containing all his manuscripts. The devastated Hemingway couldn’t conceive of redoing his work. He could only think of the months he’d devoted to his arduous writing . . . all for nothing, he was now convinced.  But when he lamented his loss to his friend and poet, Ezra Pound, Pound called it a stroke of luck. Pound assured Hemingway that when he rewrote the stories, he would forget the weak parts and only the best material would reappear. Instead of framing the event in disappointment, Pound cast it in the light of opportunity. Hemingway did rewrite those stories, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Last year, there have been problems, ranging from “I need an extra length of cord cover for our customer’s extrusion” to the generic “This job has problems and I need you to fix them.” Recently, one of the latter took me to the show site.

The “opportunity” involved Classic stepping up to the plate and correcting some mistakes. They weren’t huge, but measuring mistakes depends on who has the ruler. The distributor requested that we send someone to the show site to assist their client. All was well until the final phase, when things were being plugged in and tested. The last SEG graphic was not going to work, not because of size but because the client was unhappy with the standard rear projection fabric. Did I mention this was on a Sunday?

I was able to call in the cavalry, a.k.a. Dave Brown from Optima Graphics who suggested an alternative fabric. He rallied his troops and got the new graphic printed and on a flight. Did I mention that the show opened on Monday at 9:30 am? For me, it meant waking up at 4:15 am to arrive at the airport at 4:30 to ensure that the graphic was installed by 7:30. This was clearly an opportunity waiting to happen and thanks to Optima, the new rear projection fabric worked perfectly.

A sure sign of a successful person or a company is how they tackle problems. Are they creative and innovative? Do they turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones. It’s often those hidden opportunities that can cement your relationship with your client and serve to make it stronger because you have weathered it together. As the saying goes, “Problems happen. It’s how you handle them that is important.”

Now go out there and focus on turning challenges into opportunities rather than into disappointments and problems. And most importantly, let me know how I can help.

Jen LaBruzza, Western Regional Manager
Classic Exhibits/ClassicMODUL
jen@classicexhibits.com

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Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions and engineered aluminum extrusions (ClassicMODUL). Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100.