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Posts Tagged ‘project management’

Two New Project Management Superstars at Classic Exhibits

August 15th, 2017 COMMENTS

New Project Managers at Classic Exhibits

We are delighted to announce two additions to Classic Exhibits:  Stefania Toscano and Paraskovia Semenov. Both are new project managers. Stefania works for the Classic Rental Solutions team. Paras handles orders, quotes, and customer service for Classic Exhibits.

New project managers undergo an intensive training program which includes working with other divisions, time on the production floor, and extensive mentoring by senior project managers. Stefania and Paras are about six weeks into a program that usually takes a full year to master. However, based on their performance so far, they’ll blow that time frame away. Sometimes you get lucky and hire superstars. We did.

We asked them to introduce themselves to the Classic Distributor Network.

Stefania Toscano

Stefania at Classic ExhibitsThanks for the warm welcome from Classic Exhibits. It truly feels like a family here, where everyone works hard and everybody looks out for each other.

My name is Stefania, (pronunciation: S-Teh-Fah-Knee-Ah, but I will answer to any sound similar to that). I grew up in Italy, and I moved to the United States with my family a few years ago. I’m still polishing my English, so please bear with me if I sound like a character from “The Godfather.”

I’ve spent most of my life working in marketing communications and events. I started as a consultant, and then I spent time at a PR agency working on media relations and events. Finally, I spent 10 years working for large renewable energy companies managing corporate and crisis communications, advertising, and organizing events.

After moving to the U.S., I started (and later closed) a food business, maintained a consulting job for an international renewable energy company, and worked on a global development project for Apple.

I have three boys — two I gave birth to, the third is the man I married.

I love the outdoors when I can I spend time hiking, kayaking, or camping. I have a passion for food, and I spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking traditional Italian dishes and exploring new Northwestern flavors.

I believe a fun, energetic, and creative workplace is a key component of every successful company. I always prefer a good laugh to silence. I love the camaraderie and unity at Classic Exhibits and look forward to contributing to the company’s success.

Paraskovia Semenov

Paras at Classic ExhibitsBorn and raised in the Portland Metro area, I lettered in Art and Orchestra during my high school years. I tried pursuing art in college, but decided college wasn’t for me after a year or so. But that’s when I got involved with customer service/direct sales and realized that not everyone is like they are in high school. I started to enjoy talking with people and figuring out their needs.

After a few years of sales, I took my creative talents to the cake decorating world. It gave me a chance to freehand designs from wedding cakes to cartoons to a simple theme cake. Sometimes customers would give me an idea and tell me to run with it. Honestly, it was the highlight of my day when a customer would come in saying their friend got this awesome cake and they would like one as well.

During my cake decorating years, I also worked as a waitress for two years at a Jewish retirement home serving meals to the elderly. I worked on both the independent living side and the hospital side. I was able to chat with everyone as if they were my grandparents swapping stories or chatting about their life. Everyone always had advice or something positive to say.

After about five years, I moved onto a customer service job at my uncle’s company where I became familiarized with metals, plating, standoffs, custom machined parts, blueprints, and the world of machine shops. This was both a change, and a positive challenge. I took my skills of organizing and planning to make Production run smoother and more efficient. After a couple of years and a change in ownership, I decided to leave the family business and venture out.

With a recommendation from a friend, I started at Classic. I could not have made a better choice. Classic is giving me the opportunity to grow with a company along with expanding my skills. Can’t wait to see what the future holds!

When I am not working, I enjoy car cruises, working on BMW’s with my husband, watching WWII documentaries, playing with my two cats, hanging out with family and friends, learning about my heritage/culture, fixing up our house, and trying to complete one of many unfinished art projects.


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

Word on the Street — January 24th thru January 28th

January 30th, 2011 COMMENTS
History Repeats

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

History Repeats

I hope you had a great week both professionally and personally.

Is it just me, or do you too find yourself feeling overwhelmed with business-related tasks right now? Whether it’s quotes, new orders, expansion, marketing, etc. Whatever it may be, you need an extra five hours every day to accomplish everything on your list.

This week alone, we were busy with new orders and new projects. And that doesn’t include what’s flowing through the Design Department. The shipping schedule is healthy. For me personally, as I write this on Saturday morning, I am whipped. This week included working on EXHIBITOR Show details, the new ClassicMODUL Southeast location launch, the revised pricing for Classic Exhibits, several Eco-systems projects, as well as some unusual quotes and orders.

It feels like it was an overwhelming week, but I know that’s not true. It’s more of getting back into the normal swing of things after the holidays. Even though we had a very strong finish to 2010, it’s always slower by comparison to January, February, and March.

And after 16-plus years, you would think I’d be used to this and not feel overwhelmed, but it seems to happen every year regardless of how conscientious I prepare. Trust me, I am not complaining! This January has proven to be a strong month, and many of our long-term plans from the past year are finally taking shape.

I have to remind myself that this is how it is every year. Same thing happens after July rolling into August.

I spoke to a few of you this week, and one person in particular called me on Wednesday morning. As I picked up the phone and said “Hello”, what I heard was “Is it just me, or is this the busiest the industry has been in the last 10 years?” Of course that is not true, but I know what he meant.

Compliments to the Classic Exhibits Project Management staff. We had a meeting Friday morning, and they have done a great job handling the ramp up in business. Thanks!!

As we roll into February, please be on the look out for many exciting bits of information and news regarding the upcoming EXHIBITOR Show 2011, the opening of the ClassicMODUL Southeast Depot, and of course clever promotions from Mel White for the spring.

Hope you all have a great and restful weekend. Stay busy!

–Kevin Carty

Word on the Street — September 20 thru September 24

September 26th, 2010 COMMENTS
Why we participate in the TS2 Show

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Survey Results and Responses — Part 1 of 2

Our thanks to everyone who participated in the recent Classic Exhibits survey. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. I know surveys can be a nuisance, but the data and the comments you shared will not fall on deaf ears. Much to the contrary. Like surveys of the past, we use this information to keep evolving as a company. So again, thanks!

I’ll share many of your questions and comments over the next two weeks where I’ll answer and/or describe how we plan to address them.

In no particular order . . .

Can I work with one particular Project Manager who gets to know me and how I work as opposed to going through “Projects” and getting  a different person each time?

Answer – Most certainly! It’s always your choice. If you would rather work with one dedicated Project Manager, please let us know, and we will make sure that person handles all your quotes and orders. Really the only potential pitfall is if that PM is overloaded, it may take him or her a bit longer to get back to you. But if that is the case, you can always use someone else for that particular project.

With so much aluminum extrusion out there these days, I would like to see designs that get away from “highlighting” the extrusion so much. I don’t want it to go away, but I would like to minimize how much is actually seen.

Answer – We have heard this from several distributors and have started to readdress many existing designs and transform them into SEGUE kits. SEGUE kits use MODUL TSP profiles that utilize Silicon Edge Graphics (SEG). This offers the best of both worlds — Hybrid Design with less exposed metal. Please do a search in the Visionary Designs gallery for SEGUE kits to see the full assortment.

Training Boot Camp at Classic! I would like to see this happen at the Classic facility. Two days of intensive training.

Answer – Great idea! We do this “one-on-one” or in small groups currently which is effective, but I agree that a larger group provides a different and much needed group learning dynamic. It also ensures you face-to-face time with the Classic team. We will schedule this in 2011.

Personally, I would rather know that you are very busy with quotes and designs and know that it will take longer than normal to get something from Design or Project Management. If it is going to take 5 days, then I would rather know that. Whether I like it or not. But sometimes I am told that I can have something in “standard” time only to have it show up a day or two late.

Answer – To be frank, most of the blame falls directly on Senior Management. We set a very high level of expectation when we meet with Distributors. And at the end of the day, especially in the busy season, I think we set our PM’s up for failure. For example, currently we are slammed with business — Quotes, Designs, Orders, etc. and on some days it is just not possible for a PM or a designer to hold the line when it comes to turnaround times.

Both PM’s and Designers have echoed your comment, especially during the busy season. We will try to better set the proper expectation both internally and externally. After all, we would much rather that you are pleasantly surprised by an early delivery than disappointed by a delay.

Classic needs a better process for allowing Distributors and Designers the ability to access DXF’s and other design files. While you do have an FTP site, the bulk of what is in Exhibit Design Search is not available there.

Answer – While I can’t promise a “quick” fix, I will say that there were several comments regarding this topic. Many of you even said that you didn’t wanted to burden our Design Dept. with routine requests, and with proper access to the files, your in-house design team could do much of the designing especially for kits.

This will be a longer process to bring up to date and fix, but we will meet about how to best address this challenge.

I wish I could opt-out of certain galleries on my Exhibit Design Search site.

Answer – Actually you can (within reason). Please contact Mel when you have time and he can explain the procedure.

Next week, I’ll respond to more questions and comments and review many of the statistical results from the survey.

Be well and have a wonderful week.

–Kevin Carty