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People DO make a difference!

August 15, 2014 3 comments

Author

I have just returned from vacation at Glacier National park in Montana where I spent 75 combined hours on a train via a sleeping car on Amtrak (See America by Rail Except When it’s Dark or you are sleeping or delayed by freight traffic). Ultimately, it was a great travel experience full of a variety of activities including hiking, rafting, helicopter rides and zip lining 350 feet above the forest canopy.

What stood out while engaged in these activities were the people making this experience come to life. I am talking about the Amtrak stewards, attendants, waiters, raft guides, lift operators, pilots, zip line personnel, etc. For the most part, these people enjoyed their work, were enthusiastic, helpful, informational, proactive, engaging and fun. They added to the experience, kept you safe, and provided a sense of security. Read more…

What does it mean to be an artist?

July 18, 2014 4 comments

Category Icon Test

I was trained in college to be a graphic designer and worked in that capacity for many years. I tell people that I am a Neanderthal – that I go so far back that I worked with a chisel and stone. Well not that far back. I started my career in the late 60’s and my medium for creating layouts and comps for my designs was markers. I had every color in the rainbow. That was pre-computer days folks.

Read more…

Inside the Industry with the Optima Sales Team

July 11, 2014 3 comments

authorRecently, we had our yearly sales meeting. A lot of things were discussed and action items given to accomplish the rest of this year forward. In the middle of this week-long event, we thought it would be a good idea to do something fun and different with our sales staff.

So, in the vein of the James Lipton show ‘Inside the Actors Studio’, the sales staff was asked the 10 questions asked of every guest on that show (modified for the Trade Show Industry). The top 5 answers were recorded and tabulated at our home office in Fenton, Missouri.

Without further ado, I give you the answers to the 10 questions:

Read more…

Independence Day 2014 – 3 Quick Thoughts on Freedom

July 3, 2014 3 comments

garyAs we make plans for celebrating Independence Day and our Freedom, thoughts typically are with our family and friends, BBQs, swimming and fireworks. It occurred to me that very few people would take the time to read the Optima Blog this week. What a great opportunity to shift our focus away from work. Besides those obvious initial thoughts, I challenged myself to ask – what are the first three things that pop into my head when I think about the 4th?

The first thought that popped to mind is reflection on the extreme sacrifices our forefathers
(including the indigenous population and recent heroes) endured to provide for our version of freedom. Memorial Day can be everyday. As a direct result of those sacrifices we, as Americans, are free to do sometimes-crazy things, like swim with sharks in the San Francisco Bay. (Well, Dave Brown did it…I am exercising personal restraint on anything that involves me becoming the main course.)

Read more…

Yaka Yaka Yaka Vroom Vroom


Originally posted on Optima Graphics Blog:

garyTop Five Reasons to Pick Up the Phone… One Reason To Hang Up

Just recently I discovered that the phone exists outside the car and WOW that thing is magical…

People havenʼt stopped using phones, we just use them in different places. Vehicles for example. Have you noticed that most people, (not you), only talk on the phone while driving? If you live in one of those neo-socialist states that long ago removed the personal responsibility of in-vehicle communications, then think way-back, back to when you had the choice to be stupid. Cruising at highway speeds, turning one-handed into school parking lots to drop off kids – little darlings madly texting away in the backseat before school, driver laughing with one hand holding the phone to their ear, the other hand waving and gesturing wildly. Whatʼs steering that beast-a-burben anyway? Letʼs not even talk about texting while driving. Text me…

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Categories: Examples

Sharkfest 2014 – Golden Gate Bridge

June 27, 2014 6 comments

Author
First, there are no sharks in the San Francisco Bay. Sure, someone will post something to prove me wrong, but as far as I am concerned, there are no sharks anywhere and especially near where I was swimming this past weekend. On Saturday morning, I and several industry compadres (Steve Riches – Laguna Displays, Tom McAndrews – Grapevine Exhibits, and Alex Hill – Visual Merchandising) hopped on a ferry along with 350 other swimmers, jumped into the bay underneath the Golden Gate Bridge, and swam back to Sausalito in time for breakfast. Read more…

Has the QR Code been cracked?

June 20, 2014 3 comments

author

Like most of us I am a member of multiple groups on LinkedIn and I try to check each one out once a month (if not more often.) On a recent visit to the group page I came across the QR Code Strategy & Creative Group. This made me think “Have QR codes ran their course? Do I have any recent examples of utilizing a QR code?”

The answer was yes!
Let me explain with these examples three.

Example 1:
Recently I added a QR code to my business card that links to my LinkedIn page. Obviously, I feel I am very important. My mother will concur. Now I am thinking I should have linked it to a video where I introduced Optima and myself. Read more…

Pano Lever Lock – – Time Is Money


 

garyLast week I shared a story then asked the question, are using the right tool for the job?


It’s interesting how even the right tool for a job can be made better just with a simple innovation.
Examples are all around us, including utilitarian design like a more ergonomic handle on your coffee pot or creating office chairs that have mesh support so you can sit longer and feverishly type blog posts without getting overheated.

I was looking at a Pronto™ Retractable Banner stand the other day and was reflecting on how that product has developed, even though it remains similar in look. Given that the product carries a lifetime warranty, it has been an advantage for everyone to improve quality without increasing cost. Optima™ made some simple improvements to the internal mechanism that improved durability in real-world use/travel situations.  Read more…

The Right Tool for the Job


garyAm I lazy or just stupid? That’s the question my internal voice asked me – not once, not twice, but thrice before it sank in. Again when faced with a task, I decided to grab the nearest object – not the right tool for the job.

A few weekends ago a mishap that I won’t bore you with resulted in some minor damages to my bike including a misaligned exhaust cap. After straightening out all necessities to get the machine running right again, including some quick welding by my brother Quick, I found myself trying to undo little damages here and there. Small details unseen by anyone else but me were eating at me nonetheless. This left exhaust tip not lined up like the right one was next on my list. I tried a few things typical of my non-mechanically inclined brain. First up was NOTHING. No need to do anything it’s all-good as is. That lasted maybe a day. Second on my list was to KICK the metal into place. Seemed logical and I didn’t need to even stoop, that didn’t work and it kinda hurt. Next up was trying to DREAM or THINK the part into place. Uri Geller I am not! Read more…

I DON’T SELL!


authorWell, I have been with Optima™ for a little over 11 years now and I have been through just about every position here (with the exception of production). I was our Receptionist, Customer Service Rep, New Business Coordinator, Estimator, New Product Development Coordinator and Frame Detailer/CAD Engineer. I have seen a lot of the business because I enjoy learning and I enjoy a challenge. I have worked with a large percentage of our customers and I feel I am pretty darn good at most of what I do. So when our new President started here almost 2 years ago, I got a couple of shocks. Read more…

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