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Designers of the Future at BSU


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This past Tuesday, I was fortunate enough to play professor for the day at Bemidji State University in Bemidji, MN (as the kids say Brrr-midji).   This was my second trip to Bemidji as I went and spoke at the school in the Fall of 2011.  BSU has a very impressive Technology, Art & Design department that offers students a degree opportunity in Exhibit Design.  I first spoke to a print media class and reviewed large format and grand format printing and then spoke to the Exhibit Design class.  The class had 30 students and I have to say it was a ton of fun and I think I would like to go back to school and become a professor.  I did a presentation on Optima, the industry, a few of our products, and then sprung a design contest on them that yielded 100% participation!  Come see us at EXHIBITOR2013 and we will share with everyone what the contest was and highlight the winner. 

In addition to the energy and excitement I saw from the students, I have to say I was blown away by some of the insightful questions they asked me.  One young lady asked me what print technology would replace dye sub printing and how would that technology be used with Pillow case graphics.  She was not alone as I fielded 30-40 questions over the class period and I have to say the best part of my day was the Q&A which continued after class and then at dinner that evening.  We also talked about the upcoming deer season (rifle opens on 11.3.12) and whether bow hunting or rifle hunting was more fun.  I am not a hunter and I did not know that some hunters use deer urine scents to help them attract and take out the illusive 57 point buck.  I also did not know that some used heated deer stands or reclining chairs to help make your hunting experience more comfy…  I digress.Author

During my discussions with faculty members Dr. Bonnie Higgins and Steve Sundahl, I learned that the class of 2012 has produced close to a dozen design students who have gone to work for exhibit companies around the country and one of them that is about to enter the job market is Kim Hacker.  Kim was the winner of our 2011 Exhibit Design contest – she designed our 2012 20 x 20 EXHIBITOR Show booth.  Kim has had some interviews and when we spoke on Tuesday, she shared that she had just received a job offer to be an exhibit designer!  I am not sure if winning the design contest helped her get this offer, but she did tell me that it was the most amazing experience of her life and thanked me a handful of times.

This is one occasion when I have to say I was truly proud of working for Optima and thankful that the company gave me the opportunity to speak to these budding designers and help shape their opinion of our industry.  Their enthusiasm was infectious, their questions were challenging and impactful, and I would suggest that anyone reading this keep BSU in mind for a potential interns or designers in the future.  The hallways are filled with examples of high end design and I believe there are 30+ potential graphic and exhibit design graduates entering the job force next Spring. For more information, please see the schools website or contact Dr. Higgins directly. The school is doing an amazing job producing bright stars for the future and apparently a few hunters to boot.

Dave S. Brown
VP of Sales
Optima Graphics
  1. Kimberly Hacker
    January 4, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    Dave,
    I just came across this article and I had to let you know that winning Optima’s design contest definitely played a significant role in my job search. Not only was it a great thing to use on my resume, but the entire experience really helped me become more confident as an exhibit designer. Thanks so much again!

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