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Introducing A&E’s New Panel of Experts

These voices are a resource to answer all of your laser engraving, sublimation, sandcarving, UV printing, graphic design, and business questions. 

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Every two years, A&E renews its panel of experts, welcoming new voices and fresh perspectives on all things laser engraving, sublimation, sandcarving, UV printing, graphic design, and business. The panel is a diverse group of personalization experts who have agreed to open up the lines of communication to producers and industry professionals so that you can get the education you need to run a successful business.

In this term, we have a fully revamped team, but most may already be familiar faces – some are longtime columnists for A&E, some are regular contributors to the e-newsletter, etc. Whether you’re already in-the-know or you’re brand new, now’s your chance to catch up with the resources who you can lean on when questions arise.

Bob Hagel and his wife Dana own Eagle’s Mark Awards & Signs, offering a full line of personalized products using laser engraving, sand etching, and full-color UV direct print on products. They have offered awards, recognition, and signage products to organizations for more than a decade in the Southern California wine country. 

Hagel says, “I have always benefited from experienced colleagues who were willing to share what they had learned over the years. Sometimes the learning was long and complex and often, it was a small suggestion that made a big difference. I want to pass on what I have learned, hoping it makes a difference and helps the typical small business of our industry be successful.”

He continues, “I look forward not only to sharing my experiences, but by participating in the conversation, continuing to gain from the knowledge and experience of my colleagues.”

Hagel can be reached at bob@eaglesmark.com

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Cheryl Kuchek is the owner of Just my Imagination DeZigns Inc. and has been active in the personalization industry for over 10 years. Cheryl has a passion for the industry and a love for helping people; she was the first to start a Facebook group to do just that. Sublimation for Beginners and Beyond is a resource to help those first starting out and those who are advanced. 

She writes, “I am excited to be a part of the panel for the same reason I was excited to start the Beginners for Sublimation and Beyond Facebook group: I love to help people and see them succeed in an industry that I passionately love. I believe I can give insight from a different perspective especially after working with thousands of new people coming into the industry. I was honored to be asked to be a panelist, and I look forward to assisting in any way that I can.”

Kuchek can be reached at cheryl@justmyimaginationdezigns.com.

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Steve Capper along with his wife, Nora, and their daughters, Jami and Toni, owns and operates A-1 Awards, Inc. in Indianapolis. He has been associated with the awards and recognition industry since 1958 and has given numerous seminars since 1979.

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Colin VanLint is a sublimation specialist that started with JDS Industries in 2015. Colin graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with an emphasis on multimedia design from Northern State University in 2014 where he learned graphic design skills. While attending college, he worked as a computer and printer technician, acquiring years of troubleshooting and repair skills. 

According to VanLint, his guiding philosophy for this role is as follows: “No one person has all the answers. Everyone has different experiences and backgrounds and we can only get better by sharing our experiences with each other to keep growing and achieving.”

He can be reached at colinv@jdsindustries.com.

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Ruth Dobbins has been in the glass business for over 40 years and offers experience in all glass-etching techniques as well as in fused and cast glass. Ruth holds a master’s degree in art and was a partner in an art glass wholesale supply and studio company in Europe before joining forces with her late husband, Norm. 

Dobbins says, “Education has always been my priority. Without educating people, proper techniques are lost or compromised … I look forward to continuing to share solid, basic information; introducing new ideas and methods; and taking people through (sandcarving) processes, as I have done for almost 30 years as a columnist. 

“It is always a pleasure to help people on their way to become better at their job. Above all, I will continue to provide impartial recommendations of materials and supplies based on almost 40 years of experience in the industry.”

You can reach Dobbins by email at ruth@etchmaster.com, or by phone at 505-473-9203.

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Michael Perrelli, Marketing Manager, joined the Direct Color Systems team toward the end of 2013. In addition to managing the development and implementation of lead generation programs, Michael is responsible for managing all of DCS’s marketing activities, communications, and strategies. Michael earned his Bachelor of Science degree in marketing from the University of Rhode Island. 

Perrelli, who says he is bringing transparency and openness to this role, adds, “There is a lot of information out there and it can be overwhelming at times. Together, I hope to help identify the benefits and processes needed to help customers become more profitable … The saying goes, ‘Educated customers make for the best customers.’ Well, it is important to educate yourselffirst. When informed decisions are made, and expectations are set, training becomes more focused, and you can better serve your customers.”

He can be reached at michael.perrelli@directcolorsystems.com.

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To learn more about the panel or find out how you can participate, please contact editor Cassie Green at cgreen@nbm.com. 

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