6-12 Blog: Now What?

I have not added material to this blog in several days. The principal reason has been our attempts to deal with the effects of the coronavirus. My teams at the Dunwoody – Sandy Springs and Tri-Cities – Atlanta Airport AlphaGraphics Centers have been hunkering down while still fulfilling Clients’ orders. Our sales may have slowed, but we are still open for business. We have several Clients, including local restaurants and other small businesses, that require signage to reflect their new reality. I am in awe and feel full of gratitude for their decision to continue to show up. However, there is a sense of “Now What?” as our region prepares for the bigger hit from the pandemic.

Last week, we came up with an idea to help with the potential issues local hospitals may face with availability of protective gear for nurses and doctors. We have all heard the challenges other parts of the country have faced with this issue. While production may be ramping up, we thought about what we could do with the materials and sewing capabilities we have.

The easy answer was that we could certainly make protective smocks or aprons, and dividers for makeshift hospitals, from our banner material. We normally produce a ton of banners, blank and printed, for other signs shops as well as distributors. But could we make masks?

This afternoon, Maria, our Production Coordinator in Tri-Cities, worked up a protocol mask made from fabric left over from an old job and string. They looked so good and practical that I alerted members of my network, and in turn they alerted several Atlanta hospital. We have more fabric, but the masks will work better with elastic, so this evening Maria pushed to get going on getting that material. Of course, I said yes.

Obviously, our hope is that our hospitals will be able to equip their nurses and doctors with gear from traditional manufacturers. Yet, we at AlphaGraphics Tri-Cities – Atlanta Airport and Dunwoody – Sandy Springs are ready to do our part to ensure those in the front line in the fight against COVID-19 are protected from the dangerous virus. I suppose that is our answer to “Now What?”

6-12 Blog: Women’s History Month

When I led Diversity and Inclusion work for my former employer, we made a collective, pretty big deal of Women’s History Month. Much planning went into an event featuring women leaders within the corporation. Messaging to employees spread the word about the company’s support for women. It was a commendable effort, and I was thrilled to drive it, albeit for a short time. I wondered, though, whether these symbolic gestures translated into the business depending on the stewardship of women at the highest levels of management. I’ll let you be the judge.

I now own two AlphaGraphics Centers, Dunwoody – Sandy Springs and Tri-Cities – Atlanta Airport. These are small businesses trying our collective hardest to bring quality marketing and visual communications services to our Clients. Our success depend in very significant measure to the work and dedication of four outstanding women.

Ella is our Production Coordinator in Sandy Springs. In June 2019, she decided to put her faith in my effort to open a brand new AlphaGraphics Center in Sandy Springs. She grew into AlphaGraphics with me, and has patiently guided others through that journey since. Maria joined ATW-Advertising That Works two years ago. She embraced the transition toward AlphaGraphics when I acquired ATW in August 2019, and recently agreed to take the reins of Production in East Point. These two women lead all production for the Centers and are directly responsible for the products what our Clients get every day.

Simonique is technically my longest-tenured employee, having joined ATW over 20 years ago. She is the heart and soul of our Blank Banners product line, fulfilling Clients’ orders seamlessly, including some large distributors. Finally, Sieglinde is the wife of the former owner. She kept his books, and has been just as dedicated to the financial health of my Center in East Point.

Yes, let’s celebrate Women’s History Month. I just do it every day because I am thankful these women’s tenacity, know-how, leadership and care make our Centers better every day.