Bits and Pieces: Viewers Get to Marvel at Firm

Mele Printing open house attendees showcase their culinary masterpieces.

In an age when we are endlessly fascinated by all things electronic, it is refreshing to see appreciation for the timeless art of heavy iron manufacturing. A two-minute piece highlighting the capabilities of package printer Huston Patterson did just that when it appeared on the “Manufacturing Marvels” segment on FOX Business Network. The segment aired March 21 during “The Willis Report.”

The piece, shot at Huston Patterson’s 110,000-square-foot plant in Decatur, IL, is part of FOX’s ongoing series that spotlights American manufacturers, their products, processes and customers. Those processes included a trio of KBA-manufactured presses: a six-color, 56˝ KBA Rapida 142 with aqueous coating; a seven-color Rapida 162a with UV and aqueous coating; and a six-color Rapida 162a with aqueous coater.

“It is truly an honor to be able to participate in this distinguished production,” said Tonya Kowa-Morelli, sales and marketing vice president. “This is a true testament to the exceptional reputation Huston Patterson has earned over the years as a North American leader in the package print industry.”

Among the topics discussed in the two-minute segment: examples of Huston Patterson’s customer service (including an owner’s suite for overnight client visits), along with information regarding its academic training for customers, vendors and employees. Its Robert G. Kowa Theater is designed for employee education, corporate and client presentations, and events for media and the community.

Dedicated to the father of Huston Patterson President and CEO Thomas Kowa, the theater is equipped with a full-size projection screen, surround-sound stereo system and seating for up to 24 people. Certainly beats a tattered pamphlet sitting next to a box of stale doughnuts and a pot of cold coffee.

The printer also operates HPx Air, a private aviation company that serves as the primary concierge carrier east of the Rocky Mountains. HPx Air’s Cessna T206 aircraft features the latest avionics packages for all navigation and weather conditions.

To view the segment, visit

Show Us Your Cakes: For the past 10 years, Mele Printing of New Orleans has added a tasty twist to the traditional open house. Instead of using Mardi Gras themes and debauchery to garner attention—note: those time-tested schemes also work successfully—Mele Printing takes the high road to a high-calorie treat, with a hands-on twist.

The event, “Mele Printing’s Krewe of Kookies and Kakes,” combines a tour of the facility and the firm’s capabilities with a crash course in baking. The 10th anniversary celebration saw more than 150 participants, and a whopping 80 percent of those attendees were visiting Mele Printing for the first time.

So imagine the attendee’s delight when the tour kicks off with a group photo, followed by a trip to the printer’s bakery, where the guests make the dough from scratch. Part of a Mardi Gras custom, a plastic baby is included in the “king cakes,” as they are called.

With the cakes in the oven, attendees move on to the print shop, where they get to experience the full complement of Mele’s products and capabilities. After lunch, the visitors returned to the kitchen to finish decorating their cakes with glazed topping and colored sugar. The experience went off without a hitch, with both cakes and printing jobs finishing between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

During the print portion, Mele was able to showcase the capabilities of its digital workflow, including the Kodak NexPress SE3600 digital production color press, the Digimaster EX150 digital production system and thermal platesetting using Sword plates. The group photos were used during the product demonstrations. Attendees were given the photos, posters and certificates printed live during the tour.

It’s a sweet experience that seems to be doing wonders for Mele Printing. Not to mention the plastic baby market. PI

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