GCI Digital imaging: GCI Digital Imaging Hit a Home Run for Major League Baseball's 2015 All Star Game
One of the perks of grand-format digital printing is the visibility provided by the work. Lay an egg, however, and it’s also there for the world to see...at least until it’s hastily removed.
GCI Digital Imaging of Cincinnati was in the unique position to flex its grand-format muscles this past summer when it was charged with creating some of the signage for the Major League Baseball (MLB) 2015 All Star Game, which was also held in the Queen City. GCI had performed work for the hometown Reds previously and was one of the vendors selected for the Midsummer Classic project.
And what a gig it was, as GCI Digital furnished (among other things) pitcher’s mound covers, dugout and stadium banners, and the covers for a 75-foot zip line tower. Also included in the job were banners for a fantasy camp and hitting challenge, along with signage for a Pepsi-sponsored block party held before and after the game.
In all, the company churned out more than 20,000 square feet of mesh and 95,000-plus square feet of 13-ounce banners, and quarterbacked the plan, production, installation and removal of signage materials. Further mixing sports analogies, this certainly wasn’t GCI’s first rodeo, notes company founder Tom Bedacht.
“We won these bids due to our previous track record and reputation for delivering ambitious grand-format packages in a pinch,” he says. “Oh, yes, and of course our focus on efficiency allows us to remain competitively priced. We believe that customers know they can relax when they call us because we tend to grab the bull by the horns, never whine about obstacles and always come through. Our clients have little patience for excuses. We sell service.”
Performance and fast turns are everything in the world of grand-format printing and, in the case of MLB, you won’t find a bigger stage for a showcase. The 2015 midseason event averaged just under 11 million viewers, thus any flaws or mistakes would have been magnified one hundredfold.
A customer the ilk of MLB is very exacting, according to Bedacht. The printer responded in the clutch, taking a 9 a.m. special request project from MLB the day of the All Star game, then furnishing the finished piece within an hour.
“We had to operate on a very tightly organized time frame,” he notes. “Without the proper time management framework many elements would be at the mercy of luck. There was little margin for error, so we had to get things right the first time and with small windows within which to produce. We always plan for worst case scenarios.”
As the results suggest, MLB was extremely pleased with its grand-format printing vendor and Bedacht wouldn’t be surprised if GCI Digital was added to pro baseball’s business Rolodex. The excitement of doing big sporting events, especially baseball, helped fuel the passion and energy that GCI Digital poured into the job.
“I am certain, based on the response and reception we received from MLB and fans, that we’ll be a part of their plans in the future,” he notes. “They were great to work with, as were the Cincinnati Reds.”
Printing has long coursed through the veins of the Bedacht family. Tom’s grandfather, Casper Bedacht, founded Spee-D Letter Service in 1928. That business was bequeathed to Jerry Bedacht, who renamed the firm Ohio Valley LithoColor. Jerry sold that operation, but Tom Bedacht hung out his wide-format shingle starting in 1992 and has thrived for 23 years by taking an aggressive approach toward investing in the latest technology.
The family is embarking on its ninth decade of serving the printing needs of its customers. Tom’s son, T.J., is president of GCI Digital, which currently offers custom and mesh banners, billboards and trade show signage in all grand-format sizes. Posters, decals, window film and floor graphics are also part of the firm’s product mix. GCI can wrap vehicles and vehicle fleets of all sizes and varieties.
The company has carved out a sub-niche in the form of sports printing, providing graphical support for high schools and other sporting organizations, where mesh banners have become increasingly popular. The Reds frequently rely on GCI Digital to provide stadium banners and signage for team-sponsored events around the city and the Greater Cincinnati Area.
“We are capable of managing and producing projects of virtually any size and under the most rigorous timeframes,” Bedacht says. “We’ve been on a steady growth pattern by continuously improving the efficiency of our production pipeline.”
In a print space that has become wildly popular—Bedacht feels it is his employees who help separate GCI Digital from the pack. He likes referring to them as the “special forces” of grand-format printing.
“Great tools are worthless without the right people to implement them,” he says. “That’s our real strength. We thrive on delivering great products under often unpredictable circumstances. We sell service so we invest in keeping our team in the loop throughout every job cycle. Our goal is to continue to invest in the right tools and the right people to remain the best.”
Moving forward, Bedacht believes some of the keys for GCI Digital’s continued success entail maximizing capacity while simultaneously streamlining operations to pave the way for high quality and fast turnarounds. Anticipating and addressing minor problems before they become major issues—like a bases loaded, no-out situation—will enable this team to prolong its winning streak.
And should MLB come knocking on GCI’s door again, the printer will be more than happy to be that needed relief pitcher, touting a rising fastball and larger-than-life graphics that can take one’s breath away. After all, baseball is a sport that rewards the specialist.
“We love big events and knowing that we have been an integral part of seeing those events come together,” Bedacht concludes. “The All Star Game was not only a trophy event for our company, it was a trophy event that elevated the profile of our city! Organizing events brings people together in creative ways and that is a great source of our inspiration.” PI