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Rising Stars Awards

Meet the 2020 Rising Stars Awards Winner: Joshua Bunton

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Joshua Bunton

Joshua Bunton
President, SLI Custom Signs & Apparel, Toledo, OH

slicustomtoledo.com

1. How did you enter the screen printing industry?

I began working at what was then called The Sign Lady Inc. in 2004 while attending The University of Toledo. In 2006, SLI acquired Kent’s Screen Printing. I quickly learned the basics of color separating, screen making, and screen printing on our two manual presses by observing Kent of the aforementioned Kent’s Screen Printing. Over the next 15 years, I continued to advance and learn through both hands-on experience and research into the latest techniques, equipment, and supplies.

2. Your nomination form, from Jordan Scott, SLI, states, “Beginning in 2004, Joshua has served SLI in a variety of ways. First, as a sign and graphics tech. Applying vinyl and printing yard signs on a clamshell print press. Then, he moved into a general manager position where he managed all production in sign printing and apparel decoration. Since 2018, he has owned and operated the company.” How has being involved in different areas of the company helped you get to where you are today?

The 10 years I spent hands-on as production manager with the production teams proved most valuable, first as general manager and now as the president of SLI. I have been able to lean on the expertise gained through that experience to make equipment purchasing and process-related decisions.

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3. Jordan also states the following changes you’ve implemented in the business: “Optimization of production with the latest state-of-art equipment, being fully trained on each piece, allowing for hands-on onboarding to our staff, and the introduction of new software to increase our online sales and expand our target market.” Why is training and education, plus the addition of new technologies important, for your company and the industry?

Again, the experiences of being hands-on with the daily operations of the company made it much easier to spot bottlenecks and inefficiencies in our processes. It has also allowed me to jump in and work alongside our team to meet a deadline. Staying abreast of industry trends, implementation of the latest equipment and techniques, and valuable partnerships with our suppliers and clients has allowed us to establish ourselves as a leader in our local markets.

4. What do you consider your greatest professional accomplishment to date?

My greatest professional accomplishment is moving our company from a hyper local, small business to a medium-sized print shop with a regional presence through our two storefronts with a third set to open in January 2021.

Adrienne Palmer is the editor-in-chief of Screen Printing and Big Picture.

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Watch the 2020 Rising Stars Awards

Congratulations to the six winners of the third annual Rising Stars Awards. Watch the recording of the live virtual awards ceremony from January 28, 2020. The recipients – all of whom are age 35 or younger – were chosen based on their professional accomplishments, fresh thinking, contributions toward industry advancement, commitment to excellence, and a strong impact on their organizations.

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