Plant/Press Manager | Decorative Container | Chicago | Age: 35
What led you to enter the screen printing industry?
Not to be cheesy, but fate. My grandfather started this screen printing business in his basement back in 1945. His oldest son learned all mechanical “tricks of the trade” from him, from making screens to setting up one-color presses to automated presses using up to eight stations.
I started at age 19, not thinking I’d stay long. It was supposed to be a summer job. Here I am years later. The allure of what has motivated me to stay and learn all I could learn over the years is the science behind this very unique trade. Putting complex machines together and creating tooling to fit a variety of projects was beyond intriguing, and succeeding in times I was sure I had failed was a feeling like no other. It just felt like this was a natural calling. Not to mention the satisfaction I’ve gained over the last five years surpassing my grandfather’s oldest son’s level of knowledge (now the president) – flipping the script altogether by becoming his teacher and the company’s expert adviser for all print and label jobs.
I determine job feasibility and am in charge of creatively finding ways to make jobs we probably shouldn’t have taken (due to the combination of print complexity caused by tight artwork registration, non-cylindrical containers requiring multi-color decoration, and/or high likelihood of substrate plus ink producing poor adhesion results.)
Words from his nominator, Tracy Mangino, project manager, Decorative Container:
Dan is able to manufacture components that tie into our screen printing equipment that allow us to decorate very complex jobs that most other screen printers in the area would turn down. He works hard to learn how to make our machines produce top-quality products and designs. Never satisfied with the status quo, he is one of the main reasons our top customers have been with us for many years and refer us to other companies in the industry who need designs printed onto rigid packaging. His thirst for knowledge and taking on greater responsibility over time has allowed Decorative to acquire new screen printing and labeling equipment no one had the technical acumen to run. Dan’s ability to learn quickly and willingness to stay late hours until he worked out all the kinks allowed Decorative to take on a multi-million dollar business we otherwise would not have acquired. Dan’s 15 years of knowledge studying under now the president of Decorative has produced a talented man well beyond what any certification program can produce. He truly is an inspiration to how someone with little to no college can, with the right mentor, excel and make a small family business a profitable and formidable competitor in today’s marketplace – where screen printers are a dying breed, especially here in Chicago.
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