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Rising Stars Awards

Meet the 4th Annual Rising Stars of Screen Printing: Tim Cantu

He’s pioneering the development of hybrid, special effect, and water-based printing.




Tim Cantu
Production Manager / Night Owls, Houston, Texas

Q: You started working in the finishing department at Night Owls three years ago. In that short time, you’ve been promoted repeatedly. What drives your motivation to continue progressing in your career?

TC: Honestly, I think it’s just a mixture of curiosity and a fear of complacency. I never want to feel like I’m done learning or progressing. When I first started at Night Owls, I had no idea what screen printing even was, but luckily they took a chance on me and so I kind of wanted to prove they didn’t make a mistake. I guess it’s also my hardheadedness that keeps me saying “Oh yeah, I can probably do that,” even when I know nothing about it. It’s worked out for me so far!

Q: Your nomination form states “Tim is a great motivator and leader, and makes the production team really feel like a cohesive unit. No task is underneath him, and he really strives to help assist anyone in the shop to make the products printed that much better.” How has being involved in different areas of the company helped you get where you are today?

TC: It’s helped me be able to problem solve in different areas for sure. Being able to see different aspects of the production process has helped me understand the way things work with each other and I’m able to pick it up at any stage and help troubleshoot if needed. I also think learning different areas of the shop can only be beneficial, whether it’s to fill in for someone while they’re at lunch, to be able to train new employees, or even to just give an extra hand during the day. Knowing these things will only improve the progress and growth of the company.


Q: It also states “Tim is pioneering the development of hybrid, special effect, and water-based printing.” Why is understanding new technology and production processes important to you?

TC: It’s easy to keep doing things the way they’ve always been done, but being able to incorporate new methods and technologies into our workflow really helps to expand our skills and allows us to put out a better product for our customers. I enjoy the challenge of learning a new piece of equipment or a new way of doing something. It can definitely result in some long days, but finally getting that “aha!” moment is something I find very rewarding. Recently being able to work with ROQ.US on their hybrid has been a fun challenge and incorporating digital printing into our production process has been something I look forward to each day I come into the shop.

Q: What are your tips for other printers who are in leadership positions?

TC: Something I have to actively tell myself is to try not to over fixate on something so much that you forget about everything else. It can all feel like a juggling act at times, but making sure your team knows that whenever they need your help, they can come to you, is super important. Try to stay as positive as you can. I’m a strong believer in getting back what you put out there so staying positive and optimistic helps everyone around you feel the same way.




Let’s Talk About It

Creating a More Diverse and Inclusive Screen Printing Industry

LET’S TALK About It: Part 3 discusses how four screen printers have employed people with disabilities, why you should consider doing the same, the resources that are available, and more. Watch the live webinar, held August 16, moderated by Adrienne Palmer, editor-in-chief, Screen Printing magazine, with panelists Ali Banholzer, Amber Massey, Ryan Moor, and Jed Seifert. The multi-part series is hosted exclusively by ROQ.US and U.N.I.T.E Together. Let’s Talk About It: Part 1 focused on Black, female screen printers and can be watched here; Part 2 focused on the LGBTQ+ community and can be watched here.

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