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She's the Renaissance Woman of the Screen Printing Industry

Linda Davis, a Women in Screen Printing Award winner, is a chemist who developed a fluorescent ink and is now CEO of her company.

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She’s the Renaissance Woman of the Screen Printing Industry
Linda Davis
CEO | Dynamic Designs, Ambridge, Pennsylvania

Q: You’ve moved from production to head of production, to chemist and plant manager, to secretary/treasurer, to your current position as CEO. How has understanding all aspects of the business impacted you as a leader?

LD: It’s necessary to walk before you run. Going from production to chemist to CEO was a natural progression. I wear many different hats. Change is a guarantee in every career. Knowing your industry is the informed way to address change. You can ignore change, fight change, flow with change, or become the driving force of change. Hands-on knowledge gives me insight into the many changes our company has experienced and will continue to experience.

Q: You’re responsible for the formulation and in-house manufacture of GlowFlex PolyPoster Xtreme Inks, the only Fluorescent Polyethylene Billboard Ink in the world. “Without the proprietary ink formulations of Linda Davis, there would no longer be any Grand Format Screen Printed Fluorescent Billboard Posters on this entire planet,” according to your nomination form. Would you consider this your greatest career achievement? How has this shaped your career and your business?

LD: Under our trademark – Pittsburgh Poster Div. Design Dynamics – we market fluorescent billboard posters as GlowFlex PolyPosters. Including DayGlo Color Corporation, with the exception of GlowFlex, no one has ever formulated a fluorescent ink that will adhere to polyethylene. In 2004, grand-format screen printers flocked to digital printing. Digital was easier than screen print, and less messy. Our company began moving to digital. Then, we surveyed a broader view. Everyone was going to digital. It would be a battle to the lowest price. What did we do better than any other printer? The answer was GlowFlex (screen print fluorescent). Other screen printers hated fluorescent. They viewed it as an uncontrollable beast. We dissected the beast with an involved study of why. We worked at solving the problems and tamed the beast. Then we embraced Fluorescent. Our GlowFlex Xtreme Ink Formulations are brighter, last longer, and outperform anything there ever was before. Hopefully, my greatest achievements are in front of me, yet to be discovered. We’ve expanded our proprietary GlowFlex Technology beyond billboards, into the entertainment industry with additional products of backdrops, scenes, and sets.

She’s the Renaissance Woman of the Screen Printing Industry

Q: You’re a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with dual majors in Biological Science and Mathematics and come from a family of billboard owners and screen printers. How did you decide between the two industries?

LD: Actually, I never decided between the two industries. They are one in the same. My education in science and organic chemistry provided the tools necessary to develop our GlowFlex Formulations. GlowFlex Brightness is quantum science. The human eye only sees .0035 percent of available light. GlowFlex absorbs Light Energy (even invisible light) then re-radiates this Light Energy at 300 times the energy introduced. GlowFlex is sub-atomic re-radiation. This is the magic of GlowFlex Brightness. Digital inks only reflect light. They have no benefit from absorption and re-radiation of light energy. My “human speak” explanation of “PhD Speak” is a brief translation of the GlowFlex Process of Fluorescent Brightness.

While I was at the University of Pittsburgh, I went into business with my boyfriend (now my husband). We opened a couple of retail boutiques. In the basement, we screen printed T-shirts to sell in the stores. As if by magic, Design Dynamics T-shirts were featured in Pittsburgh’s three major department stores (Horne’s, Kaufmann’s, and Gimbels). We sold the boutiques to begin printing T-shirts full time. One October morning, we changed from T-shirts to grand format – screen print – billboard posters. Ours was a natural evolution. My parents owned billboard structures in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. Their clients were our first billboard poster clients.

Q: You’re responsible for the successful hiring and training of employees though the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) as well as ex-convicts through a program with the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, leading Design Dynamics to be honored with the Louis C. Herrle Award as Employer of The Year by the Beaver County Mental Health Association. Can you share why this is important and how these hires have affected your business?

LD: Rehabilitating through employment is necessary, but not easy. Initially, this was a readily accessible labor pool. Then we discovered a deeper purpose. We were dealing with sociological misconceptions. Everyone deserves a chance. Explaining the complications of hiring through the Pennsylvania OVR and the Board of Probation and Parole is an involved subject. There is no easy answer. It would take volumes. This is not for the faint of the heart. You must be a dedicated multitasker, employer, confessor, mentor, and guidance counselor. It is never easy. There are many obstacles to mainstreaming and rehabilitating. Each person is an individual. Most of their previous history wasn’t good. This is difficult to overcome. However, our print floor supervisor came to us through OVR. He has been growing, with our company, for 20 years. He is an exception rather than the rule. Past employees, who came to us via these programs, keep in touch. We gave them an opportunity when no one else would.

Being honored with the Louis C. Herrle Award as Employer of The Year by the Beaver County Mental Health Association was an acknowledgement of our company’s efforts to provide meaningful employment to individuals society had discarded. Many of them had never held a job. They did not know the basic fundamentals of work. We don’t consider ourselves do-gooders. But,we have done good by opening doors of employment at Design Dynamics.

Q: What does being a woman in the screen printing industry mean to you?

LD: Our company’s employment process is equal opportunity. We present each applicant (male and female) with a thought: “If you can’t work for a woman, don’t accept the job.” This is cut and dried. I am CEO and the majority stock holder of Design Dynamics. Being a woman has nothing to do with what I do or how I do it. In screen printing, this woman formulates and manufactures GlowFlex Xtreme Inks, the only Fluorescent Inks to ever adhere to polyethylene in the history of this planet. Sex has nothing to do with how I accomplished this or how I run my company as a woman. I personally sign paychecks for a reason.

PHOTO GALLERY (4 IMAGES)

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