Friend Before Salesman: Steve the Adventurer

Black and white image of steve holding a yellow hat
Click on the photo to go to Steve’s company profile

The past few weeks have been filled with Steve’s background and life full of amazing adventures (somehow all print related). To see the previous blog post, click here.

Adventurer
As did so many young people out of the military in his time, Steve got the hankering for some adventure. He went to Europe with a friend from college to explore what was on the other side of the globe. They immersed themselves in cultures and enjoyed the sights and sounds of the countrysides. When traveling with other people, one gets to know them in a different light than at home. Unfortunately, things got a little sour when he realized his friend was not enough so upstanding as he had thought. While in Spain, she asked him to help her steal some produce from some of the beautiful gardens in the area. “Here she was, with lots of money in her purse, thinking it would be fun to take food away from these people who were worse off than her,” Steve remembers that it was at that moment that he realized he had to part ways with his friend.

While in Germany, he had met some people who had said that should he ever need work during his travels, he should come to Munich and earn some cash. The 1972 Olympics would soon be drawing to the area, and there was a lot of work to be had. He decided to take them up on their offer and made the trip. He arrived there on Christmas day, 1971 and got a job at a silk screen printer. The shop had just gotten a new machine with an automatic feed. Most machines were manual back then, and Steve had some experience with feeders, so they offered to teach him silk screening if he would figure out that machine and teach them to use it. His days filled with learning to navigate language barriers, learning a new culture and new skills. He left the shop almost one year later, November 1972.

Steve’s adventures were not quite over yet. In the 70’s people were making a living by fixing up old Buicks and selling trips to tourists, with promises of exotic foreign adventures touring the middle east. Well, what would young Steve do in those days? Why he would try it! $50 took him through Istanbul, Tehran, Afghanistan, very quickly through Pakistan, and to New Delhi. Though he thoroughly enjoyed the trip, and he considered going to Australia next, Steve decided it was time to come home. So he went from Bombay to London, to the US and stayed in Idaho on the family farm for awhile. Steve enjoyed those farming days for the companionship and the change in scene. Steve is still involved in agriculture to this day, as a member and printer for the Biodynamic Association of Northern California.

Join us again for the next installment of “Friend Before Salesman” in which Steve sets up his print shop in Grass Valley.

Friend Before Salesman: Ambitious Learner and Army Printer

Black and white image of steve holding a yellow hat
Click here to go to Steve’s company profile

The past few weeks have been filled with Steve’s background and a life full of amazing adventures (somehow all print related). To see the previous blog post, click here.

It all started back at home during his childhood. Steve’s family lived near a local print shop, and as a child, he took a great liking to picking up their old lead Linotype slugs (from the movable type days) and taking them home to see how they worked. He would even try and make some prints himself. His brother got a job at the print shop when Steve was in his early teens and he wanted to do the same. He was only 15, but he wanted the job so badly that he convinced his parents and the shop owner to let him do at least some odd jobs around the shop. When it was officially legal for him to work, he started to manage the printing presses and run various other machines. By the time he stopped working at the shop, he knew art and photography, had run commercial presses, written stories for papers, and set type.

Ambitious Learner
Eager to someday have his own print shop, Steve saw a story about a printing school in San Luis Obispo and thought it was a great opportunity to learn how to set up shop. He saved money for a year before making the move, and went to school there for 5 years. During this time he noticed that with a little extra effort in transferring classes from one degree to another, he could graduate with two different degrees. It only took that extra, 5th year. He worked hard. Full-time college is considered 16 units and he was able to pile on 18-22 units in most semesters. With ambition and a light at the end of the tunnel, he doubled down and worked ahead in his studies.

Army Printer
After college, Steve got drafted into the army. He had worked so hard to get where he was, but such was life of the day. During his time working with movable type he had learned to read upside down and backward. When he met with the army officer to talk about any specialized skills he had, he could read that the officer was writing down things like “this is a great resource, utilize this guy” and he felt a little better about his situation knowing that he might be able to do work that was more meaningful to him. During basic training, he got really sick and had to spend some time in the hospital. This set his training back and he was up to be transferred to a different company among some kind of paperwork mishap, and almost was, had a San Fransisco-based company not been searching for a pressman to work at their print shop in Letterman General Hospital. Steve worked at that army printer in San Fransisco until the end of his term, and then worked for yet another printing company in the area.

The next few weeks will be filled with Steve’s background and his life full of amazing adventures (somehow all print related). Join us again for the next installment of “Friend Before Salesman” in which Steve began to travel the world and even got a printing job in Germany! >>>Go to the next post in this series<<<

Friend Before Salesman: Intro

Black and white image of steve holding a yellow hat
Click here to go to Steve’s profile

Steve is one of our most valuable staff members. He’s not just our sales guy, did you know he used to own his own print shop in Grass Valley? That he has loved and been involved in print since childhood? That he once worked at print shop in Germany? We are very glad that we picked him up almost a decade ago. When people work with Steve they appreciate his wealth of expertise, precision, and honesty. He even holds meetings at client locations, and delivers hard copy proofs and final prints. Under Steve’s watchful eye, countless intricate, high value jobs have moved through our shop.

Many people picture a salesman as something that we see from across a parking lot and purposefully walk away to avoid eye contact and any pushy conversations. Sound familiar? Yet somehow, if Steve’s clients were to see him across a parking lot, they might just come up and say hello! He has great professional relationships with clients and has even gained some friends out of them over the years.

For the clients who are focused on shopping local, Steve is a great resource. He has lived and worked in Grass Valley and Nevada City area for 28 years, doing business there and in Placer County. In fact, on any given day, he will see one or two of his clients in town just going about their business. For all his personable charms though, Steve says “you still don’t want to impose on your customer’s social life unless they invite you to do so.”

People trust him to:

A) not be annoying, B) have a vast knowledge base and valuable opinions or suggestions and C) be a strong advocate for them. In some respect, they even view him as a member of their own team. How can this be? Aren’t sales people  usually just in the business of getting business? Steve obviously has been taking a different approach. So one of our bloggers set up a time to have a talk and get to know what makes him so great.

The next few weeks will be filled with Steve’s background and life full of amazing adventures (somehow all print related), join us again in a week for the next installment of “Friend Before Salesman.” <<Click here to go to the next post!>>

Women Who Mean Business

Women have made such great strides in the business world. The Auburn Journal is putting out their Women in Business edition soon and we would like to join the celebration! Our business is women-owned, and a thriving marketing and print provider. We asked our women to give a few words in reflection about their careers and what success means to them.

merrill, the owner
Merrill, our fearless leader and owner of APi-marketing.
  1. What makes a good leader? Honesty. When you’re responsible for a team of people, it’s important to raise the bar even higher. Your business and its employees are a reflection of yourself. If you make honest, ethical behavior a key value, your team will follow.

  2. How you/your business became successful. We are always honest and realistic with our customers. We never promise something we can not deliver
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  3. What does success mean to you? Maintaining long standing business and employee relationships
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  4. What are your life goals? More time to volunteer for organizations I’m passionate about. How are you achieving or working towards achieving them? Training and trusting someone to take over some of my work
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  5. Awards, certifications, degrees? Personal: presented the Laurel Society Award from Soroptimist International of Auburn. Laurel Society is SIA’s prestigious recognition program. Business: numerous print quality awards for local and International printing associations, and winning local Best of the Best for 11 consecutive years.

  Continue reading Women Who Mean Business

An Adventure in Marketing

Marketing opportunities are all around us. Some of us see them when we close our eyes and some of us see them when we go on vacation. We let our Graphic Designer leave for a week this Spring, and while we managed to survive, she was making some marketing observations.

“To Overland Expo!” That was I told them. Driving to Arizona and back in a 50-year-old vehicle with a tent perched on a trailer. What sorts of things did I see on the way? Well, of course everywhere there were billboards and storefront signs trying to outdo one-another with something clever or no-nonsense, but I noticed a three key things underneath the surface of my destinations:

Continue reading An Adventure in Marketing

He Named Me Malala

Thursday Feb 4th APi-marketing is sponsoring the screening of this inspiring film about a 15-year-old girl from Pakistan who was wounded by the Taliban and is now leading a campaign for girl’s education globally.

Yep, folks this is heavy stuff and this young woman decided to risk her life to speak out for what she believes in and is now a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate!

As a longtime Soroptimist, and a sometime feminist, I am glad that the State Theater has brought this film back a second time for local viewing and am honored that we are able to sponsor the evening. Won’t you join us? Run time is 90 minutes, admission is $8.00 and it starts at 7 pm.

Goodwill Ambassador of the Year

Jackie-Goodwill EmbassadorJackie Weston, Emerging Services Manager of Auburn Printers and Integrated Marketing received the Goodwill Ambassador of the Year award presented by the Auburn Chamber of Commerce. “I never thought that I would be presented with such a distinguished award for doing what I enjoy. I am passionate about representing the Chamber and being so tremendously involved in our community”, says Jackie.