Future Members of Our Industry and Why it Matters Now


Please find some links and notes from the 2 Regular Guys Podcast. The future of our industry is going to have to rely on new people joining and continuing to drive it forward. One of the people who has been integral in making that happen is Johnny Shell, the Vice President of Print Technology and Training at SGIA. He has played a key role in promoting several programs that helps bring future members of our industry, including the SkillsUSA competitions for both screen printing and sublimation. We are going to talk to Johnny about why it is so important to put time, effort and money into these programs for all of us and what you can do to be involved.

Sponsored by: SGIA.org

Garment Decorators CommunityOur regular listeners know this, but 2 Regular Guys are all about garment decorating, a bit of fun, and no rants or lectures or selling. We are not doing this for our employers, but rather for our industry. Since February 2013, The 2 Regular Guys have been the first and the most listened to garment decorating industry podcast on this planet! We are humbled by all of you tuning in each week. We work hard to bring you information that will make your business better, and our industry better. Take a look at our incredible weekly guest list and you’ll understand where this industry goes for news, interviews and the heartbeat of garment decorating. Thanks for listening!

News and Shout Outs

Credence Research has just released a new report on the Custom T-Shirt Printing Market Forecast 2017 – 2025. The global market for custom t-shirt printing industry is expected to cross US $10 Billion by 2025. They go on to note the custom t-shirt printing industry has staged a remarkable comeback post dismal market conditions prevalent during the economic crisis.

Shout Outs: Nathan Foeller with Minuteman Press in Stroudsburg, Penn. Our longtime show listener Izabela Pintarich also from Pennsylvania stopped in to say hello as well!

We want to encourage people to continue to reach out to us. I had the opportunity to talk to Chuck Hamaty of Maine Street Graphics in Bridgton, Maine this week about sublimation.

Future Members of Our Industry

Aaron: Today we are talking about the future of our industry and why it is so important. Start us off with a brief summary of what you have been involved with on this front over the last several years and beyond.

Johnny: I’ve led SGIA initiatives focused on cultivating the future workforce of our industry. One of the top issues we hear from business owners is “I can’t find skilled employees.” Some of these activities have included SGIA Scholarship, SkillsUSA, USASEF, SGIA Student Membership, Fresh Artists, Curricula Development for SGIA Educator Members, GCEA Conference, ASDPT Tom Frecska Student Printing Competition.

Terry: Tell us a little bit about Skills USA and what it’s all about. Not just at a national level but at the State and even school level.

Johnny: SkillsUSA empowers its members to become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens. SkillsUSA improves the quality of our nation’s future skilled workforce through the development of Framework skills that include personal skills like integrity, work ethic, and professionalism; workplace skills like communication, teamwork, and decision making; and technical skills like computer literacy, job specific skills, and professional development.  SkillsUSA serves more than 335,000 students and instructors annually. SkillsUSA has served more than 12.5 million annual members cumulatively since 1965.

Jim Jay Busselle19:44 Maybe SGIA needs to reach out to Mike Rowe – if they haven’t already!

Erich Campbell20:14 I love hearing a printer sitting like I do when I talk stitches. 

Jim Jay Busselle20:22 Welcome to the Island of Misfit Toys!!

Erich Campbell20:41 That’s Albuquerque for those who don’t know. 

Aaron: So why are programs like Skills USA and others you are involved in so important to our industry?

Johnny: As I mentioned earlier, one of the top issues we hear from SGIA Members is “I can’t find skilled employees” so SGIA is making strong efforts to help our Members (and the industry) by reaching out to young adults and engaging them with SGIA on a variety of levels (SkillsUSA, SGIA Scholarship, SGIA Student Membership, ASDPT Tom Frecska Student Printing Competition). We want to let them know we have a fun and exciting industry and welcome them to become a part of it.

Erich Campbell22:09 Mentorship is critical, and we can’t do enough to support the next generation, materially and personally.

Erich Campbell25:06 We should be actively working to set up the schools with decoration studios. I still remember the old-school paper printing I did in high school; it meant a lot.

Terry: So our current listeners might be thinking, that this all sounds well and good, but what can I do? For example, if I’m an industry supplier, what types of things can I be doing to support you and why?

Johnny: Much of the work we do at SGIA on this front would not be possible without the generosity of our Supplier community. Specific to SkillsUSA, our Suppliers provide all the materials and equipment necessary to execute the National screen printing and sublimation competitions: Screen printing equipment from BBC/Black Body, HIX, M&R, Ryonet, Vastex. Screen frames from Stretch Devices. Blank garments for printing by FOTL. Materials like ink, emulsion, mesh, and squeegees from Easiway, Murakami, Shur-Loc, Fimor USA, Wilflex, and Saati. Sublimation printers from Sawgrass and EPSON, sublimation blanks from Conde and Unisub. Software from Freehand Graphics, training DVDs from Graphic Elephants, and much more). Not only do these companies provide the needed equipment and materials for these competitions, but they also provide prizes to the student winner’s and their schools. By donating these prizes, the student winner’s are more likely to stay involved with our industry, and because the schools also receive prizes they are more able to deliver a solid education to their students using modern equipment and materials. Last year, we received over $75,000 in prizes from the Suppliers…and this year we want to surpass that figure. So there’s your answer Terry…Suppliers can donate prizes: squeegees, loupes, ink, screens, emulsion, chemicals, blanks, goodie bag items (corporate branded items like pens, t-shirts, stress balls). And all National competitors receive $250 from SGIA to help offset their travel expenses.

Jim Jay Busselle26:47 Is SIGA supporting or connecting with any vocational / technical schools?

Aaron: What about the decorators out there? What should they be doing and how does their involvement help them?

Johnny: My advice is to research schools in your area to find out if they have a graphic communications program. If they do, engage with them, invite them to your shop for a tour/field trip, make a presentation to the class about your business, share your enthusiasm about the industry to let them know it’s fun and rewarding. You can also connect with your State SkillsUSA chapter to find out about State and Regional level screen printing and sublimation competitions and see if you can offer support by helping judge or loan the use of some equipment or materials. Many regional and state competitions are grossly under supported and need help. Often, volunteers who coordinate at this level are unfamiliar with how to properly setup these competitions.

Marshall Atkinson28:40 How can we help if we can’t travel? Can I donate a few copies of my eBooks?

David Shaw29:47 Good Day, Ace Screen Supply, is Hosting a Skills USA program this spring, With Equipment supplied by Vastex International

Erich Campbell30:51 I wonder what we thread-slingers could be doing in the same vein? Embroiderers assemble!

Jeanette Bohlke34:07 I bring my 14 year old to trade shows every year and she just loves seeing all the different decorating aspects of our industry!

Erich Campbell34:52 Black Duck did tours and demos for students several times a year for schools and I have spent many an hour with the middle and high school visitors teaching- it’s inspiring for all parties. 

Terry: What other news is happening in your world?

Johnny: Along this same line of discussion, we are gearing up for the 5th USA Science & Engineering Festival (April 6-8, Washington DC) which is the nation’s largest Science and Technology festival designed to stimulate and sustain the interest of our nation’s youth in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) by producing and presenting the most compelling, exciting, and educational Festival in the world. SGIA will be showcasing sublimation and direct to garment inkjet printing live at the festival and the youth in attendance will have the opportunity to make their own printed shirt. We’ll also be running video showing the many other facets of our broad industry to enlighten and encourage the young students about printing.

Erich Campbell38:26 There are tons of folks with a degree that’s unrelated in this industry; I wouldn’t know- English and Medieval Studies is always germane. 

Aaron:  To close up our conversation today, we just want to make sure that all the industry suppliers out there, you are on notice. The motorcycle mechanics competition gave away a Harley as a prize and over $10,000 if I recall reading the sign correctly. WE MUST STEP UP AS AN INDUSTRY!

Erich Campbell42:04 Heheheh, let’s call out more manufacturers. 

Johnny Shell has served as Vice President of SGIA for the past twenty years. He works to educate the industry on the capabilities and viability of specialty printing. Johnny also teaches numerous workshops annually, and his technical writings appear regularly in top industry publications. In addition, he is a frequent speaker at industry events and trade show expositions both domestically and internationally.

Contact Johnny to Donate – $100,000 Goal

Erich Campbell47:55 Great episode, guys. Love hearing this inspirational topic. 

Other Events

Trade Shows


This show is brought to you for a full hour by:

Specialty Graphics Imaging Association – SGIA will continually strive to be the foremost resource for information and education within the specialty imaging industry. SGIA supports the digital and screen printing community in the USA and Canada by providing services and activities specific to their interests. While the majority of SGIA services and activities are specific to US and Canada, SGIA will continue to partner with national and regional associations around the globe to continually develop the international community. The SGIA National Affiliation Program brings together a multinational community to enhance awareness and encourage the exchange of information. Supporting the Leaders of the Digital and Screen Printing Community

Equipment Zone, with 20 years experience selling garment printing equipment nationwide. Equipment Zone offers the new Epson F2000 SureColor direct-to-garment printer, their own VelociJet-XL DTG printer, and the all-new SpeedTreater-TX automatic pretreat machine with a full 16”x24” pretreat area. Equipment Zone also carries a full line of DTG inks and supplies. Go to EquipmentZone.com

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