Recently, I traveled to Pompano Beach to meet with the newly installed FGA board member, Rich Thompson, to learn more his business, AdGraphics, and how he became an innovative industry leader in high-tech, large print technology.
As we walked into his office’s sample room to chat, I was immediately impressed with his diverse collection of large print pieces. To my right, left, overhead and underfoot, I was surrounded by amazing signs, displays, window clings, floor graphics. Everyone one of which was amazing. They were either lit up, textured or had some sort of engineering that allowed them to fulfill some unique client need. It was like I had stepped into Willie Wonka’s Factory. Only this Wonka made large format graphics, not candy.
Even more amazing was how Rich could recount the story behind each piece in the room. When I picked up a random car wrap sample material, without hesitation, Rich was able to tell me what challenges they had to overcome with the project and how ultimately they were able to exceed the clients expectations. He went on and on about the materials, adhesives, installs and the science behind each piece in the room. And as he spoke, it was very apparent that he is just as passionate about his business now, as he was over a quarter century ago when he was starting out.
Rich opened AdGraphics in 1992 when he helped to pioneer a new form of printing. 3M had just introduced their large format printing technology and AdGraphics worked alongside them to help evolve it into this exciting digital signage we see everywhere today. In fact, AdGraphics was the first company to perforate vinyl and incorporate it in large format printing for vehicle wraps and storefront windows.
Since then, clients and competitors alike have respected Rich and AdGraphics as the leader and groundbreaker innovator, and for setting the high quality standards for this fast growing industry. Most recently he was the named the first ever FESPA Hall of Fame inductee as the world’s top printer as selected by his peers. While the accolades are nice, what really motivates.
Rich is making his clients happy. During our interview, there was genuine excitement in his voice when he described how he and his team found solutions for his clients’ difficult projects. We here at the FGA are very excited to have Rich on our board. If he enhances the FGA half as much as the large format industry, we are in for great things here at the association.
— Article by Aaron Elliot