“You are an average of the five people you spend the most time with” is a famous quote by motivational speaker Jim Rohn. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard or read that phrase before, but the bottom line means that it really matters who you surround yourself with…they make a difference. This could be professionally, culturally, spiritually, any number of ways really.
That was small “blurp” from Marshall Atkinson’s latest blog at http://atkinsontshirt.com titled “How Not To Be Average.” When I read that, I really started to think back to all of the people we have surrounded ourselves with in the last few years. Each and every one of them has made a difference in Sandlot Sports. We’ve been wise to realize that we don’t know everything. Don’t get me wrong, we know some stuff, but we’ve LEARNED A LOT from other people. Way more than we even knew was available. We’ve worked hard to surround ourselves with people who know more than we do. We’ve had the pleasure to meet and work with Greg Kitson from Mind’s Eye Graphics years ago for our production and work flow advice. We needed some advice on a specific press, we made the phone call and Face Timed with Steve Monroe of Monroe Screen Printing. I’ve even bothered Marshall from Visual Impressions enough that he’s agreed to let Ryan and I come and see his facility in Milwaukee…SUPER EXCITED. What do all of those people have in common? They all have valuable knowledge of the decoration industry and the willingness to share.

Sandlot Sports vistor

Staff of Sandlot Sports listening to Richard Greaves on the production floor

All of those professionals are wonderful to speak with and for the sake of building our profession “average,” they’re gold mines. But this past Friday a surprise visit changed the “curve” on which that average is created. Tech Support Salesmen, Alan Howe, brought the one and only Richard Greaves into our shop. They were going to stop by for a little bit just to see how the shop growing and adjusting. It was going to be an hour long visit. Instead, we didn’t let them leave until our shop closed nearly seven hours later. I mean how could we? How often does Michael Jordan come to your pick up basketball game? He is one of those living legends from the screen printing and decorating world. I’ve read articles written by him, I’ve seen videos, I’ve watched his T-Shirt Report with Scott Freserer, I’ve heard whispers about his brilliance and there he was walking through our shop. WOW.
It’s a highlight for our growing decoration company. He toured our screen prep area, and gave feedback. He toured our print area, and gave feedback. He toured though our exposure process, and gave feedback. He walked through our art department, and gave feedback. We all just listened. He asked questions, then we asked questions. He gave suggestions about exposures, light sources, direct to screen technology (Thanks Mark from Douthitt for your insight as well), production setups, print times. He jumped right in.

Greaves and the Artist

Artists Melissa and Torrey listening to Richard Greaves in the Art Department at Sandlot Sports

Some of his information was above and beyond where we are as a company, but he pointed us into a direction and said “Go”. What we are currently doing now is working and working well…but why settle? When one of the best in your industry takes the time to show you how to better your process, you listen, rethink, and retool. We will never to able to put a value on his visit and we won’t likely forget the day that Richard Greaves stopped into Sandlot Sports.
We’ve been fortunate to work with people in our industry that really create an amazing “average” for Sandlot Sports. When we look for guidance we look towards the people that can make a difference. Can those people make us better? We won’t spend most of our time with the Richard Greaves’ and Greg Kitsons of the world, but when we get those opportunities to talk or better yet, listen to what they have to say, we’ll be a better company for it. On Friday July 17th, 2015 Richard Greaves changed our “average.”