Innovation & Creativity: The Heart of Pacific Technology Solutions’ Ingenuity

Pacific Technology SolutionsAMCP is constantly getting calls and emails from people volunteering to be judges. Everybody wants to see what the great innovators and creators are doing. In recent years, it has especially been exciting to see the progression of digital development and interactivity. For years, we have enjoyed the groundbreaking work of Pacific Technology Solutions (PTS). Based in Irvine, California, PTS is a pioneer in developing learning technology for the automotive industry.

It wasn’t that long ago that automotive training was revolutionized through the use of video. A mechanic at a local dealership could just pop the tape in the VCR and learn how to fix something. Today, Pacific Technology Solutions is developing web-based applications for eBusiness and eLearning software that can be experienced anywhere on a personal digital assistant.  And by the way, their training courseware and business systems are designed to incorporate in to and extend previous investments in IT and operational infrastructure. While the judges may not know what any of this is, they do know that the current training methods are far more graphic and easier to understand than the old ones.

In addition to being honored as one of the most prolific winners in MarCom Awards history, PTS’ software applications and training courses have been used by global, Tier 1 OEMs such as Hyundai, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Audi and Volkswagen.

To learn more about Pacific Technology Solutions, we asked one of PTS’ principals and owners, Tony Rotundo, how his company is always prepared for technological advances and what’s ahead. Read The Rest

Behind the Scenes of PR Firm Copernio’s 55 Years of Success

CopernioWith rapidly changing technology, public relations and marketing firms have to constantly evolve to achieve effective results for their clients. Adapting is the only way a company can ensure future success.

Serving a variety of business from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies, Copernio, a full-service public relations firm, has found a way to continue to creatively and effectively tell their clients’ stories through traditional and digital media.

In the company’s 55-year history, its team has launched many critical technologies including carbon composites, the first commercial satellites, the DVD standard, the first consumer MP3 player and many more.

To find out how the company has remained an industry leader throughout the years, we picked the brain of Copernio president Susan van Barneveld, APR. Read The Rest

This Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – Aug. 19, 2014

By Gregg Ellman
@greggellman@greggellman

Tech reviews of the Vaavud wind meter, Audiovox Mobile TV device and Rapoo wireless keyboards.

Vaavud Wind Meter

Vaavud Wind MeterWhen I saw an email inviting me to test the Vaavud wind meter, I thought it was just another one of those gimmick smartphone accessories.

But I decided to give this one a try since I’m a smartphone junkie and my wife thinks I’m a weather junkie. This could bring all my worlds together.

Much to my delight, the Vaavud works as advertised to “turn your smartphone into a high-tech meteorological tool.”

The cup-anemometer tool attaches to your headphone port (Android and iOS), and along with the Vaavud app, you instantly know the wind speed.

Of course the day I tested it there was no wind so I took it along for a ride in my neighborhood holding my iPhone 5s out the car window with the Vaavud attached.

It worked like a charm, reading the speed as I went faster or slower. The wind speed can be displayed in choices of m/s, knots, mph, km/h, bft.

The gadget is described as being designed like a wind measuring tool, the cup-anemometer. It has two-cup functionality instead of the standard three, enabling it to be pocket sized.

The app has user interactions with other Vaavud wind meter users globally to share your wind speed and find out what it is in other locations – the fun is endless!

Cost: $49.95 in choices of green, red or white

Details: Vaavud.com Read The Rest

This Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – July 28, 2014

By Gregg Ellman
@greggellman@greggellman

Reviews of the Oregon Scientic Weather@Home, Voyager Edge Bluetooth and the Henge Docks Vertical Docking Station for Macs.

Oregon Scientific Weather@Home - Model BAR218HG

Weather-HomeThe Oregon Scientific Weather@Home (model BAR218HG) is one of those gadgets, which you don’t think you need until you need it.

With the weather station you no longer have to troll your TV stations, websites or apps to get weather reports. Instead you can become your own household’s weather-forecaster with the Bluetooth-enabled weather station you keep inside, paired with a temperature and humidity sensor you keep outside.

The sensor is powered by a single AA battery (not included) to take readings and send it to the weather station wirelessly. Then with Bluetooth you can read the results on your smartphone with the device’s free app (Android and iOS), up to 55 yards away.

Temperatures are also taken inside along with daily hi/lows, humidity and forecasts.

I compared the weather station vs my local news weatherman and they were both right on with predictions of temperatures more than 100 with a slight chance of an afternoon storm. While it doesn’t take much of a prediction with that forecast, they were both accurate as the week went on.

The Weather@Home is powered by 3 AA batteries (not included) and has other alerts for storm warnings, wind, frost, fog, the percentage of moon phase and an auto setting clock.

Cost: $53.64

Details: www.OregonScientific.com/us Read The Rest

This Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – July 23, 2014

By Gregg Ellman
@greggellman

Reviews of Samsung Galaxy Tab S, iHome iDL46 Charging Clock Radio and Patchnride tire repair kit.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S

Samsung-Galaxy-Tab-S-1When a brand new Samsung Galaxy Tab S arrives on the doorstep, I’d imagine most people would tear it open like the Christmas present you have been salivating over. In my case, it took me almost 2 weeks to open it but it only took about 2 seconds to find two great features.

Over the next few days I found many more, and in case you are wondering, the first two features were a back button and the ability to turn off all your running apps at once.

And before I get to anymore, I’ll come clean with full disclosure: I’m an Apple user. I have been for some time with computers, iPods, iPhones and iPads.

Typically when I use a non-Apple product I wonder why it doesn’t have some of the features I’m used to.

In this case I went back to my iPad wondering why it doesn’t have some of the features the Galaxy Tab S has, but I’m thinking these companies fight enough in courtrooms these days over who stole each other’s technology. Read The Rest

Educate & Motivate: The Story Behind the Save Salt River Bay Website Created By Eclipse Marketing Services

Communitas Awards Company: Eclipse Marketing Services
Title: “Save Salt River Bay Website”
Location: Morristown, New Jersey
Category: 3.1 Pro Bono

Eclipse-Marketing-ServicesAfter experiencing the natural phenomenon of a “Bio Bay” in St. Croix and learning of a plan that would permanently affect the area, Eclipse Marketing Services president Margaret Boller and her team launched the website SaveSaltRiverBay.com to help inform the public about the current plans regarding the future of Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve and also motivate people to take action.

We caught up with Eclipse creative director Barbara Johnston to learn more about the creative process behind the educational website and why Eclipse decided to donate their time and expertise to the cause.

Tell me about Eclipse Marketing Services and how your firm helps its clients.

Eclipse Marketing Services, Inc., is a certified woman-owned business that believes in the power of imagination and education…and what this incredible combination can do for its clients! With over 40 creative and marketing awards in the last 5 years alone for results-driven marketing initiatives in the general and Hispanic markets, our passion and creativity is reflected in our company creed: “Innovate. Educate. Motivate. It’s in our DNA.” The Save Salt River Bay (SSRB) website is a testament to this credo.

Share the story behind the beginning of the Save Salt River Bay website. How did Eclipse hear about the situation, and why did Eclipse decide to get involved? 

During one of our company president’s many visits to St. Croix, Margaret Boller took a nighttime kayak tour of Salt River Bay’s “Bio Bay” and experienced this rare bioluminescent phenomenon first-hand. [Bio Bays are comprised of many microorganisms that glow in the dark, creating a magnificent and fascinating experience.]

She learned about the proposed Marine Research and Education Center (MREC) project being developed by a consortium of universities, the National Park Service and others, which, if built on the current designated site, could adversely affect this Bio Bay. A big area of concern was the lack of public awareness and involvement in the decisions affecting this wonderful national park. There was a small group of residents who were trying to appeal to the MREC partners to review other viable alternative sites which could still accomplish the marine research, stimulate the economy of the island, and preserve the park and all of its treasures…but their voices were going unheard.

Save Salt River Bay by Eclipse Marketing Services

There are many areas of concern with this development – the project is slated to be built on Salt River Bay National Historical and Ecological Preserve – a park full of history (the only documented landing of Christopher Columbus and the skirmish between his men and native tribes); archeological treasures and burial grounds dating between AD 660 -1015; home to over 25 endangered species; the largest existing mangrove forest in the Caribbean; a unique ecosystem and fish nursery; and rich with natural beauty to be protected and preserved for this and future generations to enjoy.

Despite being public land, the right for people to access this area will be severely restricted for security reasons, impacting everyone’s ability to enjoy their public park, kayak in the bays, and hike in the vicinity. Eclipse Marketing lent its design and web capabilities to the cause to raise awareness. We fully support the premise of research and study. However, we question the location of the site—especially with other, more suitable, locations situated nearby.

Walk me through the design process for the website.

We wanted the user experience to be thorough, engaging, and educational, allowing navigation to the areas they were most interested in learning about – the historical, ecological, and/or biological impact of the proposed construction – without overwhelming them with data. We used interactive involvement to stimulate the experience and learning, and to motivate them to take action, whether it was through automated online petitions to their government representatives or social networking.

What were the most challenging aspects of the project?

Sheer volume of content was probably the biggest challenge. Along with the desire to check, and re-check, everything we included. Information integrity was crucial. Because this work was done pro bono, staff time was at a premium; our concern was to get the word out and make a difference before it was too late.

How many people worked on the project and how long did it take?

For some people, particularly Margaret, Kaitlin Carita (the designer), Katie MacDevette (the project manager), and Adam Sayer (the web designer), the involvement was substantial over the course of a year. Other individuals assisted at times doing research, sourcing images, design and logo concepts, and/or proofing.

Is there anything you want people to know about the project – either from a design aspect or an environmental one?

Saving Salt River Bay is an ongoing battle. Our efforts continue to raise awareness, stimulate dialog, and present information that allows people to reach their own well-informed conclusions—and to take action. If we can’t change the MREC partners’ or influential stakeholders’ opinions to move the location of their facility, unfortunately there will be irrevocable damage to this historical, biological and natural landmark and treasure. Read more at www.SaveSaltRiverBay.com

What’s ahead for Save Salt River Bay?

Ideally, many more years of magical luminescence! And dialog between all the parties who care about the island, its unique resources, its history, and its wildlife. We would like to see the development of an optimum solution that addresses everyone’s needs.

*****

Have you donated your services to a nonprofit or do you know someone that has? The Communitas Awards, which recognizes exceptional businesses, organizations and individuals for excellence in community service and corporate social responsibility, is now accepting nominations. 

This Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – July 1, 2014

By Gregg Ellman
@greggellman

Reviews of the Microlab FC60BT wireless speaker system, Wicked Audio Divvy audio splitter and MOS Reach Power Everywhere AC/USB extension.

Microlab FC60BT

Making the right choice for a wireless speaker system can be mind-numbing with the endless choices. Go no further then the Microlab FC60BT.

Microlab FC60BT

Before I opened the Microlab sound system, I read the press release, which describes it as an “audio wireless Bluetooth/NFC 2.1 Subwoofer Speaker System, featuring Microlab’s patented HC2D Technology, a powerful subwoofer, and two advanced stereo satellite SQ speakers without enclosures for crystal clear sound without harmonic distortions or vibrations that often happen when speakers are enclosed.”

I can’t say it any better but to translate that into something understandable this system rocks the house. Read The Rest

Giving Back Through Marketing and Communications: GoodThree

Throughout the years, AMCP entrants have submitted more than 2,000 pro bono entries. While that is a lot of work donated to nonprofits, we’re sure it is only a small percentage of the time, money, effort and skill that our entrants give back to their communities. Throughout the next couple of months, we’re profiling some of these people and sharing their stories with you in our series, Giving Back Through Marketing and Communications.

Design firm GoodThree recently took home a Platinum honor from the 2014 Hermes Creative Awards for its 2012 Annual Report for the nonprofit 2 Seconds Or Less in the pro bono category. We were able to catch up with GoodThree principal and designer Matt Hannigan to learn more about the firm and how it supports 2 Seconds Or Less.

2 Seconds Or Less Annual Report By GoodThree

Tell us about 2 Seconds Or Less and its mission. How does it help people?

2 Seconds Or Less (2SOL) is a nonprofit organization based in Central Pennsylvania dedicated to serving impoverished nations by providing sustainable agriculture methods and teaching the people of those areas how to properly plant, maintain and harvest their crops.

How did you find out about 2 Seconds Or Less? Why did you decide to donate GoodThree’s services to help the organization with their annual report?

I started working with 2SOL while I was working as a freelance graphic designer and was given the opportunity to rebrand the nonprofit. After that project, I continued doing work for the organization and formed a strong relationship with them.

When GoodThree was formed, we decided to continue providing our services to them because their mission for sustainable hunger solutions worked very well with our green design business model, and they allowed us to have complete creative freedom over their projects.

How did your team come up with the design and what inspired them?

The 2012 Annual Report design was completely inspired by small individuals making a big difference. This concept is taken directly from the start-up of 2SOL and how much of an impact they’ve made on their community since that time. Every small detail of this report was taken into consideration in order to support that idea, as is common throughout all of our projects. The smallest details can make a huge difference.

2 Seconds Or Less Annual Report

What were some of the most challenging aspects of the project and how did your team overcome them?

One of the most challenging aspects of this particular project was catering the design to the seemingly never-ending copy edits. We wanted to make sure the design continued to compliment the message effectively and successfully throughout all the changes. How we were able to work through this was to maintain good communication with them throughout the process.

Another challenging portion of this project was arranging the sections of the report in such an order that allowed the design to visually tell a story and helped the content flow smoothly from page to page. Solving this issue turned out to be quite simple: look at each section from the reader’s point-of-view and figure out the most logical and visually pleasing presentation order.

How was the report received by 2 Seconds Or Less?

Extremely well. Within 10 minutes of sending the final file for approval, we received a response that simply read, “HOLY CRAP! THIS THING IS BEAUTIFUL!” We could not have been happier with that response.

Do you have plans to continue working with 2 Seconds Or Less? Why?

Yes. We have seen the amazing impact that our services has had on them and their audience, and we would like to continue to be apart of that. Their mission continues to compliment our green design vision and they are always enthusiastic about the work we produce.

*****

GoodThree DesignGoodThree is a green branding and design firm with a desire to invest in the client-designer relationship through a “Design Thinking Forward” model. They begin with the end, and end with the beginning; they ensure that their first step paves the way for an engaging sustainable outcome, motivating them to review their design process and analyze every resource.

Have you donated your services to a nonprofit or do you know someone that has? The Communitas Awards, which recognizes exceptional businesses, organizations and individuals for excellence in community service and corporate social responsibility, is now accepting nominations. 

Giving Back Through Marketing and Communications: Randy Clark Graphic Design

Throughout the years, AMCP entrants have submitted more than 2,000 pro bono entries. While that is a lot of work donated to nonprofits, we’re sure it is only a small percentage of the time, money, effort and skill that our entrants give back to their communities. Throughout the next couple of months, we’re profiling some of these people and sharing their stories with you in our series, Giving Back Through Marketing and Communications.

Randy Clark, head of Randy Clark Graphic Design out of Brookings, South Dakota, recently took home a Platinum 2014 Hermes Creative Award for his Winds of March poster after donating his time and skills to the Colombia Support Network. We were able to get a few minutes of his time to learn about the nonprofit, how he got involved, and the key to creating successful ads.

Winds of March Poster

Tell us what Colombia Support Network does and how it helps people.

Colombia Support Network is a nonprofit peace organization that monitors human rights (or more specifically, the lack of it) in the country of Colombia in South America. Its mission involves information gathering and bringing it to light. It also works to educate people, conduct informational excursions into remote parts of Colombia and build corresponding sister city relationships here the United States.

How did you find out about CSN? Why did you choose to donate your time and skills to create a poster for the organization?

I went to Colombia as a Mormon missionary, freshly minted out of high school. I labored there for two years in the cities of Pereira, Bogotá, Cali, and Medellín.

Upon arriving back in the United States, I resumed my studies, married, had a family, and worked in graphic design for 20 or so years. While an adjunct professor for Utah State University, I entered into their graduate program. For my thesis, I choose the subject of the “Civil War in Colombia,” which seemed to be a natural fit.

Researching for my thesis, I came upon the Colombia Support Network website, which had a comprehensive source of material that I downloaded.

Joining the organization, I came unannounced to their annual meeting. Not realizing it at the time, the conference was just for chapter officers, and I essentially was crashing their meeting. I asked them to put me to work, and they did.

Walk me through the design process. Did CSN provide direction for you? Did you look somewhere for inspiration? 

The design process is the same for every project. Know your subject matter; know your audience.

There is no substitution for the time-consuming but necessary research component—both in terms of content and creative audits. Since I am a university professor with a small freelance business, I have the resources of our university library. On a Friday afternoon, after classes are out, I normally go look through the volumes of design books seeking inspiration. I’ll photocopy pages that I feel relevant to the particular project I am working on for later reference.

Most clients are painfully cautious and conservative. As a designer, one must demonstrate confidence in great design. It isn’t about salesmanship, but building a case that good design is in the best interest of everyone. No one wants to buy something that is ugly, and no one wants to do business with a company with an unprofessional image. We all are attracted to things that are designed well.

In the case of CSN, rapport and trust has developed over the years. I am given carte blanche on whatever I care to do.

What were some of the most challenging aspects of the project?

Challenges I encounter are what a designer experiences everyday: tight deadlines and limited resources. I have another challenge in that there always seems to be a huge amount of copy that must go on the poster/announcement.

Years ago, while studying as an undergraduate, our department flew in James Cross, a distinguished graphic designer who was known for his deft and subtle approaches to annual report design. Someone asked him a question that seemed so germane to our craft, “How do you determine what is good design?”

He responded with a formula I have never forgotten – AIDA. Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. Before you can move people to action, you must first get their attention, then their interest, and in that order. The desire and action part comes later. That means body copy can be small, and white space is a virtue.

I also understood that screaming headlines and crowding type and pictures onto an ad will not work. One has to approach communication with thought and respect for the audience. Ads that shout are so often ignored precisely because they are intrusive. People tune out noise but willingly struggle to listen to a whisper.

If you really want your work to stand out, surround your type with space. Because your ad will be the only that does.

How was the poster received by CSN and its target audience?

I received a phone call from Cecilia Zarate-Laun, the program director of CSN, who said the governing board was overjoyed with the poster. The event sold out.

Do you have plans to keep working with CSN?

Certainly. The Colombia Support Network comprises of people, who like myself, are concerned about the country and its strong and beautiful citizenry. I see this as an extension of my labors as a missionary. One of the greatest joys I’ve received is an appreciation from the organization for which I do this work. I hope to continue doing their work for years to come.

*****

Randy Clark Graphic DesignRandy Clark Graphic Design is run by Randy Clark, a freelance graphic designer specializing in print solutions: advertising, packaging, corporate identity and marketing. Contact Randy at randyclarkmfa@icloud.com or 605-691-2203.

Have you donated your services to a nonprofit or do you know someone that has? The Communitas Awards, which recognizes exceptional businesses, organizations and individuals for excellence in community service and corporate social responsibility, is now accepting nominations. 

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