New Business Owner Makes Wrap Installations Xtreme

A custom wrap design Siques recently completed.

The wraps, window film and paint protection film (PPF) segments of the film industry can be rewarding and of interest – even to car enthusiasts. Steve Siques, owner of Xtreme Wraps LLC (Xtreme Wraps), located in Fredericksburg Va., can attest to this as he’s recently joined the industry and has been enjoying the creative side of vinyl.

“This is a very attractive industry as far as what can be done with the types of films that are out there and people have so many ideas and limitless possibilities to enhance the way a vehicle looks,” said Siques. “You can customize something to fit the person and their character.”

Siques said he’s always had an artistic touch, but when he first started using vinyl he quickly realized that he had to get used to the material. “It was very fun to learn how to install with it because there are so many different things that you can do design-wise,” he said.

Why Film? Why Now?

Siques (left) and one of his part-time employees.

Siques considers himself a very detailed-oriented person, and getting into vehicle wraps seemed like a perfect fit.

“I had another business previously – it was cell phone repair, laptops and other similar products in the Spotsylvania, Virginia Mall called Phone Repairs Group,” Siques explained. “It’s been there for seven years and I was getting tired and burned out from it and that industry. I’ve always been a car enthusiast and what better way to fulfill a car fix, than to get into an industry that allows you to work with people who want to customize their cars?”

It was a “no brainer” for Siques to make the leap into the industry just about one year ago. He currently has four employees, including himself. His wife Julie handles the administrative tasks and marketing, as Siques noted he is fairly busy throughout the day with installations and it’s difficult for him to reply to emails and answer the phones. He also has two part-time employees who assist him with full vehicle wrap installations.

“Addison and Angelo worked with me in prior businesses for years and they’re both really good at working on cars,” said Siques. “Whenever I need more hands to get the process moving in a more fluid manner, I’ll call them in.”

Training

Siques (left) and customer, Nick Beard (right) after a hood installation.

Siques had been introduced to vinyl by a friend who was doing small projects, but when it started getting harder he knew more training was a must. He went through an educational program in New Jersey that focused on mobile technical training. During the two-week course he learned a lot of techniques and some of the trouble areas with installing different films, including PPF.

“I learned that the majority of the work involves prepping the vehicle before you begin with any wrap or film,” Siques said. “During the course I was able to use as much film as I needed to help me learn the fundamentals. I’m currently looking for educational options to become a certified PPF installer because I want to offer this service more.”

Optimistic Outlook

“Starting out in this industry can be intimidating because there are so many things that can go wrong,” said Siques. “It’s just amazing that out of all of my customers I haven’t had one issue in working with and for them. It’s been a blessing so far and I’m excited to see what’s ahead.”

A completed hood installation from Xtreme Wraps.

He said he’s done installations on everything from Bentleys, Porsche, Maserati, and your standard sedan. Every installation is unique to him. Siques recently finished a hood wrap installation that involved a custom design on a 2018 Dodge Charger—a model he says he often sees. “I thought it was going to be more challenging but everything went smoothly and the finished product was better than expected,” said Siques.

“I’ve always liked the Avengers and knew I wanted to highlight some of the African American characters, Steve worked with me to make sure my vision came to light,” said customer Nick Beard. “I wanted something powerful and well known so I went with what everybody loves.”

“The motivation is just to bring the customer’s vision to life,” Siques said. “I can’t wait to learn more and grow in this industry.”

XPEL Named Title Sponsor of Texas Motor Speedway’s Second Race of Indy Series

XPEL, Inc. (XPEL) announced a multi-year sponsorship at Texas Motor Speedway. The second race of the 2021 NTT INDYCAR series doubleheader, scheduled for Sunday, May 2, will be called the XPEL 375, according to the company.

By securing the naming rights for the XPEL 375, the company expects to generate brand exposure among core marketing segments including authorized dealers as well as consumers. The race sponsorship is the company’s second major professional motorsports activation in as many years.

“Last year we became the ‘Official Protective Film Partner’ of Team Penske and embarked on our sponsorship journey with Josef Newgarden and his No. 2 Chevrolet,” said Ryan Pape, XPEL CEO and president. “Our new partnership with Texas Motor Speedway solidifies our investment in the sport and we are excited to see how the race sponsorship will drive increased brand awareness to benefit our business.”

FDC Graphic Films, Inc. Recognizes Employees for Exemplifying Company’s Core Values

FDC Graphic Films, Inc. (FDC) recognized four employees as a “Core Values Ambassador” in the fourth quarter of 2020 for exemplifying one or more of the company’s five core values.

FDC’s Core Values are believed to be the five most important values in the way the company employees live and work: integrity, kindness, resiliency, engagement, and drive for success.

FDC Fourth Quarter Ambassador Award Recipients (from left to right): Brittany Horvath, invoice specialist; Nick Colpitts, inventory control coordinator; and Shannon Althouse, production associate. [Not pictured: Fernando Cocoletzi-Gomez, shipping/receiving associate.]
“I am so very proud of each of these team members. They exemplify the character and culture we value here at FDC,” said Chris Stoler, FDC president. “Every one of them, through their actions, demonstrates why FDC is great at what we do. It is because they care, and they are committed to excellence. That care and commitment are why we recognize these individuals today.”

Shannon Althouse, production associate, was recognized for his engagement and drive for success. Althouse recommended a strategy to convert “short rolls,” which are scrap, to sellable products. This means less scrap and more value to the company.

Fernando Cocoletzi-Gomez, shipping/receiving associate, was recognized for his drive for success. According to the company, he regularly gets stocking orders shipped out not only on-time as expected, but early because he jumps into production right away and makes sure it gets done.

Nick Colpitts, inventory control coordinator, was also recognized for his drive for success. Colpitts is solution-oriented and always looking for ways to help work around challenges for the good of the business, according to the company. He is also customer-focused with his internal “customers” showing quality and ease-of-use with his deliverables.

In the company’s first double nomination, Brittany Horvath, invoice specialist, was recognized for her integrity, resiliency, and drive for success. As a prior customer care agent (CCA) for the company, she has taken on the new role of invoicing and does what she says she’s going to do in an error-free, timely manner. She knows what information a CCA needs and why, so she is pro-active by going above and beyond to communicate with them, saving them valuable time. Horvath also took in stride the assigned task of managing the invoice cabinets to prepare for the New Year and thought of new filing methods to help improve access. This is her second award in 2020.

Each employee received an FDC Core Values Ambassador award certificate from the Work-Life team signed by Mr. Stoler.

Texas Business Share Details of Last Week’s Snowstorm

“We are going to put up a backup generator for power, because that is what really hampered us more than anything,” said John Yard, national sales vice president for Huper Optik USA (Huper Optik), with its corporate campus located in Harris County, as he recalled last week’s snowstorm. Huper Optik is moving into a new building it purchased as well.

Huper Optik lost power for three days, a main reason why Yard said that having a generator would “eliminate a lot of the issues the company faced this time.”

“The initial thought for everyone started out as ‘it doesn’t snow in South Texas, how cool would it be to get a little bit’? Then it went to these temps are going to be brutal. When we woke up and saw what we got was when it started moving more to survival mode and realizing this is going to be a bad week,” said Dave Duensing, Texan Glass & Solar Control president, located in The Woodlands, Texas.

Overall Safety

Jonathan Thompson managing partner of SunSational Solutions, located in San Antonio and Austin, Texas, said all of his employees are okay and that the business was shut down for a week, as a result of the snowstorm.

Yard said that everyone “kind of got through” the snowstorm and there were several employees who had broken pipes in their homes. Many also lost power for several days and have started getting things back together and coming back into work.

“Of course we walked into a broken pipe Monday at the office and this is one of those once-in-a lifetime events,” said Yard. “And in times like this you find out funny little things, like the fourth largest city in the U.S., Houston, Texas only has two sand trucks so it’s not like we were prepared for ice and snow.”

Being Prepared

Although you can’t plan for Mother Nature’s strike there are things businesses can do to prepare, like having constant communication with employees and customers. SunSational Solutions and Huper Optik have experience in communication during a disaster.

“One thing that was neat about COVID is that because we rely so much on communicating without everyone in the office, our business is very functional without everyone being in the brick and mortar location,” explained Thompson. “We were able to use those tools to stay in communication at that time. I think the lessons we learned in 2020 from COVID can be applied to situations like this pretty easily and companies can get through it.”

Texan Glass & Solar Control

Duensing said that the business went through Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and had about four feet of water that ruined everything inside of the business. Last week had a similar slight catastrophic feel to it for him.

“Being raised in Nebraska, I understand ice and snow. The initial precaution we did over the weekend of the 13th-14th was to ground all company trucks and employees from coming into the locations,” Duensing explained. “We really had no idea if we would wake up to nothing, or ice or snow. In Texas a big problem is overpasses and bridges getting iced over and there is no means of salting or getting them cleared so it will shut the towns down. As things did melt a little and more severe cold hit, they ended up icing over worse so we were shut down Monday through Wednesday.”

He said the business had a partial crew working on Thursday and as the week continued things began to get closer to “normal.”

“We actually began putting systems in place four or five years ago that would allow for employees to work remotely,” explains Yard. “The makeup of our (Houston) office went from about 15 who worked inside of it to now about six to eight and the rest are spread throughout the country. We also have a phone system that allows us to work like we’re all in one building.”

He added that COVID has taught window film businesses that meeting face to face isn’t always necessary anymore, as technology allows communication across various platforms. The company’s communication and remote systems have paid off several times, according to Yard, as well as being able to pull materials from other warehouse locations.

“Our Houston, Texas location really died for a couple of reasons–number one there were three to four days where UPS not only wouldn’t pick up but they weren’t moving things out of the city,” said Yard.

To combat this issue he said the company was able to utilize other warehouses when transportation in Houston stopped.

PPF Editorial Director Delivers First Novel

PPFMag editorial director Tara Taffera doesn’t just write about window film and paint protection film. Taffera recently completed her first novel, Love Ordained, which has been published by Winged Publications. The book is available in print and on Kindle at Amazon.com.

Completed in March 2020, the Christian Romance was an off and on focus for Taffera, who says it “was 20 years in the making.” After stepping away from her efforts, she resumed the project for a brief period in 2019. Then, while on a trip in February 2020, a close friend inquired about the project, asking, “Why haven’t you finished your book?” Taffera says. “It was something my husband had also been asking me, and I wondered myself,” she adds. A month later, her first novel was done. “Once I set my mind to something, I put a plan of action together and I do it,” she says.

The story began as a simple romance novel, but as a lifelong Christian, “I knew God wanted more for me,” Taffera says. “The next time I sat down to work on the novel, I said this is going to be a Christian romance and I never looked back.”

The story follows the tragic events surrounding the life of a young widow, Gina Andros, who lost her husband, Alex, and nearly two-year-old daughter to a car accident. In a series of intriguing developments, Andros’ life takes numerous twists and turns, as she progresses through her grief, regaining her strength. Along the way, her mother-in-law—who she views like a second mother—blames her for the accident, aiming to cut her off from the family. As the novel settles into its final chapters, a new love appears for Gina, but swarming with uncertainty: Is this the relationship God intended?

“Most everyone knows Tara as an excellent business writer and editor,” says  PPFMag publisher Deb Levy, “but it’s been thrilling to us all to see her debut as a fiction author and published novelist. And, I am so personally delighted for her I am bursting with pride.”

As a writer, journalist and editorial director of 23 years, Taffera is quick to clarify that she has no intentions of making a career change. “Not a chance,” she says. “After all of these years, I still love coming to work every day and cherish the people and industries we serve. The series, A Divine Love, will remain my nighttime and weekend focus … I can’t wait for people to experience these stories,” she adds. “It’s my sincere hope that they will not only be entertained, but that it touches their lives in some small way.”