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Finishing is All in the Family

The skills that Gilbert Salinas first learned as a teenager in the pressroom at the Pearsall Leader weekly newspaper in his south Texas hometown still serve him today as the successful owner of Diversified Printing Services Inc., a 28 year old print finishing operation in San Antonio. "It's amazing, but the more modern equipment with all its bells and whistles still works on the same principles: pressure, heat and operator ability," Salinas explained.

Salinas founded Diversified Printing Services in 1984 with his wife, Belen, and sons Rick and Beto, and it remains in its original location just blocks from downtown San Antonio at 1927 W. Commerce. The company serves a wide range of clients, from private industry to government to universities, with work coming from in-house print shops and commercial printers. It offers large-format die cutting, embossing, foil stamping, sheet-to-sheet and sheet-to-board laminating, tab cutting, automatic stick and peel taping, high-speed gluing and hand work. Gilbert Salinas said he also is considering transitioning into the cold foil industry in the future.

Starting Out

After working at the newspaper in Pearsall for five years and the Hondo (Texas) Anvil Herald for nine years, Gilbert Salinas took a job with one of San Antonio's largest commercial printers, Clarke Printing Company (now Cenveo), where he worked for more than 19 years. At Clarke Printing, Salinas was involved with the trade work that was being outsourced and began to see the need for a trade shop on which local printers could depend. A print supply representative alerted Salinas to several letterpresses that someone had unsuccessfully tried to convert into die cutters but had decided to sell. Salinas purchased the 12x18" C&P with a Rice feeder and the Kelly three-cylinder press and thus, Diversified Printing Services was born.

The presses still had their rollers so Salinas did some over-printing for the first few months before deciding that wasn't the direction he wanted the company to go. He then converted the machines to die cutters. For the first three years, Salinas continued to work full time at Clarke Printing Company while his wife and two of his four sons, Rick and Beto, ran the new business. "By then, we had enough business to keep everyone busy," Salinas said, and he went to work full time with his family. "Our first capabilities were simple, as we did numbering, crash printing, die cutting, cold embossing and hand gluing, while serving the local commercial printers."

Through the years, the business grew to as many as 18 employees. Today, Diversified Printing Services is made up of 10 employees, working a single shift. In addition to company president Gilbert Salinas, manager Rick Salinas and estimator Beto Salinas, one of Gilbert Salinas' nephews, Eloy Salinas, joined the company about five years after its founding and now serves as customer service representative. And grandson Gilbert M. Salinas is a press operator. Belen Salinas no longer works day-to-day in the business.

Expert Results

The company runs a Bobst SPI02 auto platen die cutter with stripping, a Gietz FSA 720 automatic foil stamper and die cutter, a Yawa auto stamper and die cutter, a Thomson 19”x25" hand-fed press, four automatic 12”x18" platen foil stampers, one Universal folder-gluer, in addition to mounting and laminating equipment. This allows Diversified Printing Services to expertly finish such projects as pocket folders, CD sleeves, counter cards, case cards, easels, custom boxes and cosmetic point-of-purchase displays, among other jobs.

The company's commitment to quality and best business practices is evidenced by its philosophy, which is displayed prominently on its website, "Above all, we value: courtesy, respect, integrity, teamwork and excellence." Gilbert Salinas said he is particularly proud of the company's foil stamping work. Diversified Printing Services has received recognition from the Foil & Specialty Effects Association's (FSEA) Gold Leaf Awards, winning a Silver Award in 1999 and a Gold Award in 2000 in the calendar category. Salinas fondly recalled the award-winning calendar from 2000. This self-promotional piece that the company produced to share with customers featured an intricate bald eagle design atop a billowing U.S. flag stamped with multiple colors of foil. He noted that the use of patriotic themes such as eagles and flags exploded after Sept. 11, 2001, "We did our calendar the year before that, just because we believed in America and it really turned out beautifully."

Spreading the Word

Networking has been an important part of Diversified Printing Services' success. In addition to the company's involvement with the FSEA, Diversified is a lifetime member of the Printing Industries of America (PIA). It also is a member of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and has a HUB (historically underutilized business) certification from the state of Texas.

Gilbert Salinas said he first learned of the HUB Program, which certifies minority and women-owned businesses and encourages state agencies and universities to contract with these businesses for services, through the chamber of commerce. "These initiatives are designed to eliminate barriers for equal economic opportunities in state purchasing for HUBs," according to the state's vendor guide. ''All Texas state agencies and institutions of higher learning are required to make a good faith effort to include HUBs in their procurement opportunities." Other states have similar programs that may go by different acronyms. By: Amy Bauer