Valley Screen Process Co. Inc., a major provider of large-format graphics for the RV and marine industries, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
The Valley Screen Process family will officially mark the anniversary at its Mishawaka, Ind., location on Oct. 25.
What started out as a small silkscreen company with a handful of employees is now a multimillion-dollar business providing digital graphics and design work not only for the RV and marine industries, but also for fleet vehicles and the interior architectural community.
The company, started by Jerry Bauer and Galen Heckber, is owned and operated by a second generation of Bauers who have successfully maneuvered the company through changing technology and some very challenging economic times.
Jerry Bauer passed away in 2007, but the environment he established lives on.
“A lot has changed over the past five decades,” Karen Barnett, Bauer’s daughter and CEO, said in a statement. “But one thing that’s the same is the family atmosphere my father established. He considered employees part of his extended family.”
Jerry Bauer was known for visiting with his “extended family” each day. He would carry a bowl of candy and offer sweets while he checked in with them. He was also known for telling a “joke of the day,” usually including a fictional character, “Olee,” who was always in some kind of trouble. Those jokes became such a big part of the company’s culture that Barnett named the new architectural division of the business Olee Creative.
Barnett believes the caring culture her father established helped Valley Screen survive when the Great Recession occurred. Valley Screen Process not only survived the recession, but is thriving in a 45,000-square-foot facility that has the latest technology for its design and print processes.
“I think the key to our success has always been the team that we have. Everybody really gives it their all, we work hard, and we have a real sense of family here,” she said. “When we were going through tough times during the recession, the whole team sacrificed by taking pay cuts or going on rotating layoffs. Everybody was willing to sacrifice for the greater good.”