Meet the young professionals vying for the Rising Star award at the UK Graphic Awards

Exceptional young talent recognised at the UK Graphic Awards. The Rising Star category is sponsored by Amari Digital

Lucy Titmarsh: Wild Visual Communications

John Bayly at Wild VC says he has been exceptionally fortunate throughout his career to have encountered many remarkable individuals within our industry, both in terms of their personalities and talents. However, Lucy truly shines in a league of her own.

Lucy joined the team as the Creative Project Lead in 2022, marking her first substantial role within the industry. While she had a brief internship at a prop-making company, this position represents her inaugural full-time engagement following university.

What sets Lucy apart is her unwavering determination, boundless ambition, and insatiable thirst for knowledge. Her primary responsibility involves translating our clients’ concepts into tangible realities. This often poses the risk of conceptual ideas being rendered unfeasible during execution. Yet, Lucy defies the odds. Her hunger for learning isn’t confined to her creative domain alone; she takes a keen interest in the work of her colleagues and the broader production landscape. This translates into a consultative approach, seeking technical insights from her peers to craft solutions that are both breathtaking and achievable. Observing her transformation into a formidable creative force, one who comprehends the intricacies required to bring a project to life, is nothing short of inspiring. Despite this, she never allows technical constraints to stifle her imaginative proposals.

Equally astounding has been Lucy’s journey towards self-assuredness. Once a tad reserved, her blossoming confidence has been a marvel to witness. She’s progressed from listening in on client calls to confidently leading them, from offering support on projects to taking charge of them, and from being an employee to becoming an exceptional leader.

Lauren Raftery: FaberExposize UK

FaberExposize UK is Lauren’s second employer after graduating from the University of York. Initially, Lauren was hired as a junior administrator in our client services team. In this role, the team work primarily with smaller inbound orders of our historic flag and display products. What set Lauren apart was her unprecedented ability to absorb information – you tell her something once, and she will remember it.

Her product knowledge and ability to advise clients grew more rapidly than any other person we have had in the team. She developed efficiency and attention to detail, which really started to demonstrate that she had considerable potential to grow. She began to illustrate a work ethic and determination to always get it right for the client, which rapidly got noticed by clients as well as the rest of the team.

After only 3 months, we moved Lauren into our Key Accounts team so that she could follow a career development path to become an Account Manager. Normally this takes 18 months – in our experience, it takes at least this long for people in the team to develop the knowledge of products, and our complex pricing/quotation infrastructure and develop the maturity and communication skills to sell internally as well as to get the confidence of our clients.

After only 6 months with us, we had the confidence to let her take over as Account Manager of our largest reseller account. We felt she had the authority and efficiency to take this account to a new level of partnership with us.

One of Lauren’s most remarkable traits is her unwavering work ethic. She never leaves the office until everything is done, demonstrating a level of dedication that is truly inspiring and extremely rare to come across. Lauren never glances at the clock; her focus is solely on delivering results and ensuring the highest level of service to our clients… Even when she is away on holiday, her handover process is comprehensive and seamless. Her attention to detail and thoroughness make transitions stress-free for everyone involved, enabling the team to carry on with ease in her absence.

Lauren’s journey from a novice in our sector to a Rising Star in the office is nothing short of extraordinary. She has proven time and again that she has what it takes to excel and make a significant impact. Her natural flair and ability to learn quickly have resulted in remarkable achievements within a short period of time.

Mychael Bottomley: FaberExposize UK

When Luke Barraclough, our Production Manager, asked our MD to sign off on hiring Mychael, the conversation went along the lines of: “Iain, trust me on this – just let me hire him. OK, he has a Mohican and has been flipping rashers of bacon in a greasy spoon rather than working in print production, but I have a good feeling about him. He is looking for his break, let’s give him a go!”

He joined FaberExposize UK in February 2022 with no previous experience in wide format printing and rapidly moved from Finishing Operator to a fully multi-disciple Print & Finishing Operator. Mychael was initially hired to support the shift leader with stock movement, operating the Zund cutter and some eyeleting. His natural ambition and work ethic meant that he was not happy just doing this and demanded to be taught every other machine in production. Though he was on permanent night shift, he regularly came in early to shadow our experienced day shift experts to absorb new knowledge.

Teaching him how to operate the equipment in production was a no-brainer, and he was not intimidated at all by the complicated procedures and various steps of each process. We would give him instructions on how to do something once, and the next minute he would be doing it by himself flawlessly.

Within a year, Mychael had mastered dye sublimation, UV (rigids and RTR), full Zund operation, including FSD construction, and all finishing – lamination, sewing, packing, welding, etc. He also never rushes into a task, if he is unsure – or thinks it can be done better in a different way, then he asks. This level of conscientiousness has led us to introduce new procedures and significantly impacted waste reduction. He is always thinking about how he does things and how we do things, this intelligent, constructive approach is a joy to work with.

In less than 18 months, he has proven that he is a STAR of the future with great productivity, conscientiousness, passion, ability, knowledge and, importantly, a fun personality. We all love working with him!

Ryan Porter: Matt Vinyl Graphics

Since starting his apprenticeship as a fitter at Matt Vinyl Graphics in June 2021, Ryan has shown nothing but promise and enthusiasm. Ryan is extremely passionate about the industry, with a particular interest in vehicle wrapping, which is evident in the quality of his work. His dedication to learning has been impressive, whether it’s hands-on practical work or theory as part of his apprenticeship.

Ryan’s attention to detail stands out, ensuring that every aspect of the job is executed with precision and accuracy. He demonstrates maturity by not hesitating to ask questions or admit when he’s unsure of something.

A significant accomplishment for Ryan is his Arlon Accreditation. Normally, Matt Vinyl wouldn’t put apprentices forward for such courses until they’ve completed their training, but Ryan’s exceptional dedication led him to complete and successfully pass the accreditation in May 2023. Achieving this at such a young age is truly commendable.
Ryan’s excellence isn’t just recognised by his team; his college tutor also shares their sentiments. The tutor said, “Since joining the Signage Technician Standard program, Ryan has excelled both in the classroom and in the workplace. Ryan’s attitude at college is first class, and despite not being an academic, he’s making significant progress towards completing his qualification. What sets Ryan apart is his clear passion for his job and his determination to be the best. His rapid mastery of practical skills is remarkable, and his growth over the last year has been a joy to witness. Ryan deserves recognition for his achievements in such a short time.”

Matt Vinyl Graphics firmly believes that Ryan is a credit to the print and vehicle wrapping industry, even at this early stage in his career. They can only imagine what he’ll be capable of in the years to come. They say they are excited to continue his journey as a valuable member of the team.

Reece Talbot: Signbox

Since joining in October 2022, Reece has had an immediate and profound impact on Signbox. He reorganised the router room with a focus on operator well-being, safety, and material efficiency.

Reece’s extensive engineering knowledge has been invaluable in projects involving sustainable materials, particularly during the design and development stages, as well as translating visual artwork into production files.

“Growing up, I always felt different,” says Reece,” I possessed a natural inclination towards the mathematical and engineering mindset. From a young age, I was captivated by the intricate workings and construction of things. By the time secondary school started, I had a clear vision of my future – I was driven by the desire to create and innovate. Engineering, to me, is more than just a career; it’s a passion that flows through every aspect of my life.”

He continues, “Even in my personal time, I’ve been deeply involved in competitive motorsport for over a decade, where my love for crafting and enhancing components comes alive. My journey started with a small business venture while still in school, creating and manufacturing 3D-printed parts. This venture ignited a true passion within me.

After my GCSEs, my journey through various engineering sectors began. From CNC machining, welding, and fabrication to automotive manufacturing, CAD/CAM, and CNC routing, I’ve relentlessly pursued knowledge and experience.”

At just 20 years old, Reece embodies a strong work ethic and a fervent passion for problem-solving. He has rapidly driven positive changes within the business, initiating substantial improvements to our work environment. Reece’s meticulous attention to detail and proactive approach have empowered Signbox to think creatively and produce many signage products in-house that they previously outsourced.

An indispensable part of our production team, Reece works closely with the large format print department. His expertise in router cutting and intricate finishings has elevated projects like the sustainable Deloitte signage, where intricate stencil cuts were infilled with LED lights. Reece’s mastery over materials like plywood, composite bamboo, and Richlite has expanded Signbox’ repertoire of sustainable sign solutions.

Eye on Display Industry Directory
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FaberExposize UK

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Matt Vinyl Graphics Ltd

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Signbox Limited

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The UK Graphic Awards

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Wild Visual Communications

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