April '19

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52 THE SHOP APRIL 2019 Hardens took so much pride in providing. Determined to continue Mik's dedicated work, Christa set out to earn the quali- fications necessary to keep MXC Media going strong. "When Mik passed away, all those certifi- cations went with him," Harden says. "So, I figured if I was going to keep doing this, I needed to have them to save the business." As a result, she earned 3M Preferred Installer and Avery Dennison Certified Wrap Installer designations in September and October 2018 and her PDAA certifica- tion this January. "I just want people to know that Mik was the heart and soul of the business," Harden says. "He was the one that taught me everything I know." GOING SOLO When the Hardens first started the business (, Harden says she hadn't done a lot of installs to that point—just some basic flat windows and simple decals on cars. She gained most of her skills by working on projects at MXC Media with Mik, who was always very encouraging. "There are definitely times being a woman in this industry makes you feel like an outsider, and I've only come across a few other installers who are women," Harden says. "So, it was always nice to have him rooting for me. He never second-guessed my abilities. He was a good sport and a really supportive partner." By continuing the mobile-installation business, Harden also hoped to maintain the quality and type of work Mik wanted to present. Installing vehicle wraps and graphics for brand-name retailers makes up the majority of her work, but the number of jobs from each category varies with the seasons. For example, a lot of fleets finalize their budgets in January, which is when the com- panies decide to invest in new graphics for vehicles (though the cold and snowy season often isn't the best time for installs, Harden says). MXC Media has installed wraps for a few Carrying On Christa says her art back- ground and eye for detail have come in handy as she perfects the skills needed to install even the toughest wraps and graphics. Mik & Christa Harden estab- lished their own independent vinyl graphics installa- tion business in 2015: MXC Media. The "M" and "C" in the name represent the first letters of their names. The duo provided mobile services in Oregon and Wash- ington until Mik's death last July. A favorite project of MXC Media is a 1987 Toyota Corolla FX16 GTS for close friend Jeff Dietz, who runs sweeps for a local race car rally. MXC helped Dietz apply a design to his car that is a tribute to the original racing livery, featuring a black background with white paneling and stripes that are red, orange and yellow.

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