April '19

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54 THE SHOP APRIL 2019 fleets, including 16 semis for Shamrock Foods and 50 trucks for Market Express— both projects that spanned several months. She generally completes jobs on her own but has other installers she can subcontract, if needed. A lot of Harden's work also comes from 3M and PDAA referrals, another perk to becoming a certified installer. CREATIVE ADVANTAGE Since clients typically send Harden com- pleted graphics to install, she doesn't do as much design work as she used to. Still, her background in the arts has been helpful. She loves painting, drawing and photog- raphy, but never imagined herself in the vinyl installation industry. "I started out in college in photography and photo editing and eventually made my way to graphic design, so I really didn't think I'd be the type to do the hands-on labor," Harden says. "But it does actually play well with my background in arts and creating, because I can look at things a little differently." For example, Harden's sensitive design eye can easily nail down a vehicle's balance and she can typically tell whether some- thing is level or not without using tools. And, because a lot of creative mediums require fine motor skills, she says abilities like having a steady hand and being able to draw a straight line have come in handy. While wall murals make for an easy day of work, some of Harden's most rewarding and challenging projects involve color- changing vehicle wraps. She enjoys working with customers to get a feel for the type of style they want, whether they're interested in highlighting or minimizing certain fea- Carrying On By continuing the mobile-installation business, Christa Harden hopes to maintain the quality and type of work Mik wanted to present. Fleets often finalize their budgets in January, which is when the companies decide to invest in new graphics for vehicles. (The cold and snowy season, however, often isn't the best time for installs.) MXC Media has installed wraps for a few fleets, including 16 semis for Shamrock Foods and 50 trucks for Market Express—both projects that spanned several months. 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. Christa credits Mik for the company's success. "I can't take credit for everything that's happened over the years—it wouldn't have happened without him."

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