We had another successful year partnering with Nike behind the scenes at the NFL Draft 2019 in Nashville. It is a great honor to be part of the on-demand heat printing of Nike NFL jerseys that are handed to the first round draft picks as they are selected. This is our eighth year working with Nike and the NFL, but the pressure to perform and get those jerseys heat printed in under 60 seconds and out to the stage was still as intense as it was the first time. Luckily, we had a very experienced team in the room, lead by Director of Technology Advancement Brent Kisha. Brent has been in the Nike Jersey room since its inception in 2012. “The first jersey we ever heat printed for the NFL Draft live was for Andrew Luck,” recalls Brent. “I’ll never forget it.” Every year we make improvements and adjustments in the process so that it runs smoother than ever. This year, we had to have a second set of Hotronix Air Fusion heat presses brought to an indoor venue due to impending thunderstorms in the Nashville area. A back up plan was needed in case the show had to be moved indoors. But although it actually did start raining right when the Draft started, there was no danger of lightening so the live show continued even in the downpour. It didn’t seem to upset the fans either. It is estimated that almost 200,000 people came to watch the live announcements despite pouring rain. The free concerts, fan hoopla and the excitement of the Draft itself was more than enough to keep everyone happy. It’s a huge thrill to work with Nike and to play this role in making young players dreams come true. If you know how great it feels to hold a jersey with your name on it in your hands, you can only figure that the feeling is magnified greatly when you are handed an NFL jersey with your name on it. This year the first pick went to the Arizona Cardinals and Kyler Murray was the recipient of the first pick jersey. As soon as his name was transmitted to the Nike Jersey Room, our team sprung into action, selecting the name from pre-cut two-color reverse-weeded Perma-Twill and pressing it on an Arizona Cardinals jersey. A season ticket holder from the Arizona Cardinals who won the opportunity to carry the jersey onstage presented it to Commissioner Goodell, who then presented it to Murray. And then the Nike & Stahls’ team was back on the clock for the next pick, and the next…until all 32 teams were finished with their first round draft picks. If you were watching the Draft on television, you may have even seen the Hotronix heat press in action, with Brent holding up a printed jersey in the opening credits. We are putting together some behind the scenes video that will be available next week so you can learn more about the process. For now, thanks to everyone who played a part in making this year run smoothly, including those team members at Stahls’ Decorating Fulfillment Center who did so much preparation work and everyone at Nike who made it happen.