Mike Wapniarski

Mike Wapniarski and Ahwatukee Trophy & Awards show the shadowbox the company team created for President Trump’s visit last week to a Honeywell plant in Phoenix.

 

An Ahwatukee trophy company earned a rare honor last week after it made shadow boxes with a medical-grade mask for President Trump’s visit to a Honeywell plant in Phoenix.

One of the five shadow boxes made by Ahwatukee Trophy & Awards at 4730 E. Warner Road, was personally presented to Trump during his appearance at the plant.

Ahwatukee Trophy owner Brian McHale said his business has had a long relationship with Honeywell, which, like many of the business’ corporate clients, often orders trophies and other memorabilia for employee award ceremonies and other occasions.

After Honeywell was notified of Trump’s desire to visit its plant, its vendor representative “reached out to us to begin the creative/artwork for these items to be presented,” McHale said.

“Having been in business here in Ahwatukee for over 25 years, we have had a longstanding relationship with the Honeywell organization,” he said.

The President wants to personally thank Honeywell for pivoting to produce sorely needed N95 medical masks for healthcare workers and first responders on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis.

“While Honeywell was sure they would give N95 masks to the President and distinguished visitors, they were unclear on how to formalize the presentation of these gifts,” McHale said. “We shared several options available to them and they selected the shadow box concept.”

With only a five-day lead time, McHale said, he and his team “worked diligently through the weekend” after starting the project April 30. They finished and delivered the shadowboxes on May 4 – the day before Trump’s arrival.

The masks are the first five masks produced on May 2, so Ahwatukee Trophy didn’t even have them till the weekend.

“We placed them over Styrofoam supports and added a full-color printed plate that “floated” on another piece of support material above the masks,” said McHale.

“Normally this type of award could take as little as a one-day turnaround with a rush status,” he said. “Due to the high-profile nature of this specific job, the creative, proof approvals required, production and delivery, this effort consumed a three-to-four-day period.”

McHale and his team did not attend the event.

“We certainly watched the televised presentation and we were proud to be part of this presidential award process,” he said.

The project was a welcome note of cheer for the business, which, like almost all other businesses, has been impacted by the pandemic.

“Since purchasing the business three years ago, Ahwatukee Trophies and Awards has grown revenues by more than 30 percent, with a specific focus on the corporate market,” said McHale. “In fact, February was our best month on record.”

But then the sky fell with business closures, impacting Ahwatukee Trophy’s core business – the corporate awards market.

“These orders came to a halt as companies and associations canceled all events and meetings and most employees worked from home,” McHale said.

To add injury, school closures and the virtual halt in organized sports activities also have impacted the business.

“Orders for our sports and end of year school awards –  Tempe Union, Kyrene School District and numerous external sports leagues – ceased with the suspension of all sports across the country,” McHale said.

“We did, however, immediately look for opportunities to support local businesses with sneeze/cough guards for both drive-thru and counter top acrylic guards,” McHale said. “This effort has really taken flight and has significantly improved our bottom line.”

Though its showroom has been closed under Gov. Doug Ducey’s executive orders – which were modified to allow customer visits as of last Friday – order production has continued, McHale said. 

“We shifted away from order pickup and instead have been delivering customer orders,” he said. “The immediate demand for sneeze guards, masks and other PPE needs has been a significant addition to our product offerings and has really supported a wide number of our local Ahwatukee businesses. 

“We’re still here after 25 years and we aren’t going anywhere.”

Information: ahwatukeetrophies.com or 480-785-5292

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