Friday, September 2, 2022

An Introduction to Vinyl Printing

 A signage and branding entrepreneur with more than two decades of experience, Mike Loftus serves as the president of MLE Merchandising and Sign Solutions in the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst, Illinois. Since founding the company in Elmhurst, IL, in 2002, Mike Loftus has overseen all final decisions on signage and vinyl printing.

Digital vinyl printing is copying a digital image onto a vinyl sheet. Vinyl is light, durable, works with many types of printers, and generates high-resolution images with quality dye. Companies often use printed vinyl products for indoor and outdoor promotion and marketing. Examples include stickers on vehicles and banners in exhibition spaces.

What makes vinyl printing appealing is its durability and affordability. Vinyl is waterproof and stands up to the adverse effects of extreme weather, from heat to cold. When combined with scratch-resistant ink, a printed vinyl banner or sign can remain in good condition outdoors for years. Depending on the digital printing technology, vinyl products can display photo-quality images. Vinyl products are cost-effective compared to several other digital printing techniques.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

How Directional Signage Works

 As the president of the Elmhurst, IL-based MLE Merchandising and Sign Solutions, Mike Loftus oversees the company's divisions, finances, and operations. The firm’s services also extend to the Chicago area. Products that MLE provides under Mike Loftus’s supervision includes interior and exterior signage for corporations, retailers and hospitality service providers throughout Elmhurst.

Wayfinding signs are a critical part of most facilities. They can be broken down into four types: identification, to label specific areas and features; directional, such as arrow signs; informational, which provide more details about a facility; and regulatory, which control access and enforce safety measures. Of these, directional signage can come in a variety of forms, often using icons and colors to expand the reach of their messaging.

Directional signs focus on guiding visitors and personnel to various areas in a facility. For instance, airport signs point travelers to different gates from where they can access their flights. This is particularly vital in a high-traffic area where most visitors are not familiar with the layout; the signage serves mapping purposes while people are on the go. These range from plaques with labels, to arrows on the floor or walls, to color-coordinated markings for certain needs.

One of the prerequisites of effective directional signage is that it is continuous. In a mall, for instance, a single arrow or sign directing one to the elevators or exit will not be sufficient as one navigates multiple corridors and corners. Placing multiple signs at visible locations along a route helps the user see whether or not they are on the right track.

Friday, July 22, 2022

What are Regulatory Signs?

 A resident of the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst, IL, Mike Loftus is a business leader with a career spanning two decades. He serves as the president of the Elmhurst-based company MLE Merchandising and Sign Solutions. Under Mike Loftus’ supervision, MLE has become a recognized provider of branding services, including printing, installation, and sign production.

Regulatory signs are a crucial part of organizing any service space, such as an airport, a factory, or a hospital. These are one of the four main categories of wayfinding signage and they primarily set boundaries and enforce safety and privacy measures. Such signs are generally bold, placed in highly visible locations, and unambiguously phrased, like a ‘Caution! High Voltage’ sign by a generator room or a ‘No Smoking’ sign at the entrance of and inside a restaurant.

A space needs regulatory signage if it is dealing with high-risk products or confidential information. Signs like ‘Employees Only’ and ‘Hard Hat Area’ demarcate where visitors are or aren’t allowed, and ensure that they can follow relevant safety instructions on-site, without needing full knowledge of the rules and regulations. They also control access and traffic, such as a ‘No Visitors after 7pm’ sign in a hospital. Even regular users of a space benefit from regulatory signage since one can implement instructions immediately instead of waiting on a company update, for instance. These also serve as liability protection in case someone does breach a restricted area or chooses not to comply with specified precautionary measures.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Safety Tips for Football

President of MLE Merchandising and Sign Solutions Inc. Mike Loftus is an experienced entrepreneur and executive. Mike Loftus oversees all operations at his company based in Elmhurst, Illinois. Away from work, he enjoys traveling and playing football.

Football is a fun game and engaging sport; however, it entails the risk of getting injured. Some injuries can lead to significant mental health issues later in life, making it essential to take extra care and adhere to basic safety rules.

When you get your body ready to play, you can reduce your risk of injury. This can be done by staying in shape during the off-season through aerobic, strength, and endurance sports that focus on strength and flexibility. In addition to basic fitness, sport-specific routines are equally helpful, as are sprints and drills with lateral movement. However, before you begin any drills, warm up with some modest aerobic activity to avoid getting hurt when practicing and reduce the possibility of injury.

Secondly, wearing safety gear such as helmets, shoulder pads, mouth guards, pants with leg pads will significantly reduce the risk of injuries. It is vital to make sure all equipment fits, is age- and size-appropriate, and is in good condition.

Finally, it is vital to maintain safe play during games by following safety regulations. Players should understand and adhere to the game's rules. If an opponent appears to be attempting to injure them on purpose, players ought to remain calm and let their coach and the referee know about the problem for them to handle it.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Brand Advertising Strategies

Chicago-based executive Mike Loftus serves as the president of MLE Merchandising & Sign Solutions, Inc., located in Elmhurst, Illinois. MLE, which is Mike Loftus Elmhurst company, concentrates on brand services. These services include but are not limited to interior/exterior signage production and installation and brand signs and advertising.

Advertising strategies are usually long-term plans whose purpose is to increase a brand's visibility and positive image in the market. The strategy can involve different media channels, such as paid ads, social media marketing, and video marketing.

Defining the brand's goals, values, and mission is necessary while developing an advertising strategy. Your brand's goals will help identify your target audience and enable you to establish an advertising campaign that'll reinforce this idea at every opportunity. However, a good brand's advertising strategy must consider the different audience segments that the brand appeals to; for example, Gillet is a men's shaving brand and their advertising campaigns cut across the various male age demographics.

Your campaign must showcase to the audience a problem your product can solve or how it'll improve some aspect of their lives, and it should do this directly and without unnecessary fuss. For example, Netflix markets itself as a streaming platform with something for everyone. This messaging creates in viewers' minds that it can meet their entertainment needs.

Making your campaign memorable either with a catchy jingle or a popular celebrity can go a long way, but highlighting your brand and what you have to offer should remain the focus of your campaign. Include a call to action either by offering a discount on products or offering special offers as incentives.

The key to having a solid advertising strategy with a lasting impact is using the information gotten from the initial campaign to improve subsequent campaigns while maintaining the brand identity.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Chicago Bears Sign Veteran Tight End Jimmy Graham

Since launching Elmhurst, IL-based MLE Merchandising & Sign Solutions in 2002, Mike Loftus has grown the brand services company to achieve annual revenue exceeding $40 million. Outside of his work at MLE Merchandising & Sign Solutions, Mike Loftus enjoys following his favorite National Football League (NFL) team, the Chicago Bears.

The Bears top tight end receiver in terms of production in 2019 was Jesper Horsted, who finished 53rd league wide with 14.5 yards per game. Moreover, its leading receiver at the position in terms of total yards, J.P. Holtz, ranked 69th league wide with only 91 receiving yards. In an attempt to address its lack of production from the position, the Bears signed veteran tight end Jimmy Graham to a two-year, $16 million contract on March 16.

In 2019, Graham had the least productive year of his career except for his rookie season in 2010 but still ranked 18th among NFL tight ends with 447 receiving yards. Chicago's six tight ends only combined for 416 receiving yards in 2019.

A five-time Pro Bowl tight end, Graham was selected by the New Orleans Saints in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft. The 10-year veteran registered a career-best mark in yards in 2011 (1,310) and posted a career-high in touchdowns in 2013 (16). Through 153 regular-season games, he has 7,883 receiving yards and 74 touchdowns.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Responsibilities of a Cub Scout Den Leader

Mike Loftus is the president of MLE Merchandising and Sign Solutions, a provider of turnkey solutions for large-scale renovation, installation, and signage projects. Beyond his work for MLE in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, Mike Loftus serves as a Cub Scout den leader. 

Cub Scout leaders work directly with scouts, their parents, and other den leaders and pack leaders to carry out scouting activities and ensure the success of their dens. The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) defines a den as a group of six to eight boys of similar grade level who meet multiple times a month between larger division meetings, called pack meetings. 

A den leader’s responsibilities include planning and conducting meetings, attending pack meetings, and leading their dens during monthly pack activities. Leaders also help scouts with the transition to a den of the next rank at the end of each year.

To become a Cub Scout den leader, applicants must be at least 21 years old and receive a recommendation from the Cubmaster after meeting with the parents of scouts in a den. Potential leaders must register with the BSA and obtain approval from the local pack committee and chartered organization.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Nico Hoerner Highlights Cubs 2018 MLB Draft Class

Mike Loftus is an entrepreneur who founded Elk Grove Village, Illinois' MLE Merchandising & Sign Solutions in 2002 and has since led the company past the $25 million revenue mark with more than 100 people employed in 14 states. Outside of his responsibilities with MLE, Mike Loftus is a passionate sports fan who counts the Chicago Cubs as his favorite Major League Baseball (MLB) team.

The 2018 MLB Amateur Draft was held in early June and the Cubs added 42 players, 28 of which were out of college, while the remaining 14 players were drafted out of high school. With its first-round pick, the team selected Stanford shortstop Nico Hoerner, who is regarded as a contact hitter with good patience at the plate. In his last season with the team, Hoerner recorded a .345 batting average to go along with 2 home runs and 40 runs batted in. He also had 17 doubles and 6 triples to go along with 20 walks and 22 strikeouts.

Chicago used its next two picks to add high school players Brennen Davis, an outfielder from Basha High School in Arizona, and Cole Roederer, an outfielder from Hart High School in California. The team rounded out its top five selections with University of San Diego right-handed pitcher Paul Richan and Duke outfielder Jimmy Herron.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Chicago Bears Hire Former Chiefs Offensive Coordinator as Head Coach

Mike Loftus is the founder, owner, and president of MLE, Inc., a nationally recognized brand services company based in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. When he's not busy with his responsibilities at MLE, Mike Loftus enjoys following the Chicago Bears.

Following a disappointing 2017 season in which the team finished 5-11, the Chicago Bears announced on January 8 that they had hired Matt Nagy as head coach. Nagy replaced John Fox who was let go one week prior to the announcement.

Nagy previously served as offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs. Under his direction, the team finished fifth overall in offense over the 2017 NFL season. Nagy’s offensive prowess was particularly apparent after the Chiefs head coach, Andy Reid, handed him play-calling duties with five games remaining in the regular reason. During this time, scoring jumped by 10 points per game, and Kansas City finished 4-1.

Nagy looks to bring similar results to the Bears team who finished last in passing in 2017. His efforts will notably involve developing quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who is entering his second year in 2018.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Expansion of NCAA March Madness Field Remains a Possibility

For more than 15 years, Mike Loftus has led operations at MLE Merchandising and Sign Solutions, Inc., in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, as company president. Beyond his work at MLE, Mike Loftus enjoys following professional and collegiate sports, including the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament.

In 2010, the NCAA opted to expand March Madness from 65 to 68 teams through a series of play-in games. The organization had considered expanding the field to 96 teams as part of a 14-year deal with CBS and Turner Broadcasting, valued at nearly $11 billion, but the concept was met with derision from coaches and fans alike. The smaller 2010 expansion was the first since 2001, when the field grew from 64 to 65 teams.

However, the current broadcast deal continues to provide the NCAA with the option of expanding the tournament at any point, and the attraction of a 96-team field, which would mean more games and increased participation at college campuses around the nation, remains on the table. Critics, meanwhile, point out that expanding to 96 or 128 teams renders the conference tournaments, which are currently very competitive and dramatic, essentially pointless, as virtually every moderately talented team in the nation would qualify for March Madness. 

For now, the NCAA has no immediate plans for growing the tournament outside of continuing to televise every game over the course of the competition, though a middle ground, such adding four more teams for a total of 72 colleges, might be an option.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Five Ways Pets Improve Mental Health

Mike Loftus is an Illinois-based entrepreneur who founded MLE Merchandising & Sign Solutions in 2002, and has since expanded its operations across 14 states. Outside of work, MLE's Mike Loftus has several pets at home, including two Great Danes. 

Studies have shown that owning a pet is good for your health. Here are five ways pets can improve your well-being.

1. They can decrease stress levels.
Grooming and touching a pet can be comforting and calming, which stimulates the release of oxytocin, a hormone that reduces blood pressure, anxiety, and tension. Oxytocin also suppresses cortisol, a hormone released in response to stress.

2. They provide a distraction from issues that are bothering you.
Spending time with your pet helps to keep you in the present moment and prevents you from dwelling too much on negative issues.

3. They can reduce feelings of loneliness.
Pets make good company and are often intuitive enough to seek you out when they recognize you are feeling sad.

4. They offer unconditional love.
Pets are happy to be with you just as you are and don’t pass judgment.

5. They give meaning to your life.
Caring for a pet gives you a purpose and allows you to reduce your focus on yourself.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Chicago Cubs Sign Pitcher Brandon Morrow to a Two-Year Deal

For over 15 years, Mike Loftus has served as the president of MLE Merchandising and Sign Solutions (dba MLE, Inc.), a brand-services company based in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. Outside of work, Mike Loftus enjoys boating, grilling, and watching sports. He roots for several professional and college teams, including the Chicago Cubs. 

The Chicago Cubs have added some pitching depth to their 2018 lineup by signing Brandon Morrow to a two-year deal. Morrow, who played for the Dodgers in 2017, had an impressive showing against the Chicago Cubs when the two teams met for the 2017 National League Championship Series. He finished the 2017 season with a 2.06 earned-run average in 45 games. 

The 33-year-old Morrow is entering his 12th season in the majors. In college, he played at the University of California, Berkley, before debuting in his first major league game with the Seattle Mariners. Morrow later pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays and the San Diego Padres prior to his one-year stint in Los Angeles. The right-handed reliever boasts a career ERA of 4.05 in 299 appearances.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Cubs Sign Left-Handed Pitcher Dario Alvarez

The recipient of a bachelor's degree in business administration from Winona State University, Mike Loftus founded MLE Merchandising & Sign Solutions in 2002 with $40,000 and has since grown it into a comprehensive branding company with annual revenue exceeding $25 million. When he isn't working to further grow MLE, Mike Loftus enjoys following his favorite Major League Baseball (MLB) team, the Chicago Cubs.

The Cubs' relief pitchers combined last season to post a 3.80 earned run average (ERA), which was sixth-best in the 30-team MLB, but the team is already attempting to improve its depth for the 2018 season. On December 1, the team signed left-handed relief pitcher Dario Alvarez to a one-year contract. A 28-year-old native of the Dominican Republic, Alvarez recorded an impressive 2.76 ERA in 16.33 innings last season with the Texas Rangers. He also registered 17 strikeouts, but displayed pitch location issues with his slider that led to 14 walks. Despite being atop the ERA leader board last season, the Cubs relievers allowed a combined 264 walks, which was fifth-most in the league.

The hope is that Alvarez's struggles with pitch location in 2017 were just a blip as he has had good command of his pitches in the past. Prior to the 2017 season, he pitched in a combined 31.66 innings with the Rangers, New York Mets, and Atlanta Braves and allowed only 8 walks.