Director of R & D and Technical Services
As Director of R & D and Technical Services at GPA, Mike Blanco provides customers with world-class technical support to take the guesswork out of running any GPA substrate on press and to maximize their investment in HP Indigo technology. At the same time, he ensures that GPA’s products that have been engineered for HP Indigo presses pass stringent guidelines to guarantee outstanding performance.
To help GPA’s substrates achieve optimal press performance, Mike manages many variables while pairing proprietary coatings with unique substrates. He works closely with GPA’s Product Directors and Business Development Managers, in addition to HP Indigo Production Operators to ensure that GPA’s products meet the highest quality standards in the industry. Thanks to his efforts, GPA’s customers can run a wider variety of substrates on their HP Indigo equipment with greater confidence, consistency,and profitability.
Since joining the company,Mike has proven to be a one-of-a-kind asset for GPA’s customers and internal team. He travels the country collaborating with customers and providing hands-on press training, and has traveled to Israel to learn more about the latest HP Indigo press technology. Mike played an instrumental role in facilitating the certification of GPA’s HP Indigo media portfolio, and implemented GPA’s Substrate Evaluation Center program to enhance the company’s research and development capabilities.
He was also the driving force behind the launch of GPA’s Technical Community, which includes videos, blogs and e-newsletters intended to provide GPA’s customers with substrate tips, troubleshooting techniques, and other valuable information. Mike was presented with GPA’s 2013 President’s Award just a year after joining the company; the award is presented to one employee each year for high levels of achievement in promoting GPA's corporate goals throughout the year, and for unselfishly and consistently going beyond the call of duty.
Mike’s experience in the printing industry started in 1987, when he began working for Finlay Printing in Bloomfield, CT. He spent 24 years at Finlay doing everything from proofing, film stripping and contacting, and electronic pre-press. He went on to serve as an HP Indigo press operator and digital print supervisor, where he acquired his practical experience working with HP Indigo technology. After Finlay, Mike worked for Integrity Graphics as a Digital Print Specialist, then made a life changing decision to leave the production end of the printing industry and pursue an area of the business he was passionate about: educating and sharing his knowledge with others. He joined GPA in 2012 as a Technical Support Specialist and immediately made a positive impact on the company and our customers. In 2013 he was promoted to the position of Director of Technical Services, and in 2015 Mike took on additional responsibilities for his current position.
To achieve his current level of proficiency, Mike has had extensive training on HP Indigo press technology throughout the years. He has taken many HP Indigo classes, including instruction on front end tools, production management, as well as operator and shared maintenance training for series I, II, III, and most recently completed operator training on the HP Indigo 10000 press. Mike has been actively involved in the Dscoop (Digital Solutions Cooperative) community since its inception attending each and every conference. He served as an Operations Committee member from 2005-2012, and was the Operations Committee Chairman from 2011-2012.
Outside of the printing industry, Mike served his community as a volunteer fire fighter and EMT from 1994 through 2011 as a member of the Colchester Hayward Volunteer Fire Company. Mike and 40 brothers of the CHFD and neighboring towns spend two days immediately following the terrorists attack in New York City on 9/11 2001, aiding in rescue efforts at Ground Zero. Beyond his volunteer firefighting experience, he has given back to the community in additional ways. As part of his 9/11 relief efforts, Mike designed a memorial decal that raised $40,000 for the Firefighters 9/11 Disaster Relief Fund, and also created a decal to benefit the victims at Sandy Hook Elementary. Beyond the printing industry, Mike has completed training and certification for the state of Connecticut firefighter level II, EMT and hazardous materials.