Tag Archives: Business

It’s Your Business: The Astech Safety Net

By Sandra Zunino

astech300When it comes to providing peace of mind with a local touch, Chester-based Astech Security presents an array of security services to protect home and family.

Astech Sales Associate and former Queen Anne’s County Commissioner George O’Donnell insists there is no comparison to the superior service given by a local security business over a national company. Having worked for both, he says local companies impart friendlier customer service and the highest level of communication.

George worked for Choptank Security for 11 years before national AiG Security purchased the company. When he met with Astech Security owner Nick Miller, he realized they had the same philosophy – the customer always comes first.

“It’s like returning home,” he says. Astech Security has been providing service to the Delmarva Peninsula from Northern Virginia to Ocean City for 27 years.

Astech offers security solutions for commercial, industrial and residential applications using the best equipment available to the industry for monitored security systems, CCTV video surveillance, fire safety, access control and intercom capabilities.

“We have the ability to monitor off premise for intrusion, fire, low temperatures, CO, propane and even flooding,” George explains. Today’s equipment is so sophisticated clients can access their system when away from the site through telephone or computer.

Offering affordability and versatility, Astech can customize hardwired and wireless systems to the specific needs of the customer starting with a basic, reasonably priced package and adding on from there.

“One advantage of wireless is the ease of upgrading equipment and applications to meet the ever-changing needs of the customer,” says George.

Senior citizens at risk for fall or other medical emergencies can utilize the Astech medical button. Activating this small wireless device can provide instant 2-way voice communication to a central station, or automatically dispatch medical professionals in an emergency. One Astech client tributes the button for saving his life. He awoke in a hospital unaware that he had even pushed it. Unfortunately, fall victims have waited helplessly for days before rescue.

“Security is all about providing protection 24-hours a day whether you need it or not,” says George.

Astech’s high-end equipment comes with a sustainable warranty and is installed by in-house technicians. “We don’t think the best was to support the two most important things in your life – your home and family, is to go cheap,” George says.

Astech provides free security evaluations and recommendations and will upgrade existing systems from other companies. Emergency 24-hour monitoring from a station in Silver  Spring ensures a speedy, reliable reaction from experienced responders. “We have found in some instances locality of the station provides a distinct advantage to responding to emergency situations,” says George.

With three operators in Astech’s office to take calls during business hours, clients are assured of personal service. As an additional touch, Astech stays on top of local police warnings and makes clients aware of threats specific to their neighborhoods.

“Unfortunately, because of the economy, crime in the area is on the rise,” George warns. “Whatever you want to protect, we have the ability to protect it. We provide peace of mind.”

For more information about Astech Security’s services, call 410-643-3611, 410-758-1915 or 1-800-776-1515 or visit www.astechsecurity.com.

Meet Your Neighbor: Time to Follow the Magic

By Sandra Zunino

Pamela Bishop exhibits her designs annually at the Surtex art licensing trade show in New York

When artist Pamela Bishop of Oxford decided to embrace her passion for painting, she was following the magic of her own imagination.

Follow The Magic is Pamela’s art licensing business. Licensed art appears on greeting cards, fabrics, paper napkins, puzzles, calendars, baby bedding, etc. While artists typically use their own name for their design businesses, Pamela went with the suggestion of Follow The Magic. “I thought it had a nice ring to it,” she says. “It’s nice to have a bit of magic in everyone’s lives.”

The name also suited Pamela’s art style. “I started out painting pictures involving the imaginary life of children such as fairies, elves, things like that,” she says. Because of the innocent simplicity of Pamela’s colorful characters and playful scenery, her designs have appeared on baby bedding and advent calendars among others.

Born in London, Pamela started her career as a dancer for stage and television in London, Monte Carlo, Italy, France and Las Vegas. Painting was just a hobby. When her husband Jack suggested she leave her retail job and purse her passion for painting, she jumped at the chance. “I’m fortunate that I have a wonderful husband,” she says.

Pamela’s took art lessons with Barbara Jablin of the Traveling Brushes local women’s art group. “I was an untrained artist,” she admits. “She really improved my art tremendously.”

After setting up her studio, Pamela investigated art licensing procedures and decided to attend New York’s Surtex art licensing trade show that takes every May. At Surtex, artists exhibit their work while representatives from big corporations such as Hallmark and American Greetings scout for new designs and talent.

“The first year I just walked it,” she says. “It is massive!”  The following year, after meeting the exhibiting requirements, she participated in the three-day show.

“That was dreadful,” she recalls. “I didn’t get any work.” By the next year; however, people started introducing themselves and doors began to open. Now Pamela’s client list includes Pickaberry and Champton, Vermont Christmas Company and Print Concepts.

Company representatives articulate their vision and Pamela creates detailed sketches for approval. When the final drafts are agreed upon, she paints the pictures using gouache and watercolor. She then scans the artwork using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator for modifications and sends the company the final product in a TIFF format.

While Pamela says, she would like to spend all her time painting, the business-running aspect of art licensing keeps her busy. Currently, she receives a flat rate for her designs, but in the future plans to get an advance and royalties. Her advent calendars are best sellers worldwide and two more designs have been approved for next year.

Advent calendars began in 19th Century Germany, where children drew chalk lines or hung pictures to mark the days in anticipation of Christmas. Some designs are religious, featuring bible text, while others are secular, with familiar poems such as “Twas the Night before Christmas.”

Pamela will be signing some of her magical Christmas Advent Calendars at Temptations stationery and gift shop in Easton this Friday from 2:00 to 4:00 and this Saturday, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. She will answer questions and explain the process of creating the calendars from inspiration to finished product.

For more information about Pamela’s designs, visit www.followthemagic.com.