Media1's Dale Salamacha Finishes the Story of the Truly Nolen Sign
Dale’s June column provided backstory about how Truly Nolen, a prominent pest-control company, grew – and how its dedication to unconventional branding influenced Truly Nolen to hire Media1 (M1) to transform an expanded-polystyrene globe into a supersized depiction of Planet Earth.
Returning to our discussion about the globe’s fabrication, the globe’s 12-ft.-diameter, 24-ft.-deep outer ring features 100% aluminum construction that’s fabricated in two, 6 x 12-ft., arched sections that were eventually bolted together to form one giant ring. The text on both sides of the ring was CNC router- cut and backed with white and yellow translucent acrylic.
Because the frame is 2 ft. deep, we opted to light this section with double-sided Sylvania Box LEDs, which we obtained from N. Glantz & Sons. Using Sylvania’s installation-grid system, M1 quickly snapped modules into the track in the ring’s center. It dispersed even light to both sides of the copy. Once the paint department had finished decorating the globe, fabricator Steve Pass used our tree stand to bolt each side of the ring encircling the globe into place.
Next, we built the subframes that secured the equator and prime-meridian lines. The subframes spanned 12 ft. in diameter, circumnavigating the globe’s center. These frames were supposed to be constructed from 3-in. square tubing – an easy job for our tube-bending equipment. However, the engineering specs supplied by Sullaway Engineering called for rigid, hefty tubing that couldn’t be rolled without crushing it. Steve realized we would need to manually fabricate these frames – a much more difficult task.
After a complex process of kerf cutting, bending, gluing and welding, we’d completed the frames and sent them on to our paint department.
Meanwhile, M1 installers dug to construct the sign’s massive, 11 x 11 x 6-ft.-deep footer. The excavation proceeded ahead of schedule. However, in Florida, a foundation hole must be inspected before concrete can be poured. We typically dig the footer, drop in plywood forms and schedule inspection for as early as possible the following day. And, we pray for no rain. We had no such luck with this huge hole; it rained buckets overnight.
When we met the inspector the next morning, the hole had grown into a small sinkhole underneath the parking lot. It was in danger of swallowing up parking spaces! In panic mode, we spent the rest of the day backfilling the hole, reforming the footer size and rescheduling the inspection. We eventually dodged a crisis, but we lost valuable field time.
Our next job involved setting the 12-in. x 15-ft. base pole into the footer. After $4,000 worth of concrete was poured, we set the pole to rise 10 ft. above ground. Then, we installed the next 8-ft.-tall, 8-in.-diameter pole section pole down and welded it into place.
So, we now had an 18-ft.-long pole set in place, and the final section of pipe would be secured inside the globe at the shop, so we could set the entire globe at once and minimize field time.
Back at M1, painters were done decorating all the sign sections, and the production crew was ready to assemble it. Using a forklift and a 12 x 22-ft. section of 3M™ Panaflex™ flexible-face material we had lying around the shop, we fashioned what we called “The Diaper,” and gently cradled the freshly painted globe inside it.
After lifting it 20 ft. in the air, we carefully slid it onto the actual 8-in. x 12-ft. mounting pole (which was also temporarily made into a Christmas tree stand). Once the globe was firmly in place, we began bolting the subframes and the outer ring onto the mounting pole. Then, we attached the mouse-logo cans onto the subframe rings. This seemed like it would be a hassle, but with excellent fabrication planning, all holes (except one) fit effortlessly and bolted together neatly like a puzzle.
A happy ending (except for pests)
The morning of the install, we recruited Bruce Lowie from Electronic Sign Systems – and his 54-ft.-reach bucket truck – to help us lift the giant globe onto the pole, while our guys welded it together from underneath in one of our trucks. However, we did encounter a small problem – the sign’s diameter measures 12 ft., and our shop’s roll-up door spans slightly over 11 ft. We’d neglected to check. So, with help from 12 employees, our forklift and our bucket truck, we were able to tilt the sign at an angle that enabled us to just barely slide it out the door. Whew, now we’d averted a second crisis.
Well behind the day’s schedule at this point, we hoped the rest of the day would go smoothly. We set the globe on a flatbed trailer, strapped it down and carefully navigated our way down I-4 to the jobsite. Bucket trucks ahead of and behind the trailer escorted the sign. At the jobsite, dozens of Truly Nolen employees awaited the first look at their company’s new sign.
Fortunately, once at the jobsite, we raised the globe 24 ft. in the air and gently slid it into the existing pole structure, welded it in place and wired the sign into its electric circuit. The day turned out to be a great success; the installers left the shop around 10:30 in the morning and were back by early afternoon.
Truly Nolen’s trademarked slogan is “Night, night, termite.” Similarly, we were proud to put to bed a sign which sets a high branding standard and visually reinforces the company’s global scale.
On June 12, Orlando fell victim to the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman in U.S. history when Omar Mateen killed 49 people and injured more than 50 more at the Pulse nightclub. For those of us who live in the area, this wasn’t a headline from a horrible event half a world away; this impacted our community. My wife Christy and I are friends with the Pomas, Pulse’s owners, so this appalling event impacted us on a personal level.
Our community has stood together, determined not to let the evil in this world put a cloud over what is known as The Happiest Place on Earth!
As a local business for nearly 35 years, we knew we had to take action to help others show their support for Orlando. Media1’s management team decided to reach out to the community by distributing free magnets and bumper stickers that featured a positive message in response to the shooting’s horror.
An endless stream of supporters came through our doors. They shared stories, donated money for the One Orlando Fund, which provides financial support to victims of the Pulse shooting and their families, and proudly displayed their unwavering support for Orlando!
It’s a struggle to find the words that adequately describe our great sense of sadness and loss. This is our community, and we feel a great sense of loss. However, I think it is important to spread as much positivity and happiness as possible. We will continue to lend our love and support to our local LGBT community.
Thus far, Media1 and Wrap This! have donated 4,500 bumper stickers and magnets, and raised more than $1,300 for the One Orlando Fund. We’re grateful for the support we’ve received, and are proud to support our community as, together, we recover from this crisis.