Irvine, California-based Roland DG, a global manufacturer of wide-format inkjet printers and 3D printing devices, announces the winner of its “Discover Roland/Explore Africa” contest.
The company says that former Bosnian war refugee and current Arizona sign shop owner Mladen Mirkovic is the grand-prize winner in Roland’s contest, and for his effort he will enjoy an all-expenses paid, luxury African sightseeing safari for two.
According to Roland, Mirkovic’s family was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and was forced to flee the war in 1992, eventually emigrating to Phoenix. Following school, a passion for advertising and printing led him to purchase a plotter and open his own sign shop, Custom Graphix Signworks LLC. Initially, Roland says, Mirkovic focused on vehicle graphics but was eager to do more. The purchase of a Roland VersaCAMM SP540V printer/cutter opened the door to producing banners, window graphics, decals, and magnetic signs. Two years later, he added a SOLJET PRO III XJ-740 printer to keep up with production.
“To participate in the global contest,” says Eli Keersmaekers, Roland DG president of global sales and marketing, “entrants had to schedule a personal product demonstration with an authorized Roland DG dealer and then write a short description of what they learned about the Roland inkjet device. Based on a review of entries from around the world, Mirkovic was the clear winner.”
Mirkovic was considering purchasing a new piece of equipment and was researching on the Roland website when he learned about the contest and decided to enter. A demonstration of a VersaUV LEJ-640 UV hybrid/flatbed printer from local Roland dealer Toryon Technologies inspired Mirkovic to write his winning entry: “I discovered the Roland VersaUV LEJ-640 hybrid printer, a machine that will open the door to new opportunities and discoveries. This printer will allow me print directly to substrates, eliminating additional labor as well as the cost of vinyl media and application tape. I also discovered new ways to profit and save. Roland will always help me discover new ventures for my sign business.”
Mirkovic, now 37, says he remembers watching National Geographic as a child with his father and dreaming of taking his dad on an African safari one day. “My dad was always there for me, bringing us to the USA so we could start a normal life, enjoy the freedom and endless possibilities. He is my true hero!”
That dream is now a reality. The 11-day tour includes stays at three South African parks known for their wide variety of wildlife. According to Mandy Francis-Pope, tour coordinator at Venture To Africa, Mirkovic and his father will have an excellent opportunity to observe hundreds of birds and exotic animals during day and nighttime game drives with a ranger and tracker, while enjoying stays in luxury accommodations. “There’s a good chance they’ll get to see the ‘Big 5’—lions, leopards, African elephants, Cape buffalo and both black and white rhinos—in their natural habitat,” says Francis-Pope.