What I Should Have Said

Geoff Welch accepting the Business of the Year Award from the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce on behalf of Date-Line Digital PrintingThe salad, while lovely, was far too complicated for my tastes and I was busy simplifying it when I started to get the distinct impression I might be about to accept an award.

The annual meeting of the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce was in full swing and Executive Director Lisa Herbert had just begun extolling the virtues of the company that was about to be named as their Business of the Year. I immediately noticed some similarities to Date-Line Digital Printing and quickly lost interest in editing my salad. As the preamble went on my friends around the table started to look at me, silently mouthing “is it you?”, and then people on the stage started shooting me goofy grins.

I began to feel more and more sure that Date-Line might actually be the subject of her remarks, but it was too dangerous to give myself over to actual belief. In just 60 seconds I had gone from having no idea we were even nominated, to feeling like I would be crushed if this description turned out to be for another business. Lisa finally uttered the words “Thanks Fairbanks,” the moniker of our labor of love, and there was no other explanation.

I walked to the stage and was, for once in my life, clueless about what to say. I had spent the last few minutes in disbelief that Date-Line might actually be the winner and I felt completely unprepared for the moment. I believe my remarks demonstrated how humbled and appreciative I was to be accepting such an honor on behalf of a company of which I am very proud, but they were incomplete.

What I failed to do was give proper credit to two very important groups of people and I want to correct that now. I’m limiting it to these two groups of people because if I tried to account for everyone who deserved to be thanked I would likely break the Internet.

This award does not belong to Travis and I…

It belongs to our employees Rhonda Beal, Bridget Frazier, and Melissa Wood, because they made it possible. Their dedication and perseverance are what make Date-Line a remarkable place for our customers to do business and I hope they recognize how instrumental they are in the success of our little enterprise. They should be incredibly proud of this award because it’s their fault.

And it belongs to our customers. We don’t get to do our great work without them and we are keenly aware of that fact. Serving people well matters a great deal to us and it is our distinct pleasure to interact with some of the most amazing human beings in Fairbanks. We hope that each of our customers feels a sense of pride in knowing they contributed to our receiving this recognition. We are beyond thankful to them for choosing us and for being the kind of people we are dying to impress every single day.

That barely scratches the surface of how I feel, but it’s the best I can do with a computer.

Thank you.


  1. Congratulaitons, guys! This award is obviously very wel deserved. I just want to say that you are also a pleasure to deal with as a vendor/partner and it’s fun to see your innovative ways of delivering a great product to your customers, while maintaining a great sense of self. You are a role model and benchmark for others to emulate.
    Wayt to go… and Merry Christmas to you all! -Bryan

  2. Geoff Welch says:

    Thank you Bryan! It has always been our pleasure to work with you and we hope you are well. gw

  3. Kent Taylor says:

    I didn’t want the cat to get out of the bag but I nominated you. We’ll not really but your team is the most wonderful customer I’ve ever worked with. If you treat your customers the way you treat me, then
    Its no wonder you were presented this award. Congrats to you and your staff.

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