Category Archives: Custom Awards and Plaques

A custom plaque is better than a trophy.

Custom designed championship plaque for the 2012 Birger Solberg track invitational

 A custom designed plaque makes a better award than a trophy.

Custom awards and trophies
Dominic Urbano – Owner

There few things worse than trying to reward high achievement with a low end trophy. The quality of the award will be seen as a direct reflection of how much the event organizer values the achievement of the teams or individuals. Putting together an awards table that does an event and the recipients justice is a key component to successful event organization. Custom laser engraved plaques allow event organizers to do this without breaking the budget and have greater display potential than a trophy.

An award that is presented to a team or athlete at the end of a competition serves multiple purposes. If there is an awards table at the event, it serves as an incentive to achieve. Athletes and coaches see the award prior to the competition and imagine that they will be the ones who will be holding it at the end of the day. That awards table sends a clear message to participants as to how much they are valued. At the time of presentation the award will be hoisted above heads and passed around as a symbol of victory. It will be given at moments of high emotion and should enhance or add to the emotion of the moment.  A ‘run of the mill’ or ‘cheap’ award can quickly deflate what should be a high moment for an event.  In the end it becomes a banner advertisement for the event that is taken with the victor to be displayed.

Custom plaques do a superior job of enhancing an event and have a much greater display potential.  A trophy take up too much space to display well after they leave the event awards table. They tend to get in the way and are invariably relegated to storage soon after being won. Plaques are put on the wall and displayed almost indefinitely. The large surface area of a plaque allows for better display of event graphics and achievement details. Laser engraved plaques and awards are particularly good because of the infinite design possibilities, high contrast lettering, and variable material options.

A custom designed plaque becomes a one of a kind award that will set your event apart from others. While today’s trophy catalogs are full of well designed base award options, they are nonetheless, still “run of the mill”.  Adding your logo and text to a run of the mill base trophy does not change the fact that it will still look basically the same as anyone else who has chosen that item from the catalog.  Using a laser engraved plaque for your event awards allows for complete customization at prices that are often less than the basic trophies. Since 2001, Gold Medal Productions has been designing and building custom awards with both the customer and recipient in mind. Contact Gold Medal Productions.

Photo by Dominic Urbano

Better laser engraved awards… on a budget.

Hard practice and high achievement deserves a trophy or plaque that is worthy of the accomplishment. Don't insult the effort and accomplishment with run of the mill awards.
Hard practice and high achievement deserves a trophy or plaque that is worthy of the accomplishment. Don’t insult the effort and accomplishment with run of the mill awards.

Custom Laser Engraved Awards & Plaques…

The idea for my custom laser engraving business started when I was looking for something special to present to my 1999 Washington State girls cross country championship team. It was a tremendous amount of work and a stellar team performance that put those girls on top of the podium at the State Championships and I wanted to make sure that they had something to take with them that was worthy of that accomplishment. I didn’t find anything. I don’t recall what I did present at our awards banquet… but I know it was not good enough.

The state championship trophy would be placed into the school trophy case and a banner would hang high in the gym as the school claimed yet another victory to sell to future generations… but the young women who did the real work… for whom that championship meant the world… what did they get? The fact that I don’t even remember says something.

We ended up winning three state cross country championships in a row. I was in the same bind at the end of the second season. Nobody was offering any custom awards that would both fit my budget and do justice to the great accomplishment of yet another state championship. I started researching the problem… determined not to let it happen again.

In 2001 our team went undefeated and a third state championship banner was raised, and another state trophy was squeezed into the case. This time I was ready. Over the previous year I had started my laser engraving business. Combining my background in graphic design with a burning desire to make sure that athletes who have earned an award get one that they are proud to have, I made the plaques for my 2001 state championship team myself.

While it is usually the coach who is my customer… it is the recipient of the award that I am thinking of while I work. This was and continues to be the foundation of Gold Medal Productions. While the business has grown to include industrial laser engraving and marking as well as the custom laser engraved awards, I believe that quality does not have to cost a fortune. That any coach who wants better awards for their athletes, despite tough budgets, should be able to get them. They shouldn’t be forced into crummy awards or run of the mill trophies. The recipient of a trophy or plaque deserves better. No bobble heads!

Commercial Photography by Dominic Urbano

Laser engraving the Washington State Cross Country Hall of Fame Awards

Custom awards and trophies  The Washington State Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame awards. It is my favorite set of plaques to make each year. I just shipped the laser engraved and laser marked plaques off to the WSCCCA for presentation to this years inductees. They are beautiful plaques, made with a combination of laser cut stainless steel and laser engraved hardwood, but the real reason they are special for me is my own history with the sport of cross country. For 13 years I coached high school cross country. First at Naselle HS and then at Mt. Baker HS. For 13 years I spent the first weekend in November with my athletes at the Washington State XC championships. It was always an amazing weekend of working with my teams, connecting with other coaches from around the state, and of course witnessing the great races.

It was my Mt. Baker girls state championship team in 1999 that inspired me to start this business. I wanted to present them with something special at our awards banquet. I searched and searched and was ultimately disappointed with the run of the mill trophies and plaques that were available. Long story short… I did my research and given my background in graphic design I purchased a top of the line laser engraving and cutting machine and started making custom plaques and trophies.

Washington coaches hall of fame awards

The 2011 Washington State Cross Country Hall of Fame plaques ready to ship. Solid hardwood with laser cut stainless steel.

In 2001 I was honored by the WSCCCA as the Washington State Girls Cross Country Coach of the Year. One of the greatest honors I have ever received. A very proud moment. The WSCCCA presented me with a very nice… but run of the mill… plaque. Really, it was nice… but I immediately knew that I could do better. Just like my state championship teams I wanted future award recipients to walk away from the award ceremony with a trophy or plaque that was every bit worthy of the high honor that it was being presented for. I have had the honor of designing and laser engraving these awards ever since.

So… hats off to Patty Ley, Joe Stewart, Bill Kemp, and Ross Thomas. I hope that these plaques are worthy of the great honor.

Photography by Dominic Urbano

Washington State Cross Country Coaches Association member discount…

Members of the Washington State Cross Country Coaches Association (WSCCCA) get a 10% discount on all cross country award orders. It does not matter if the order is for team or event awards. The discount applies to anything that the WSCCCA member orders.

In the 13 years that I spent as a cross country coach in Washington state (Naselle and Mt. Baker High Schools) I learned to admire the work that the  WSCCCA was continuously doing on behalf of the sport. While the sport of running cross country is as pure a form of competition as there is, the politics of sport do exist and need to be attended to. The WSCCCA continuously watches out for and campaigns for the interest of the coaches and athletes.

While I have since left both the teaching and coaching profession, my admiration for the people who continue to care for the sport that I love has never waned. I started this business because I felt that my cross country athletes deserved better awards and recognition products than what I was able to find at ‘typical’ awards and trophy stores. While the business has grown and I am now filling orders from all over the world… my roots will always be firmly grounded in the great sport of cross country.

Click here for more information on the WSCCCA.


Dominic Urbano

Moving forward with a new laser engraving cutting marking web site…

Custom laser engraving cutting marking. Gold Medal Productions gets a new web site.

Laser engraving cutting marking
Much of my work in creating custom ‘laser engraved awards’ doesn’t use the laser at all. Time consuming customized work that is done by hand is what sets my custom awards apart.

At long last the Gold Medal Productions web site is getting an overhaul! The goal is to create a site the does a better job of showcasing the custom nature of my business. Over the years I have refined the laser engraving cutting and marking business to serve clients who are seeking truly customized  laser product. A leaner site that encourages potential customers to imaging the possibilities that my service might bring and to contact me to discuss how we can take their product or project to an entirely different level.  It is actually a bit of a challenge to communicate that message to potential new clients. The  industry is glutted with standardized high volume laser production. Some of which is astronomically priced. I  have developed a unique niche working with each client to create a custom solution for each event and keeping the prices at or below what others are charging for standard product.

I never loose site of the fact that what I create will become an important in ways that go well beyond the budget for creating it. Plaques will be held high in celebration, take a victory lap with a team, held tight with excited jubilation, and ultimately be displayed with pride for many many years. An industrial marking job may ultimately mean better safety for on site workers. That I may help a business attract customers with custom signage. That collaboration with an artist may result in a creation that neither of us could accomplish on our own. This is my motivation. That is the focus of my laser business. Custom solutions for each and every laser engraving, cutting, or marking customer. That is the message that I hope to convey in the new web site.