GCG/Mira Client Service Staff

Mira Digital Publishing, a division of the Graphic Connections Group, is a St. Louis based company serving self-published authors nationwide for over 21 years.

Our experience in the publishing industry makes Mira your reliable resource to help you self-publish a professionally produced book and stay within your budget.

At Mira we are “Book Smart”. We know what it takes to create, publish, market and distribute a competitive, professionally prepared book. Our experienced staff will help you make good decisions about all the variables involved in the publishing process.

CALL TODAY and speak with one of our Publishing Consultants and find out how we can help YOU to publish your masterpiece.


866-341-9588

JEFF CHARLTON

Owner & President

“Having written and published several books of my own, I have a personal knowledge of what it takes to create, professionally design, print and market a book. I assure you we have the people and tools to do your book right.”

Jeff Charlton, founder of Graphic Connections Group, is an experienced successful entrepreneur. He started his first business at the age of 14 (painting houses) and by the time he was 22, had 12 employees and so many clients he had to turn away jobs. After graduating from the University of Missouri with a degree in Civil Engineering, he sold his first business and went to work for Procter & Gamble as an Industrial Engineer, and later as a salesman for a local printing company. In time, he realized his heart was really in owning his own business, and once again took up the American Dream.

Jeff started the Graphic Connections Group (GCG), in his basement in 1992. In 2000 he started acquiring other printing and graphic design companies. Jeff saw the value of a company that could help the self-publishing authors after struggling to self-publish his own books. In 2012, he acquired the Independent Publishing Corporation (IPC). In 2013 he acquired Mira Digital Publishing. Both were long established publishing companies located in the St. Louis area. GCG's various mergers over the years have been a huge success and the company has continued to grow. GCG manufactures a wide range of print materials and embroidered products.

Jeff believes long-term success is rooted in hard work and personal relationships. He understands that providing high quality products and services to the end consumer, at a fair price, and going the extra mile to provide superior customer service are the ultimate keys to a successful business.

GEORGE LESTINA

Director of Publishing

“As a small publisher, we take a personal interest in making your book the best that it can be. It’s something we’re very good at and it separates us from the companies that run out a manuscript, slap on a cover and consider that a finished book. Each of our books is a unique creation – just like our authors!”

George has over 40 years of marketing, sales, and publishing experience. He began his career in 1966, with The Reuben H. Donnelly Corporation, a Fortune 500 Publishing and Marketing Company. George became a Field Manager with the Marketing Services Division in Chicago, was promoted to National Training Manager for the Marketing Division, at Corporate Headquarters in New York City and then Regional Manager for the 13 State Philadelphia Region.

George served as the Director of Organizational Development for Liberty Financial Management Corporation in St. Louis. In 1977, George and his wife Peg founded Independent Publishing Corporation, and in 2012, IPC became a division of Graphic Connections Group.

George is Past Chairman of the Printing Industries of St. Louis, and served on the National Board of the Printing Industries of America, which represents the fourth largest manufacturing group in the United States and Canada. He is currently the Chairman of the Printing Industries of St. Louis Service Corporation.

PEG LESTINA

Art Director,
GCG, Independent Publishing
and Mira Digital Publishing

“We pride ourselves in creating book design solutions that meet our client’s style preferences and their budget objectives. Our goal is to provide a professionally prepared book that is visually satisfying and functionally successful.”

Peg has a B.F.A. with a dual major in Commercial Art and Art Education from Temple University’s Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and graduate level courses in Communication from the University of Pennsylvania.

Her career includes a working membership in an artist’s cooperative gallery in Beach Haven, New Jersey, a staff production artist at Winchell Press, assistant art director for The Reuben H. Donnelly Corporation, producer of all the Yellow Page Directories on the East Coast, and art director for Media Systems, a Division of Harcourt Brace Publishing, before moving to St. Louis in 1976.

She has been designing for companies large and small in the St. Louis area since 1977 as co-owner of IPC Graphics-Independent Publishing Corporation. Peg continues to serve as a Publishing Art Director for GCG, Independent Publishing Corporation, and Mira Digital Publishing.

Jill Mettendorf

Senior Publishing Consultant

“All authors approach self-publishing with their own agenda and expertise. I really enjoy talking to each author and providing insight on what they need to do to keep moving forward and receive the finished product they worked so hard for.”

Jill Mettendorf has worked in book publishing and marketing for many years. In this time, she has worked and talked with thousands of authors. This experience has grown into a deep understanding of the needs of self-publishing authors. Before her career in publishing began, Jill studied Visual Communications at the Illinois Institute of Art. She, too, is an author, publishing blog articles about self-publishing on a regular basis. She recently released her first book, Real Answers, Real Authors. She has walked in your shoes and is perfectly positioned to help you in every way.

TRISH LINHARES

Publishing Consultant

“What can I do to help you publish your book successfully?”

Trish has over 20 years of experience in sales and marketing in the corporate world. She came to Mira Digital Publishing in 2013 with a desire to align herself with a company that stood behind its products and core philosophies. She brings with her a passion for customer service and an ability to go the extra mile for her customers. Her strength is her ability to really listen to what the clients need and make sure that happens.

KIM KOENIG

Senior Project Manager

“I’ll be responsible for many of the details associated with your book’s production. Be assured that these details will be carefully handled.”

Kim graduated University of Missouri – St. Louis with a BA in Business Finance. She started her career at PAI Printing in 1989, handling accounts payable and receivable. As she broadened her knowledge of the printing industry, her job responsibilities increased to include: typesetting, layout, estimating, scheduling, customer service, press and bindery operations. Kim joined IPC in 2004, and moved with the rest of the staff to GCG in 2013. With over 20 years of printing and book publishing experience, Kim is well qualified to handle any challenge that may arise.

Vanessa Merithew

Project Manager

“It is important to me that your book is properly prepared and printed. I don't just want the job printed, I want it done right and I will work with you all the way to make sure that happens.” 

Vanessa Merrithew holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from University of Missouri-Columbia. She also worked with the university's newspaper, interviewing and writing stories. Vanessa's internship at Missouri Meetings & Events Magazine enhanced her graphic design & layout skills. Vanessa has over 10 years of printing, binding and graphic design experience. She has been involved with the formatting of text, laying out files for print, editing and proofing. In her role as a Mira Digital Publishing Project Manager, her attention to detail and knowledge of the industry shines.

Anne Schonhardt

Project Manager

“As you can see, books are important to me. Let me help you create a product we can both be proud of!”

Anne Schonhardt holds a Master of Arts in Education and a Bachelor of Science in English from Truman State University, and is currently working toward a Master of Science degree in Library Science.

Anne started working at Mira Digital Publishing in the prepress department, formatting text, setting up files to print, etc. She managed poster uploads/ printing, and created interactive, searchable abstract CDs and program/abstract books. Anne has also worked as a copy editor. Anne is now an experienced Project Manager. She feels that her prepress and sales background help significantly in her current role.

KAREN KLAR

Client Service Specialist

“Attention to detail is very important in producing and publishing books, and that is where I excel.”

Karen Klar has been working in the printing industry for over 25 years. She has focused on customer service for her entire career. Karen has been with GCG since 2000. Her strongest asset is her innate attention to detail and desire to get things done right. She is a pleasure to work with and has a perpetual smile on her face at all times.

HEIDI KENNETT

Client Service Specialist

“I’m just here to make your life easier.”

Heidi Kennett started in printing as an inside sales rep focusing on selling advertising for golf yardage books that GCG printed. After GCG sold that division back in 2001, Heidi stayed on as a client service specialist. Her natural people skills have served her well in that capacity. She has a unique ability to make everyone feel like her best friend almost immediately. She is also very good at recognizing client's voices on the phone after only a couple of phone calls and you will often find her calling you by name when you call before you even tell her who it is.

DENISE HESSKAMP

Client Service Specialist

“I look forward to handling the work flow aspect of your production requirements.”

Denise graduated from Florissant Valley Community College with a degree in Commercial Art. She started her career at RPI Graphics, where she worked in the pre-press, bindery and customer service departments. Denise was later promoted to Production Manager, where she was responsible for all printing operations.

In 1998, IPC purchased RPI, and Denise became one of our valued customer service representatives and joined the staff at GCG with the rest of the folks, in 2013. Denise has over 20 years of layout and print experience to ensure that our clients receive a product that is designed well, printed correctly, and cost-effective to produce.

866-341-9588

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