GCG/Mira Client Service Staff

Mira Digital Publishing is a subsidiary of Graphic Connections Group, LLC (GCG). GCG is located in Chesterfield, a western suburb of St. Louis, Missouri - about 30 miles from the St. Louis Arch. Jeff Charlton, a long-time successful entrepreneur, founded the company. He believes long-term success is rooted in providing high quality products and service to the end consumer, at a fair price. Going the extra mile to provide a superior level of service is a way of life. It's the simple things that make a difference.

Answering the phones with live people, returning phone calls quickly, shipping orders on time, paying attention to quality, thinking about the customer first, and standing behind our products are all little things that set GCG and Mira apart in today's automated, voicemail society.

GCG not only specializes in book printing and publishing, but also provides all types of printed products and graphic design services to a wide variety of business clients and authors. GCG has a full staff of skilled experts and a state of the art production facility. We have the ability to create and bring to market, top notch printed materials in a very short period of time.

Our mission is to serve you. Give us a chance and you will not regret it.

JEFF CHARLTON

Owner & President

Jeff Charlton, founder of Graphic Connections Group, is a long-time successful entrepreneur. He started out in 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 he graduated from Mizzou with a degree in Civil Engineering in 1985, he sold his painting business and went to work for Procter & Gamble as an Industrial Engineer. After 3 years with P&G, he realized his heart was in owning his own business, and embarked on a new career in the printing industry.

After another 3 years in sales for a small printing company, he started a new printing company, Graphic Connections Group (GCG), in his basement in 1992. In 2000 he started acquiring other printing and graphic design companies. In 2012, he acquired the Independent Publishing Corporation (IPC). His interest in IPC arose as he saw a need for a company that could help the small author self-publish their book after struggling to self-publish two books of his own over the years. The various mergers have been a success and the company has grown to over 9000 square feet and manufactures a wide range of printing and embroidered products.

Jeff believes long-term success is rooted in hard work and personal relationships. The key is to provide high quality products and service to the end consumer, at a fair price, and go the extra mile to provide a superior level of service. It's the simple things that make a difference. He has always done the little things well. He returns calls promptly. He meets deadlines. He does what he says he is going to do…100% of the time.

"Having written and published several books and pamphlets 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."

GEORGE LESTINA

Director of Publishing

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 Company. Starting as a Management Trainee with the Direct Mail Division in Oak Brook, Illinois, 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’s experience also includes Directing Premium Sales for Basco, Inc., a catalog showroom chain with locations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and California. Prior to founding IPC, George was Director of Organizational Development for Liberty Financial Management Corporation in St. Louis. Liberty Financial had over 300 loan offices nationwide. 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 currently serves as Chairman of the Printing Industries of St. Louis Service Corporation – PISTL’S for profit subsidiary.

"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 IPC’s books is a unique creation – just like our authors!"

PEG LESTINA

Publishing Art Director

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 Director for Independent Publishing Corporation, and Mira Digital Publishing, both divisions of the Graphic Connections Group.

Peg’s lifelong involvement in education has included teaching in the Philadelphia School District, serving as president of the Parkway Parents’ Advisory Council for Children with Disabilities, president of the SSD Parents’ Advisory Council and a Director on the SSD Board of Education.

"We pride ourselves on 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."

KIM KOENIG

Client Service Specialist

Kim graduated in 1987 from the 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 and customer service. Kim also has been involved in press and bindery operations.

Kim joined our company in 2004, when IPC purchased PAI Printing, and continues to handle estimating, production and customer service. With over 20 years of printing and book publishing experience, Kim is well qualified to handle any challenge that may arise.

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

DENISE HESSKAMP

Client Service Specialist

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. 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.

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

KAREN KLAR

Client Service Specialist

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.

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

HEIDI KENNETT

Client Service Specialist

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.

"I’m just here to make your life easier."

Jill Mettendorf

Senior Publishing Consultant

Jill Mettendorf has worked in book publishing and marketing for 7 years. In this time, she has worked with and talked to thousands of authors. This knowledge has grown into a vast consulting base for 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, and also 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. 

"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."

Anne Schonhardt

Project Manager

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 September of 2010 in the prepress department, formatting text, setting up files to print, etc. In addition, she managed poster uploads and printing, and created interactive, searchable abstract CDs and program/abstract books. Anne has also done copy-editing. In March 2013, Anne was promoted to Project Manager. She feels that her prepress and sales background help significantly in her current role.

“Let me help you create a product we can both be proud of!”

TRISH LINHARES

Publishing Consultant

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.

“What can I do to help you?”

866-341-9588

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