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Influencer
Posted By Keara McGraw

Introduction

If St Petersburg were a forest, Big Al Karnavicius would be a mighty oak tree. He's grown roots in our community since arriving at 7 and always brought thoughtful value both in what he does and who he is. His Bayprint business exemplifies Karnavicius the man, as it's rooted in timeless truisms of quality, service and thinking long term, while also innovating and adapting to the changing world.

Years in St. Pete

Since 1958, at the age of 7.

Organizations involved in

I’ve been involved with American Stage, Arts Center, Florida Craft Arts, Artworks Festival, Tampa Bay Blues Festival – just to name a few.

What gets you out of bed every day?

I wake up thinking about what my day is going to be. I haven’t used an alarm clock in about 40 years. So I just wake up when it’s time to read the newspaper, have breakfast and go to work.

Why St. Pete?

I didn’t have a choice when I was 7, but it has turned out to be a pretty nice play to be. We like living here. It’s becoming very different, and it’s a good kind of different, so we’re going to hang in there for a while.

What is one habit that you keep?

Maybe it’s a vice, I’m not sure. But I really enjoy going home on a Friday night and having a cocktail on the deck by the pool. That’s kind of a regular thing for us.

Who are some people that influence you?

I’ve had a variety of different people influence me in different ways. On the business side, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a lot of leaders in the industry that I can learn from. And many of them have become friends over the years. As far as local heroes, there have been some leaders in the city that have progressed things pretty well. I enjoyed working with Rick Baker when he was Mayor of St. Petersburg. I enjoyed Lawton Chiles when he was Governor of Florida. He actually came and did a press conference at Bayprint.

What is one piece of insight - a book, methodology, practice - that you would share with our readers?

At the risk of being trite: go big or go home. Take that risk. It’s been a guiding principle for our business and with all the changes in the printing and marketing business over the last 40 years, it’s the guiding principle that’s been the most hopeful. Those who are afraid to step forward, get out of the box, be different – many of them aren’t around any more.

What is one thing you wish you knew about your work 3 years ago?

If we could take it back six years, instead of three years, it would be to reach out to get professional guidance on the sign, banner, display and exhibit business. Which we did three years ago, and the only thing I would say is I wish it would have six years ago because it has been really fruitful for us.

What’s next?

Growth. I’ve always been a change agent. I’m not stuck in my old ways. Right now we are focusing on a segment of the industry that is enjoying continued growth. We’re part of that. It’s signs, exhibits, displays and most interestingly, experiential graphic design where design elements, including all of the things we’ve been doing for years come to together for exciting and interesting displays for corporations and museums and anyone who wants to have a cool looking thing in their lobby that goes beyond just a sign with an arrow on it.

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