Trace George, a 1993 Graduate of GCC, is from the Wyoming County town of North Java, and currently resides there with his wife, another GCC Grad, Tammy Petrie-George ’88.
As a high school student at Attica Central School, Trace was passionate to design and create artwork pieces. He loved to naturally draw and build unique displays, at even such a young age. Trace graduated in 1984 to pursue a career in business management, with a concentration in Travel and Tourism. Trace attended school at Southeastern Academy, to where it is now part of UCF. After a short time in Florida, he transferred his studies to University at Buffalo, to where he studied for a BS in Engineering Design.
During his time at UB, Trace supported his schooling by working full-time at Piedmont Airlines and Eastern Airlines. The education that he received in Florida complimented his abilities to work as a customer service manager until Eastern Airlines shut down in 1991.
After his studies at UB, Trace worked at Gibraltar Steel Corporation, as a global network administrator, managing computer network systems. His background of studies led him to grow into the ever-changing computer network world. Computer networks were not creative enough for him, so he decided to follow his true passion a go back to school to create and design, but to do it on a computer-based platform.
As a full-time employee at Gibraltar Steel, and married, with 3 children, Trace stepped out and chanced to go back to school full-time at GCC. With the responsibilities that he already had, he felt confident to move forward and gain a degree, using his natural design abilities.
As a non-traditional student, he forged ahead knowing that the final product would be worth it. Trace not only studied at GCC, but added extra-curricular activities into the mix, including such efforts as to be the GCC Student Council President, GCC Student Representative to the Board of Trustees and Member of the Student Activities Committee. Trace graduated with an AAS Drafting ’93.
With his added skills and degree, Trace pursued a career as a designer, and only to do it as a self-employed entrepreneur. In 1995, he started a company named VinylSignz Plus, Inc. The tough step toward owning a business is always scary, but Trace planned out the transition with his wife, and they both worked hard on building up and sacrificing what they could to make it work.
In 2002, the company grew beyond it’s expectations and moved from Java NY to Buffalo. The name changed to an acronym VSP Graphic Group to serve large corporations and small businesses with graphical branding and business signage. The company was a pioneer in what now is called today wide-format printing. VSP was the first company in Western New York to ever wrap a vehicle with 100% digital graphics.
Today, Trace has 3 locations with VSP- Headquartered in Buffalo NY, with offices in West Palm Beach FL and Seattle WA. He employs over 30 people and has three sons that work directly for VSP, 2 of them that have gone to GCC. (Trey, Tyler and Jake). Trace’s daughter Jordan is an asst manager floor nurse at UR Strong.
Trace has two U.S. patents that have contributed to the graphic world with an Anti-Graffiti laminate film called TW360. The second patent is a product that is used in training USGA Golf Pros for golf alignment (ForeMat Golf Training Mat).
VSP currently designs, manufactures and implements many graphical applications for the Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, many other small businesses, corporations and colleges throughout the United States.
VSP plans to expand its business model to service the architectural world with new environmental graphics and dimensional displays. The company has won many recent accolades including Buffalo’s Business First’s Fastest Growing Graphic Company in WNY, growing over 189% since 2015.
Trace owes his success to the people that surround him and work for him, and gives tribute to hard work and due diligence everyday!