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The artistry of a local business is now featured prominently in the football complex at Northwest Missouri State University.
Brad Elliott, a 2004 Northwest alum, and Burt Murphy (Iowa State 2005), co-owners of Podium Ink of Mount Ayr, were contacted by Northwest officials associated with the football program in December 2020 to help create a one-of-a-kind environment in the football offices and locker rooms.
Elliott and Murphy met with Bearcat head coach Rich Wright and equipment manager Tucker Peve to develop a project overview.
“They were wanting to re-brand the hallway where the coaches’ offices are, highlighting their successes, their history, by creating wall murals,” Elliott said.
The football project was not the first Podium Ink had done for the University. Other projects have included wrapping the activities buses, an equipment truck, and walls in the recreation center.
“The wrap on the equipment truck kind of led into this hallway project which eventually led into the locker room project,” Elliott said. “Everything we branded there [coaches’ hallway] they wanted to bring that branding into their locker room project” as part of a substantial renovation to the athletic facility.
The next step Podium Ink tackled was a dimly lit hallway leading to the locker room.
“There wasn’t a lot of use from a branding standpoint before,” he said.
Now, wall murals from Podium Ink highlight Northwest’s six national football championships, past Bearcats who have advanced to the NFL, all head coaches going back to 1907, and a three-panel collage of the history of the program, along with several panels devoted to program goals and team mottoes.
Podium Ink went so far as to wrap the team’s ping-pong table and a foosball table as replicas of the football field and stadium.
“It’s really transformed the place into a Division I experience,” he said.
Elliott explained the wrapping done by Podium Ink is all part of an effort to recruit quality players.
“All collegiate athletic programs have had to really wow and create these environments that really immerse the athlete into wanting to go there,” he said. “It’s also important to establish a level of expectation.”
Elliott added the rebranding project at Northwest sowed the seeds of further success for Podium Ink.
“It just opened the door up for a lot more in that community,” Elliott said. “We take a lot of pride in working with schools in different communities, whether it’s Mount Ayr, at Maryville, or any other community, if you get involved in doing projects at their school, eventually you’re going to touch a lot more people in that community.”