Frances Kensky, also known as Fran, played a role in a memorable event that took place in the nation’s capital this past September. When the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), a long standing client of Fran’s, received news of Pope Francis’ visit, they reached out to Fran to order 40,000 SmartTrip card sleeves which would feature an image of the Pope. A few obstacles came with this request, but it was nothing Fran couldn’t handle. “It was down to the wire” says Fran, which certainly adds an element of excitement to this business. With the assistance of her reliable vendor Erell who specializes in these cards, and a great partnership with WMATA, they overcame every challenge.
Many people don’t realize the amount of effort that goes into creating these card sleeves. They have to be built individually with the image placed on them, so they aren’t produced ahead of time. That makes the process a bit more stressful when you can’t adhere to Erell’s policy of allowing 15 business days for production. What made this situation even more nerve-wracking was the fact that the factory already had an order of 60k cards in queue. How they were going to fit this order in was a mystery, but they assured us they could meet our deadline and, being a Catholic company, was more than ecstatic to help.
Fran was a little uneasy about the situation, but since she had worked with Erell before, she knew she wouldn’t be let down. She was right, because even though Erell was quite inundated with orders, they were able to meet the deadline. WMATA was able to distribute 25,000 card sleeves to Catholic churches while the remainder were kept by Metro for passengers.
As we were talking about the order, Fran commented, “I feel like I was a part of history” and that she was. Being Jewish, Fran doesn’t connect with the Pope in a religious way, but she does appreciate his progressive stance on important issues and was thrilled to contribute to his arrival.
In addition to producing the Pope Francis card sleeves, Fran has also worked with Erell to produce card sleeves for both of Obama’s inaugurations, one for Not Drinking and Driving, a way of Metro trying to encourage safety around the holidays, as well as a Disability Awareness Card.
Fran has thoroughly enjoyed teaming up with WMATA and Erell on these projects and looks forward to being part of whatever comes next!
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