Phil Trumble celebrates 30 years at Pozitive Signs and Graphic Supplies

Phil Trumble owner and managing director of Pozitive Signs and Graphic Supplies reflects on thirty years in the business.

In 1994, 16-year-old Phil Trumble was a Year 11 school student when he heard of a job at a two-year old signage company run by David Wager and Ray Clark operated out of a single car garage in Sydney.

Not one to embrace school life and with a keen interest in technology and computers, Trumble took the job as the first Pozitive employee. The rest is history.

Trumble says he had no idea what he was getting into. All he knew was that the business was looking for someone, and they made signs from computers.

“It was in the early days when the industry was moving into computer work from hand work, and it was my interest area,” said Trumble.

Background, Phil Trumble in early days at Pozitive and foreground with Ray Clark and Adriano Gut from SwissQPrint.

In 2004, Trumble bought into 20% of the business, and in 2012, he bought the rest of the company when Ray Clarke decided to move on to explore other interests.

In that time, Pozitive has grown exponentially from signing exclusive deals with major brands such as Summa, DGI and SwissQPrint to establishing a Melbourne presence with a permanent team and premises.

From three people in 1994 to ten staff in 2012, Pozitive has more than doubled in people power and now employs 26 staff.

Thirty years on, Trumble says his biggest career highlight is being able to represent on an exclusive basis some very high end brands.

“It’s been a real highlight because when you’re dealing with companies like that, it’s much more than just invoices and purchase orders, you really become quite close personally and they’re more friends these days than they are just business relations,” says Trumble.

The past thirty years have not been without its challenges. Trumble says learning to run the business on his own was a learning curve and COVID hit hard.

Phil Trumble cheers Reto Eicher, one of the founders of SwissQPrint

“What do you do when there’s a pandemic? Well, exactly. Nobody knows. When there’s no work and the lights get turned off all of a sudden? Trying to work out how we keep the team together, how we keep everybody motivated, how we keep everybody, you know, feeling like they belong to something bigger, that was definitely a very big challenge.”

“It was just weeks and weeks and weeks of uncertainty, and fortunately, we all pulled together, we all helped each other, and we were able to come out the other side with everybody intact in the business,” Trumble said.

On the positive side Trumble says his greatest achievements include signing SwissQPrint in 2012 and then taking on the entire portfolio exclusively in 2016.

‘When we first started talking to them we were smitten by the technology and the product and we thought – what an amazing company and amazing people.

“When they showed us the pricelist, we fell over backwards. How could this little company in Sydney possibly sell a machine that was going to cost that much?” recalls Trumble.

Pozitive found a way and now boasts selling more than 50 SwissQPrint machines into the Australian market.

” I think for a company of our size, it’s a huge achievement,” says Trumble.

As for the next 30 years Trumble hopes his kids might consider taking the reins.

“It would be wonderful if over the next thirty years they come into the business and put their name to it.

“My son is almost ten and constantly talking about coming to work at Pozitive and be the guy that gets the machines working. My daughter is already in the business, she’s working in processing.”

Trumble says they have had a little celebration at work because he was ‘blindsided’ by his wife.

“I didn’t realise everybody was in on knowing that it was my 30th year in the business but at the end of the day I’m just one guy and without the team none of this would have happened.

“It’s the support that I get from my family and the support from the team  and what we’ve been able to build together that really makes the achievement enjoyable and worthwhile,” Trumble says.

Comment below to have your say on this story.

If you have a news story or tip-off, get in touch at  

Sign up to the Sprinter newsletter


Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.