0

Winning wildlife tag has Conyers connection

Omar Murcia, left, former art director at THP Graphics Group in Conyers, and THP CEO Jeff Riley unveil a design for a new wildlife license plate at the State Capitol where they were honored by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, far right. The winning license plate was designed while Murcia worked at THP and was selected as one of three winners in Internet voting. Special Photo

Omar Murcia, left, former art director at THP Graphics Group in Conyers, and THP CEO Jeff Riley unveil a design for a new wildlife license plate at the State Capitol where they were honored by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, far right. The winning license plate was designed while Murcia worked at THP and was selected as one of three winners in Internet voting. Special Photo

CONYERS -- THP Graphics Group Inc. in Conyers and a former designer for the firm were honored last week when it was announced that their design for a Georgia license plate had been selected by a public vote.

Omar Murcia's design depicting a soaring bald eagle over a wide expanse of water was among three different designs chosen to help support conservation work done by the state's Wildlife Resources Division. Murcia worked for THP as art director for eight years before leaving last year to open his own firm in Cobb County.

Jeff Riley, chief executive officer for THP, said the project has been in the works for a least three years. Designs were solicited from artists around the country and were placed on the Internet for a public vote. The three winning designs were selected by more than 18,000 people who voted.

In addition to the soaring eagle design, winners were a bobwhite quail, deer and wild turkey and a brook trout rising to a fly.

Riley said THP was notified that Murcia's design had been selected just before the new year. The winning designers were honored at a ceremony at the State Capitol with Gov. Nathan Deal last Thursday.

Murcia, a native of Bogata, Colombia, who came to this country in 2000, said he wanted to incorporate the eagle into his design because of its importance to the state and the symbolism of strength and freedom. He said he did a great deal of research on the bird and its ecosystem and included that in his design.

Murcia said he got to meet Gov. Deal and was allowed to unveil the design at the Capitol last week.

"For me, that was a dream come true," said Murcia.

He said he received an enlarged replica of the wildlife tag he designed, signed by the governor. He plans to hang it in his office. Murcia also said he's looking forward to seeing his work on the roadway.

"To see my design on the highway is going to be really, really a thrill for me," he said.

Sales of the tag will support the Wildlife Resources Division's Nongame Conservation Section, which uses proceeds from tag purchases and renewals to fund programs focused on conserving Georgia's nongame and endangered wildlife, rare plants and natural habitats. No state funds are provided for nongame wildlife conservation, education and recreation. These projects are funded solely through federal grants, direct donations and fund-raising programs such as the nongame license plates.

Any three of the new wildlife plates may be purchased for $60 each plus the normal $20 annual registration fee and ad valorem tax -- if required.

Riley said THP and the DNR have worked well together on a number of projects over the years.

"We've been doing design and printing work for the DNR for 12 years. We have designed their marketing package for Weekend for Wildlife, and five years in a row we've won a competition for that package on the printing side," Riley said.

In addition to its traditional business of printing, THP offers marketing services through its THP Creative Group, including print design, website design, search engine optimization, personalized direct mail and email campaigns, promotional products, corporate apparel and corporate videos.

For more information on Georgia's wildlife license plates and the projects they support, got to www.georgiawildlife.com.