If we’ve learned anything from our 20+ years in the print industry, it’s that this is a people business. Our Employee Spotlight series highlights the amazing people behind PageDNA. We’re excited to showcase our employees and give you a behind-the-scenes look into what it’s like to work at PageDNA.

We’re continuing our Employee Spotlight series by introducing one of our newest team members: Chief Operating Officer (COO) Gary Hielkema! 

About GaryGary Hielkema

Gary comes to PageDNA after a long and successful career as a manufacturing CEO. He took over for PageDNA’s previous COO and current partial owner, Darrell Cabales, after Darrell retired from PageDNA at the end of 2023. 

While Gary is somewhat new to the print industry, he possesses an exceptional acumen for business, which is why we were so excited to have him as our COO. In fact, his joining PageDNA is somewhat of a full-circle moment. Gary’s first job out of college was working at a four-color separation house in Seattle! 

Gary’s PageDNA 

What is the day-to-day of your role like?

As the COO, I mainly work towards moving operations and projects forward. I also do a lot of work with clients to make sure they are successful using PageDNA. It’s a lot of emails, communicating with clients, and finding ways to help them move past barriers to get to the next step.

I also do a lot of work aligning visions across the company. I work as an “integrator” in that sense. We are currently implementing a new operating system that focuses on creating goals for each department within PageDNA. As the leader of this effort, I meet with everyone to support them in setting, measuring, and achieving their goals. 

What has your experience been with the PageDNA company culture?

Incredible. And I’m not just saying that. I absolutely love the people and the staff at PageDNA. I love that there is so much collaboration, and people are able to work together to accomplish hard things. 

The work itself is also so challenging, in a good way. It challenges me to get better, learn, and improve. 

How were you supported in your onboarding at PageDNA? 

Since I was taking over as COO for someone who was retiring, my onboarding process was likely different than others. I spent six months working with Darell, the previous COO, going through all the areas that he was responsible for. 

I felt extremely supported by Darrell and the other members of the ownership team during that time. They took me through the company’s rhythms, created an onboarding spreadsheet to work through everything, and held several strategy meetings so I could understand the company’s higher-level goals.

After those six months, I officially took over for Darrell on January 1, 2024. 

What have been your biggest accomplishments on our team?

Getting started implementing the new operating system has been a big accomplishment, even though it’s an ongoing process. I’ve also changed how we analyze some of our reports, which I think has been really helpful in tracking success. 

The most fun thing that’s happened while working at PageDNA

After I had been at PageDNA for about a month, I traveled to meet Darrell, Eric (VP of Engineering), and Steve (CEO) for a face-to-face meeting. They were all so welcoming—Darrell let me stay at his house, Eric made a great breakfast, and it was great to see Steve. That meeting was a lot of fun. It was also a really great learning experience because they let me join in on an owner’s group meeting. 

Since that trip, my time at PageDNA has been challenging and a lot of fun.

What PageDNA benefits are your favorites and why? 

I like the policies around PTO. There is a lot of openness around taking PTO and the ability to do so. People are even encouraged to take it. Being able to work from home is also pretty nice. 

Outside of Work

What’s your favorite place you’ve ever traveled? 

I’ve traveled to many places—Norway, Spain, Germany, India, China, and more—but my favorite has to be Scotland. 

My daughter used to play soccer for a select team that traveled for tournaments. For one of her tournaments in Scotland, the entire team went with their families, so my wife and I went with our daughter. We stayed near St. Andrews University but also visited Edinburgh. I think that’s my favorite trip more than anything because of who I was with. 

Describe your perfect Saturday.

On my perfect Saturday, I wake up at 6:30 am, have some coffee, and do some exercise—maybe a bike ride or the peloton. Then, I read for a bit, do some yard work, and go to the local farmer’s market with my wife to get our produce for the week. After that, we take a walk somewhere with our books to read and relax before heading back.

In the early evening, I grill something, and my kids come over for dinner. I’m about to be a grandfather soon, so the grandkids would come too! After that, I’d relax by reading or listening to music on the porch with my wife.  


  • Band? Coldplay 
  • TV show? SEAL
  • Movie? Hidalgo  
  • Book? The Bible 

Working with PageDNA

At PageDNA, we love what we do. And we love supporting customers and employees in achieving their goals. Interested in joining in on the fun? Check out our current career opportunities online or schedule a demo today by emailing sales@PageDNA.com.