Sign Company Owner: Making and installing signs
How did you get into the field?
Long story short: I didn’t pay enough attention in college. My Uncle Richard was running a sign company that he had started in 1971. I was saving money to backpack across Europe and he invited me to work at the shop to continue saving money for my trip. I never did make the backpacking trip.
Does your education background reflect what you do for work?
I went to school for Communications at UMass Amherst and graduated with a degree in Mass Communications, which at the time was the subject you chose when you didn't know what you want to do with your life.
Give me three reasons why you like your job?
For the most part, there are long hours being the owner of a company. Making signs is fun. But, three good reasons I like my job would be:
People for the most part are in need of my services. I’m not really selling anything.
When a project goes well, the customers are normally very happy. It could mean the start/opening of their company, an update to an existing business or along awaited gift.
But one of the best reasons I like my job is that many times it is a complete transformation of a space. I install lots of full coverage wall graphics and banners that truly change the look of a space.
What would you consider the stress level of your current occupation (1-10, 10 being the highest)?
A 5-6. Not particularly stressful as long as everyone is doing their job. There are times when tight time constraints occur, but a few extra hours in the day is not going to kill you.
If money was not an issue, would you still choose the same career path?
Hmm. I’m not sure. I might get into more interesting types of signs or installations. I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up.
What is the hardest part about your job?
Long hours. We are lucky to be very busy at the moment and have been fairly busy my entire career. But, working 65-80 hours, 7 days a week can be daunting, especially when its a very physical job.
Did you always know this is the career path you wanted to take or were you diverted a few times?
I didn’t. It’s just a line of work I fell into. If you are a hard worker and you don’t dislike your job there’s a much better chance that you will succeed. Also, having a short commute to my shop also helps.
On any given day I could be up on a ladder drilling holes, or in front of a computer drawing layouts, behind a table saw or standing at a band saw cutting wood or on my knees installing vinyl on a car. The job is always interesting and when I’m finished people are excited to see the results.
On a job this summer in Provincetown MA, I was installing these large iconic photos of Portuguese Matriarchs on a wharf in P-Town Harbor. The Cape was so excited about this project that I was interviewed by the The Provincetown Banner, The Cape Cod Times and NPR. It’s times like that when I REALLY LOVE MY JOB.