Signs of the Times - June 2020 - 24

NUTS + BOLTS
ERIC E.

LARSEN

SKILLED SIGN PEOPLE WANTED
After COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, sign companies will
face a familiar problem.
EOPLE enter the sign
industry in several ways:
Possessing artistic talent
and knowing someone
already in the industry are probably
the most common paths of entry. It's
not like we graduate high school and
say to ourselves, "I want to be a sign
person. Where do I go to college for
that?" Most of us stumble into it one
way or the other.
The sign industry has grown in
many areas over the past two decades
with the proliferation of design software and introduction of large format
printers and vinyl cutters. LEDs have
replaced neon in a large percentage
of what we build, and the way we
perform maintenance has changed.
The days of artistic wizards, hand-

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24

SIGNS OF THE TIMES

JUNE 2020

painting swirls of color and cutting
straight lines with a camel-hair brush,
or layout artists, hand-sketching
pages of paper and creating works
of art for presentations, are far less
frequent. The neon benders heating
tubes of glass and forming shapes over
a hot torch are dwindling in numbers,
as are truly experienced and wellrounded fabricators and installers.
Those days are gone not because
of technological advances, but rather
because the sign industry hasn't succeeded in handing "sign skills" down
to the next generation, or made the
prospect of working in signs attractive
enough. The proof is painfully evident
when any sign company initiates a
search for new people to fill the void
as the older generation retires.

is the Lead Designer of the
Historic Theatre Marquee
Division of Wagner Electric
Sign Co. (Elyria, OH).

WHO TO HIRE?
Mark Wagner, president of Wagner
Electric Sign Company in Elyria, OH -
the company I work for - has advertised for help in various positions in
his company for many years. I asked
him about the areas in which he's
having trouble finding sign-businessexperienced help. "As the job market
tightens, it becomes that much more
difficult," he said, as most people
entering the workforce now have few
or no marketable skills that apply to
signs. "We have always been willing
to train if they are willing to learn,"
Mark added, though noting, "This
has been difficult as well, since many
of those people just end up looking
for a job and not a career. At some
point you hire enough helpers. Sign



Signs of the Times - June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - June 2020

Contents
Signs of the Times - June 2020 - BB1
Signs of the Times - June 2020 - BB2
Signs of the Times - June 2020 - Cover1
Signs of the Times - June 2020 - Cover1a
Signs of the Times - June 2020 - Cover1b
Signs of the Times - June 2020 - Cover2
Signs of the Times - June 2020 - 1
Signs of the Times - June 2020 - Contents
Signs of the Times - June 2020 - 3
Signs of the Times - June 2020 - 4
Signs of the Times - June 2020 - 5
Signs of the Times - June 2020 - 6
Signs of the Times - June 2020 - 7
Signs of the Times - June 2020 - 8
Signs of the Times - June 2020 - 9
Signs of the Times - June 2020 - 10
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Signs of the Times - June 2020 - Cover3
Signs of the Times - June 2020 - Cover4
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