We believe that you hire for attitude and you train for success.” That’s the philosophy espoused by Pete Rappoccio, owner and founder of Sign Pro, a full-service sign company based in Plantsville, Connecticut. Sign Pro believes those attributes are the foundation that sign shops should be focusing on when it comes to bringing on the best candidates to their work force (designers, fabricators, installers, support staff, etc.).
Today Sign Pro boasts about sixty-three full-time employees, which is quite a leap from thirty years ago when Rappoccio started the company out of a bedroom in his parents’ home. A few years later, he moved the business out into a small, 200-square-foot garage with no running water, where he was able to then bring four people onboard. Next was expansion into a 3,500-square-foot shop, an 11,000-square-foot building, and today a 40,000-square-foot facility.
Rappoccio firmly believes that if workers enjoy where they reside, then that’s an even better chance of attracting top-tier talent to your company. “We are very fortunate that we are located in Connecticut,” says Rappoccio, “Our state has a highly educated workforce. We have an excellent quality of life to where we live and work.”
The management at Sign Pro trains their staff to be dedicated to and talented in their craft. “At that point, it is up to ownership to show employees the respect they deserve for the job they perform and be able to retain them,” says Rappoccio. “Our employees enjoy coming into work each and every day.”
Rappoccio is proud to have a great staff working at his company. “Everyone is committed,” he says. “We understand lean management and processes, procedures, and policies, and that is how we were able to grow the business in an organized manner versus a chaotic one.”
With that being said, Rappoccio acknowledges that his company operates in a very demanding environment. “We believe in a ‘customer-first’ approach and an ‘on-time mentality,’” he says. “We did not get to where we are today by not executing for Fortune 500 companies (and even larger national organizations). The same is true for the local and regional businesses we assist. Attention to detail is everything—to everyone. Many of these larger companies that use Sign Pro (worldwide) are impressed with the craftsmanship, pride, and quality that goes into each project we complete.”
Rappoccio states that plans call for increasing their production staff this year. “We are always seeking new candidates,” he says. “We also support local universities with internship programs.”
Sign Pro is proud to manufacture all products in-house, which means they have to always have quality employees that can handle their responsibilities. “Our employees are accountable for their tasks, as well as the entire client experience,” says Rappoccio. “Ownership of accountability, we believe, helps keep staff engaged from conceptual design to development to installation. We are not about being the biggest company; we are about being the best company.”
By Jeff Wooten