SBi Young Sign Makers 2020: Rachel Wolfgang

Welcome to our third-annual spotlight of the young sign makers (thirty-five years old or younger) who we feel are making their mark in the industry—whether through sales, fabrication, management, or community involvement.

Each profile begins with a bio about the selected young sign professional and then their views of the industry in their own words. To read our other entries, click here, here, here, here, and here.

They will discuss a variety of topics ranging from the biggest challenges they’ve found since joining the industry, things they’ve learned about the art of sign making, their opinions on why the sign industry is an attractive career for younger people (and how shops can recruit them), and their outlook on how they’d like to see the industry evolve over the next few years.

RachelRachel Wolfgang

Rachel Wolfgang is Project Management Supervisor at Poyant in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Rachel joined Poyant in 2012 as the sales and marketing coordinator, and she successfully delivered focused results that leveraged the company’s sales and marketing opportunities. As a result of her willingness to learn about the sign business, she was promoted to project manager in 2015 and project manager LEAD in 2018.

Rachel as a proven track record of assisting in the hiring and training of new project managers and received her PMP certificate in 2017. This year, she was promoted to project management supervisor, and she is responsible for the leadership, coaching, and development of the Project Management Team in maintaining the highest level of performance in the department.

She also creates, maintains, and implements the Project Management Training Manual and leads the hiring/development of the Project Management Team. Rachel is also a member of the 2016 ISA Elite Class and the 2017 NSSA Elite Class.

The sign industry is an attractive career for me because it’s always changing with the newest technologies and methods of construction. It’s exciting and interesting. There is so much detail that goes into signage including the planning, approvals, design, construction, installation, and logistics. There is a great sense of accomplishment in seeing a project come together in the field and knowing that you played a part in making it happen.

I have learned so much about the sign industry from my experiences so far. I never would have imagined what goes into designing, building, and installing signage. The design, materials, fabrication, and logistics are unique to each project, and working for a custom sign manufacturer, we design and build a lot of cool signage. It’s also interesting to me to learn about the history of the industry and how it has changed over the years, but to also see the newest technologies integrated into the design and construction.

The ISA and NSSA Elite programs have also taught me a lot. They have allowed me to attend the sign expos, participate in the learning sessions, and network with the best in the industry. I have made so many great connections with other young professionals in the industry, sharing in their experiences and growing together as the next generation of the business. The knowledge and skills that I have gained through the ISA and NSSA has greatly impacted my career in the industry.

I had never considered project management as a career, nor did I know of the opportunities available in the sign industry before joining Poyant. I am fortunate to work for a company that supports my professional and personal growth and development through training and advancement.

It’s important for the sign industry to promote the career opportunities available to younger people. I certainly wish someone would have educated me sooner on the career opportunities available.

The sign industry can recruit younger people through education and community outreach. For example, National Sign Manufacturing Day has been a great effort to connect sign companies with local vocational schools to expose teachers and students to the different careers available in our industry. It’s a great event, and I have seen firsthand at Poyant the recruitment of staff that was connected through tours conducted at our facility during National Sign Manufacturing Day.