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.
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.
Samantha Aronow is Business Development Executive at custom sign company SMI Sign Systems, Inc., in Frederick, Maryland. Samantha has been working in the sign industry for nine years now. She started at SMI Signs Systems as a production assistant in the interior department. From there, she spent the next few years serving as the installation coordinator where she oversaw the schedules of the installation crew and coordinated installations, service calls, equipment rentals, and inspections. She moved on to project manager and managed the signage for projects like Museum of The Bible and the Science West Building at American University.
Two years ago, Samantha moved into her current position in sales. She has also been a board member of the Maryland Sign Association since 2018.
What I enjoy most about the sign industry is every project is custom and unique. Similar to snowflakes, no two projects are the same!
Sustainability is a focus for our customers, and it’s fun for us to think outside the box to come up with solutions that meet our customers’ expectations. I also enjoy the ability to travel and meet interesting people, ranging from architects, CEOs, interior designers, engineers, and general contractors. Each person I come into contact with teaches me something new about our industry. People in the business of buying and selling signage are quite passionate about their image and brand identity. We really get to make an impact with our customers, and I look forward to the “wow” factor after the project is completed.
The sign industry is ever changing, and it is important to stay current on the latest technologies and product knowledge. I am glad to have picked a career that I am passionate about and one that allows me to use my creative and interpersonal skills. It isn’t really work when you enjoy what you do. It is very satisfying to take a project from rough conceptual ideas and turn that into a completed project. To see our customers thrilled at the end result is so gratifying on many levels.
Mentors are also important! I have several who have taught me so much and have been generous in their support. The sign business is a great opportunity for young people. There isn’t a “glass ceiling” in this industry. You can progress as far as your own passion and desire takes you.