News Archives - Kieffer | Starlite

Employee Spotlights | Mark Kubick

Employee Spotlight: Mark Kubick

At Kieffer | Starlite, the success of our company is driven by the passion and dedication of our employees. We pride ourselves on having a work environment where our team can thrive, share ideas, and help us evolve. Our key differentiator is our team and the passion they have to be the best in our industry!

Today our Employee Spotlight showcases Mark Kubick. Known for his dedication and expertise, Mark has been with Kieffer | Starlite for 34 years. He goes above and beyond to deliver outstanding service and receives positive client feedback for the difference he makes for their signage program! Read more about Mark and his experience at Kieffer | Starlite.

Role at Kieffer | Starlite: Designer

What is a typical day for you at Kieffer | Starlite? After working in this business a while a day becomes typical. I start out with the design requests that I know I need to complete for the day, then I get the ones that need to be done during the day that are urgent and I didn’t know about. I like the urgent requests, it breaks up the day and makes it go faster.

What do you enjoy most about Kieffer | Starlite? I enjoy working with our design group/client services & engineering team, I like to say that we are all professionals. I would say that the work atmosphere is informal and easy going and always has been which is why I have been here all these years.

What do you find most challenging about your job? When I start a project I’m given a lot of information, usually but not always. The challenging part is putting it all together into a comprehensive package in the most timely manner possible. I have to keep in mind that this is first a sales presentation, but then a drawing gets reviewed by a lot of other people from Landlords to City’s & finally it will make it’s way to manufacturing, so there has to be enough information to pass all these hurdles.

What do you enjoy in your spare time? When I get spare time I like going to a nature setting for hiking or just hanging out. I also enjoy fishing, horseback riding, gardening & the occasional home improvement projects.

Bucket List Item: I always wanted to visit the great pyramids at Giza in Egypt, for some reason they have always intrigued me.

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Spotlight on Illinois Sign Association’s Board of Directors Appointed Vice President

6.1.20 – Kieffer | Starlite and the Illinois Sign Association is pleased to recognize Henry Van De Werken and his role with ISA as the current Vice President. Henry has served on the ISA board for over eight years and continues to play a vital role within the organization.

Van De Werken, along with the other board members, keeps a pulse on the industry and creates a valuable resource for the industry from solving challenges, education, and lobbying for sign code change. Van De Werken comments, “Serving the Illinois Sign Association in various roles over the years has given me an opportunity to work side-by-side with many talented and passionate sign professionals on worthwhile initiatives, making a positive difference and allowing me to give back to the industry in a meaningful way.”

Van De Werken is the Director of Manufacturing – Sheyboygan for Kieffer | Starlite. His industry knowledge and role in manufacturing management allows for Kieffer | Starlite to continue to set the bar for quality products, along with innovative ways to solve customer needs. The company is honored to have a leader and advocate as part of their team, as he continually makes an impact within their organization.

Russ Salzman, Executive Director for ISA, notes the importance and strength of its committee members. Anyone can join ISA; it is not limited to Illinois companies only, which contributes to membership growth as a result of the strength of our network and committee members. He comments, “Having Henry Van De Werken as part of our executive committee has been integral to the overall strength of ISA. He brings a wealth of knowledge and demonstrates a helpful approach to troubleshooting industry issues. He has been involved with ISA for over 15 years, and we project he will continue to move up within our executive committee.”

About Illinois Sign Association
The Illinois Sign Association is the leading resource for sign, graphics, and visual communication industry professionals in meeting the needs of their clients and the communities they serve. Founded in 1969, and an affiliate of the International Sign Association, ISA is an association comprised of sign companies, sign users, sign supply distributors, sign manufacturers, and manufacturer representatives. All strive to advocate for the industry and to provide the latest information and newest technologies, effective business strategies, and legislative developments that impact the industry.

About Kieffer | Starlite
Kieffer | Starlite is a leading national sign manufacturer and consultant throughout the US, providing quality solutions for a wide range of markets. They have a team comprised of seasoned designers, project managers, engineers, installers, and consultants who are focused on providing the best customer experience in the industry. Supporting signage and branding needs since 1959, they have the expertise you can trust. They also offer signage and lighting maintenance programs locally and nationwide.

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Employee Spotlights | Julie Cindric

Employee Spotlight: Julie Cindric

At Kieffer | Starlite, the success of our company is driven by the passion and dedication of our employees. We pride ourselves on having a work environment where our team can thrive, share ideas, and help us evolve. Our key differentiator is our team and the passion they have to be the best in our industry!

Today our Employee Spotlight showcases Julie Cindric.  Julie is recognized for continually going above and beyond to meet client deadlines. Her dedication and skillsets combine to overcome obstacles and keep schedules on track! Read more about Julie and her experience at Kieffer | Starlite.

Role at Kieffer | Starlite: Senior Client Services Coordinator

What is a typical day for you at Kieffer | Starlite? There really is no typical day, and that’s one of the reasons I enjoy working at Kieffer | Starlite. You have to be quick on your feet, as you may have to completely change your focus – not only from location but to a completely different customer.

What do you enjoy most about Kieffer | Starlite? Kieffer | Starlite has provided me the opportunity to return to a company that I really enjoyed working for. Having been gone for 8 years, it’s great to come back to a team that knows how to work together and support each other. While there are some familiar faces, there are many new ones, but the overall feeling is as it always was. And everyone is working together for the same common goal – not only satisfying the customers’ needs but exceeding their expectations.

What do you find most challenging about your job? The most challenging part of my job is also the most rewarding, and that is joining an existing account team and having to become knowledgeable about all aspects of the account. Building rapport with the customer and getting them to trust you is as important as product and job knowledge. You know you’ve succeeded when your co-workers can’t remember who worked on the account before you.

What do you enjoy in your spare time? I like to take advantage of the year-round sunshine by kayaking, running, and going to the beach.

Bucket List Item: I want to own an oceanfront home in a small, coastal town.

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Employee Spotlights | Kipp Casstevens

Employee Spotlight: Kipp Casstevens

At Kieffer | Starlite, the success of our company is driven by the passion and dedication of our employees. We pride ourselves on having a work environment where our team can thrive, share ideas, and help us evolve. Our key differentiator is our team and the passion they have to be the best in our industry!

Today our Employee Spotlight showcases Kipp Casstevens. Kipp is recognized for going above and beyond for helping our teams transition from the office to working remotely. He worked quickly and had a positive attitude to support all teams! Read more about Kipp and his experience at Kieffer | Starlite.

Role at Kieffer | Starlite: IT System Admin

What is a typical day for you at Kieffer | Starlite? Every day is a new challenge. My number one priority is rising to meet expectations to keep everyone working to the best of their ability. This ensures my coworkers can create signage that our clients can be proud of. In the IT industry, things are constantly evolving. Keeping up with any developments while continuing to implement modern systems to keep our company up to date is merely scratching the surface. Change keeps the mind sharp.

What do you enjoy most about Kieffer | Starlite? My coworkers are an absolute delight to work with. You can really feel the energy walking through the offices showing that everyone is working towards the same goal; we all want the others to succeed. Being around like-minded individuals who share in my sense of fulfillment really drives me to strive above and beyond in my role for my peers.

What do you find most challenging about your job? Currently, it is supporting my coworkers that are working from home. Attempting to mimic the feel of the office from home is a daunting task.  Our team has been working on this consistently to allow people to perform as best they can given the situation.

What do you enjoy in your spare time? I enjoy spending time with my wife and our dogs, binge watching our favorite television series whenever the time allows, and a game of Rook with a solid partner is an excellent weekend night. Of course, given my profession, I’m almost obligated to enjoy video games as well.

Bucket List Item: I’d love to travel to Rome and visit various historical sites like the colosseum, the pantheon, and of course, Vatican City.

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COVID-19 and Looking Forward to Consumer Behavior

4.13.2020 – Looking Forward is a positive way our teams are engaging with customers across all markets. While there is uncertainty, there is a sense of comfort that we are all in these unprecedented times together. Most of our teams are working from home right now, and we need to connect and look forward.

Service industries ranging from hoteliers to retail to restaurants are reviewing changes that should be considered due to the COVID-19 pandemic, present, and future. Kieffer | Starlite has custom fabrication capabilities throughout our facilities, and our designers and engineers are helping review concepts and make recommendations on various prototypes being reviewed by customers. Here are examples of products we are seeing that can offer a healthier interaction for consumers.

Partitions & Sneeze Guards
Designed per the CDC guidelines, we are working with clients based on their store design to create partitions and sneeze guards. These provide another layer of protection for employees and customers and can create a sense of comfort. Given the store design and level of permanency, our teams can design a wide range of custom partitions. Mounting options include ceiling mounted, wall mounted or temporary, easy to remove solutions.

Temporary Signage & Vinyl Graphics
The CDC has a wealth of resources on how to communicate with the public regarding COVID-19. These can be printed and placed in temporary signage stands for interior or exterior use. Temporary signage stands work well for messages such as curbside pickup, delivery instructions, new hours, and other temporary communications. Also, vinyl graphics, including floor decals to informative window graphics, is another great tool to communicate with your customer.

Electronic Messaging Integration
Electronic Message Centers (EMC’s) provide an excellent opportunity to communicate up-to-date information in a highly visible format. Client discussions are moving from a nice to have, to revisiting plans to see if an EMC is a viable option. Read a previous article on EMC’s, and there are also several resources available for free content if you currently have an EMC. In the time of physical distancing, consumers are actively looking for signs and messages on the status of business operations and other essential details. Click here to view a previous article regarding EMC’s.

Self- Serve Kiosks
No one is certain of consumer behavior in the coming months and years. Self-Serve Kiosks are not new in the market and have been implemented in several QSR’s, airports, and grocery stores. Looking forward to trying to identify if there is a benefit to integrating self-serve kiosks is dependent on your market. Would the consumer possibly have increased comfort by being able to place an order while distancing? While no one knows the answer, it is worth considering and limited testing. And also, adding additional measures of comfort by allowing consumers to clean the kiosk screen or having a hand sanitizer stationed next to the kiosks.

If you would like to discuss your current strategy, contact us at 800.659.2493 or click here.  Our team continues to monitor the impact of COVID-19 across all markets we serve from retail to healthcare. A common thread is to plan and be prepared to adjust to new consumer patterns and create comfort through additional safety measures. This will help regain consumer confidence, support business and brand loyalty as well as gradually return to normalcy post COVID-19.

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Electronic Message Centers in Response to COVID-19

4.6.2020 – Kieffer | Starlite works with clients to integrate Electronic Message Center’s (EMC’s) into their signage ranging from large-scale arena signage to gas price displays. Before a company determines the viability of an EMC, there are several upfront considerations, including local sign ordinances, budget, and communication goals.

COVID-19 and Real-Time Communication

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light the importance of real-time communication, and EMC’s can be updated to communicate to the marketplace quickly. Updating the messaging immediately to announce new store hours, or a change in how customers can interact with your business has been apparent. Even messages to the community from schools stating school closures and sending students and families well wishes during this time. The benefits of electronic messaging are helping make it easy for consumers to view company information, and ideally positive/caring messages based on the audience of those with EMC’s.


On a recent outing, one of our employee’s noted 1-800-Flowers.com was still delivering, but the store lobby is closed. Their signage with the Electronic Message Center integrated provides an excellent opportunity to announce updates regarding their business operation in a highly visible manner.


While the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the value EMC’s can create for up-to-date communication for businesses, it also highlights the most effective ways to communicate offerings for the marketplace. Kelly David, Marketing Manager for Kieffer | Starlite comments, “Our teams have ongoing discussions on what we see changing in the marketplace. We know some subtle shifts will take place as a result of COVID-19. While some clients have halted construction and new build plans, we are reviewing plans with them to see if we need to incorporate changes once building resumes.” One common trend is for businesses to determine if an EMC makes sense to integrate into existing signage or include in new builds moving forward.

Benefits of Electronic Message Centers During COVID-19:

  • Redirect to websites if a business is closed or other ways to connect
  • Share important health and safety info with real-time updates, hygiene recommendations
  • Communicate offers and promotions, new hours of operation, store closures
  • Raise public awareness

Already have an EMC? Leading LED providers and our industry partners offer additional advice. Click here to read about Best Practices for Digital Signage recently published by Watchfire.  Daktronics is offering free COVID-19 content messaging, click here for additional details.

If you would like to discuss integrating EMC’s into your signage, connect with a member of our team. Click here to see examples of EMC’s completed by Kieffer | Starlite.

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Employee Spotlights | John Kinlen

Employee Spotlight: John Kinlen

At Kieffer | Starlite, the success of our company is driven by the passion and dedication of our employees. We pride ourselves on having a work environment where our team can thrive, share ideas, and help us evolve. Our key differentiator is our team and the passion they have to be the best in our industry!

Today our Employee Spotlight showcases John Kinlen. John is an integral part of our team through his industry knowledge and dedication to meet the demands of our clients. Read more about John and his experience at Kieffer | Starlite.

Role at Kieffer | Starlite: Client Services Field Manager

What is a typical day for you at Kieffer | Starlite? No two days are the same; just when you think you have seen or heard it before, that’s when you get a surprise. In our industry, this is typical when working with contractors.

What do you enjoy most about Kieffer | Starlite? I enjoy working with my coworkers and that everyone is approachable. The day to day surprises that can arise keeps my job interesting as well.

What do you find most challenging about your job? The things that happen out of your control that impact our project(s); Then adapting to your Plan B & C. I enjoy the challenge of adapting to these challenges, while still completing the project in our given time frame by our customers.

What do you enjoy in your spare time? Spending time with my family and trying to enjoy any free time.

Bucket List Item: Visit the six states that I have yet to visit.

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Company Update: COVID-19

CompanyDetails

3.16.20 – Re: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Impact/Response

We have continued to monitor and communicate safety measures and our business contingency plan in response to the evolving impact of COVID-19. Our commitment to our employee’s safety and customers’ needs remains at the forefront of our business. We will continue to monitor this rapidly changing situation and evaluate additional measures to support our employees and customers as needs arise. Below are a few highlights of our operations:

Employees

We are monitoring recommendations from the CDC, as well as state and local governments for each of our locations. Many team members have the opportunity to work remotely and continue to ensure project delivery with minimal impact on their jobs and customers they serve.

Material Suppliers

Our incoming raw materials and outgoing finished goods supply chain are in a favorable position looking ahead over the next six months. We have immediate needs, and future needs raw material components on hand and available through our supplier consignment and warehouse stocking programs. This includes ample stock of potential long lead time items with foreign components such as LED lights and power supplies.

Manufacturing Operations

With four company-owned locations throughout the U.S., we can shift production as needed to accommodate our production needs. Combined, we have over 250,000 Sq. Ft. of manufacturing capacity and can fabricate redundantly at each facility. Our facilities continue to operate regular production hours.

Installation and Service Teams

Our in-house installation and service teams and an extensive network of install partners continue to complete the installation without interruption.

We are thankful to have the team and systems in place to position our company to continue to operate and support our customers. If you have specific concerns or needs during this time, please do not hesitate to ask. We look forward to continuing to help support our employees and customers during this time of uncertainty. Thank you for your trust in Kieffer| Starlite.

We have created a dedicated web page for future updates. Click here to visit for the latest information.

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Employee Spotlights | Joe Havlovitz

Employee Spotlight: Joe Havlovitz
At Kieffer | Starlite, the success of our company is driven by the passion and dedication of our employees. We pride ourselves on having a work environment where our team can thrive, share ideas and help us evolve. Our key differentiator is our team and the passion they have to be the best in our industry!

Today our Employee Spotlight showcases Joe Havlovitz. Joe quickly made an impact within our organization through his positive attitude and drive to look for opportunities to make improvements continually. We are thrilled to have Joe as an integral part of our team. Read more about Joe and his experience at Kieffer | Starlite.

Role at Kieffer | Starlite: Director of Procurement

What is a typical day for you at Kieffer | Starlite? I really don’t have a typical day. Although my day includes focusing on addressing our company purchasing strategy, curveballs of material flow disruptions, product changes on the fly, and personnel disruptions may bring challenges that need to be solved quickly.

What do you enjoy most about Kieffer | Starlite? What I enjoy most about Kieffer | Starlite is working with our teams. Our people have a broad base of knowledge with motivated attitudes related to designing and building quality sign products with the customer clearly in mind. Whether I’m working with operations, client services, design, engineering, sales, or management, the guidance and support from team members is great.

What do you find most challenging about your job? One of the most challenging areas of the job is the ongoing effort to limit excessive material costs tied to low volume and short lead time custom customer orders. For recurring product models and with some forecast predictability, material cost savings can be targeted and realized more easily. With custom products, core materials, such as aluminum tubing, sheet metal, and LED lights, may be common and straight-forward to procure at favorable market prices, while special components and finishes are always at risk to quickly run up costs.

What do you enjoy in your spare time? I enjoy outdoor activities of the seasons such as cycling, hiking and skiing. I am also active in local environmental conservation planning efforts to help foster better economic development with management practices in place that improve the environment.

Bucket List Item: Exploring all of our incredible National Parks (37 of 61 explored so far!) https://www.nps.gov/findapark/index.htm

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Featuring the Best Project of 2019

StadiumSignageExterior

1.23.20 – Kieffer | Starlite launched an annual internal contest to determine the Best Project of 2019. Several projects were submitted and displayed for the entire organization to vote on the best project.

BB&T Point Stadium was voted the Best Project of 2019, with over 50% of the votes company-wide. “This project encompasses the strength of our organization, teamwork and going above and beyond to meet the demands of the project,” states Kevin Hofert, President of Kieffer | Starlite.

BB&T Point Stadium is a $36 million ballpark that had an aggressive opening day, Kieffer | Starlite was a partner to deliver everything ranging from the scoreboard to the stadium wayfinding. Hofert adds, “Even members from our graphics team went out to assist in the install to help ensure project delivery. An “all hands on deck” made this project a success, and that story is what made this a Best Project of 2019.” Click here to view this project.

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