News Archives - Kieffer | Starlite

Employee Spotlights | Chris Marshall

Employee Spotlight: Chris Marshall

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 Chris Marshall. Chris is a valued member of the Kieffer | Starlite team. He is known for his positive attitude and willingness to do whatever is needed to support client delivery expectations. Chris is a great problem solver and an outstanding role model for our team in Mt. Airy. Read more about Chris and his experience at Kieffer | Starlite.

Role at Kieffer | Starlite: My role is to complete channel letters as quickly and efficiently as possible.

What is a typical day for you at Kieffer | Starlite?  My typical day starts with clinching the back to the cans, mounting LEDs, installing them on the raceway and facing them.

What do you enjoy most about Kieffer | Starlite? For the most part, the people I work with and the satisfaction of seeing my work around us.

What do you find most challenging about your job? The time constraints can be a little overwhelming.

What do you enjoy in your spare time? Hunting, fishing, and spending time on the water.

Bucket List Item: I would like to travel to New Zealand for a red stag hunt.

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Market Trends for LED Modules Used in Signage

Three Market Trends for LED Modules Used in Signage

SloanLED is the leader in lighting technology with over 60 years of lighting experience, unparalleled worldwide distribution, and customer support. As a guiding light in the industry, we brighten your brand and your bottom line.

Today, Barry Blythe, Director of Signage Product Solutions, provides insight on current market trends for LED Modules.

Kieffer| Starlite is proud to partner with leaders in lighting like SLOANLED. Our engineering teams continually review the latest signage lighting advancements to ensure the right product recommendation for our customers. For new signage or existing signage lighting retrofits, lighting plays a critical role in achieving the right branding look and extending the sign’s lifespan while creating cost and performance efficiencies. Contact us for more information and support with your signage and maintenance needs.

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Tips for Creating a Scalable Signage Program

Signage is part of any successful brand identity and is one of the most effective tools you have for your business. Even if you start with one location, working with a knowledgeable signage partner with a national reach can ensure a consistent brand in the marketplace. Signage can be one of the most cost-effective marketing tools, and to help ensure your program has the most value, we outlined the top 5 considerations for creating a sign program that works for your brand.

1. Take time upfront. Take the time to review designs that best convey your brand and can be scalable. Whether you have a set of standards established or working from a logo concept, build in enough time to review and finalize the design that fits your brand vision. Your final set of sign standards should show different variations to help create a standard that can be repeatable in different scenarios.

2. Be specific. Your standards should cover everything from lighting specifics to PMS colors. This will create a uniform brand presence and ensure the original vision can be replicated for future builds.

3. Know your cost. Get pricing on the total sign package before approving the design. This allows you to make any needed modifications to create the most cost-effective program. It also allows the option to review value engineering opportunities to get your cost more inline if required, such as material swaps and lighting changes.

4. One size doesn’t fit all. Local codes and tenant requirements ultimately drive what is allowed at each location. You need to be flexible and rely on your standards to make modifications as required. Having an approval process for changes needed creates flexibility in the design while maintaining the brand vision. Listen to our podcast on our experiences with due diligence and where local codes even can drive if a business decides to enter the market.

5. Flexibility for different regions. Performance needs may change based on the elements. While staying within the specification is important, it also may be unrealistic in specific areas. Be open to new materials or a better approach that could create long term benefits and cost savings for various regions. For instance, in warmer climates, material fading may be an issue. New products or material recommendations that perform better can help create product longevity, ultimately keeping the brand looking it’s best and cost savings over time.

Whether you have 10 or 10000 locations, we can help support your signage program. Our team can help develop sign standards and help with your program’s management to ensure a successful program. Contact Kieffer | Starlite to get us involved today.

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Benefits of Working with A Turnkey Sign Company

The pandemic has reshaped the market – from internal restructuring to the importance of being in touch with your customer base.  Signage is playing a significant role in communicating with customers than ever before.

A notable new signage example includes curbside pickup signs present throughout retailer’s parking areas. The signs guide the consumer where to go for curbside pickup and steps for a successful pickup. These signs are essential for brands offering curbside delivery and impact the consumer experience and ultimately their satisfaction.  As predicted, curbside pickup is a trend that is likely to stay post pandemic.

As it relates to behind the scenes, who manages the design, placement, and manages the project deliverables? All aspects of the project can be managed and delivered when working with a full-service signage provider. Businesses can benefit from working with a partner to understand their vision/needs and manage the project from concept to completion.

Here are the top three reasons we see clients seek a turnkey sign partner like Kieffer | Starlite.

  • Sign Design to Sign Installation. Kieffer | Starlite handles all aspects of the project based on the client’s needs.  Our client may already have a sign package developed, while others only have a concept or logo to work with to create a sign design. Our team steps in at any part of the process to provide design recommendations, help with local code review, develop sign specifications, location drawings, all the way through to installation.
  • In-house Sign Design and Manufacturing. Being able to take a sign design and work directly with the manufacturer allows for many advantages. Sign engineers can provide design and material recommendations to maximize the effectiveness and visibility of the sign. Performance needs and local codes can impact original sign specifications; reviewing these aspects are essential before approving the final sign design.  In-house manufacturing capabilities can also allow for more cost control and an aggressive production schedule if needed.  Click here for an example of a project completed by Kieffer | Starlite that was successful based on a manufacturing production strategy to meet the needed timeline.
  • Sign Industry Knowledge. While this seems obvious, working with a seasoned industry professional brings a lot of value to the overall program. Turnkey signage providers rarely have a project execute the same for each client, as each site location and local codes present its own unique set of requirements. Our team at Kieffer | Starlite has decades of industry experience, so we can pull from our knowledge on what has worked, gone wrong, and the right questions to ask to eliminate possible issues.

The role of a signage program for a brand is significant and one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies. Signage can attract new customers and create a consistent brand experience if you have multiple locations. Many companies are looking at the benefits of working with a sign company that offers turnkey services from concept to installation to maximize value from their signage investment.  Contact Kieffer | Starlite to get us involved today.

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Employee Spotlights | Maria Arroyo

Employee Spotlight: Maria Arroyo

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 Maria Arroyo. Maria is a valued member of the Kieffer | Starlite team. She is known for her client-focused approach to successfully deliver interior and exterior signage programs. Maria continually encourages her teammates and has a positive demeanor that is always appreciated. Read more about Maria and her experience at Kieffer | Starlite.

Role at Kieffer | Starlite: Executive- Client Service

What is a typical day for you at Kieffer | Starlite? Starting the day at 5 am, working through the challenges of providing both our customers and Kieffer | Starlite the information required to bring the projects awarded to fruition, and if all is good, signing out around 4 pm.

What do you enjoy most about Kieffer | Starlite? The people at Kieffer | Starlite is what I enjoy the most—I have been fortunate to work with some VERY talented folks—people like Steve, Sandi, Pam, and Troy —only to mention a few.

What do you find most challenging about your job? Most Challenging—trying to keep all parties on the same page—communication can sometimes be a struggle, but our management team helps in working thru these struggles.

What do you enjoy in your spare time? Being with family has always been on the top of my priorities—with Pandemic, it’s been harder but not impossible!

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2021 Signage Trends

Signage is a critical branding component of any business across all market segments. Not only does it create the first impression with consumer engagement at the local level, but it also reinforces your overall perceived brand value. 2020 escalated many trends that have been gaining momentum over the years, from leveraging technology to the way teams collaborate. As it relates to signage, our team wanted to share trends we continue to see in the industry for 2021.

Reusable Products
We typically think of how to utilize signage with existing materials. For instance, if a pylon sign already exists, we review the viability of reusing/repurposing the structure and integrating updated sign faces and lighting. If a sign needs a refresh, we review the lighting to see if a simple retrofit is a solution, creating energy efficiencies and longevity. Finally, most suppliers & manufacturers have product lines and processes that address the call for eco-friendliness, so this is a trend that is evolving into a best practice.

Digital Signage

Businesses incorporating digital signage has grown steadily over the years. 2020 escalated the need that can be solved by digital signage, real-time communication. Companies with digital signage were quickly able to communicate new stores hours and up to date business information. As a result, many companies began to understand the value and robust capabilities of digital signage and tech integrations to solve problems. Digital Signage today posted a great article on ways this trend is evolving to drive sales and create awareness and thank the community. Read more here.

Partner Consolidation
We see a shift in the market where customers need a partner who can handle the signage and branding from start to finish. While this has been a general direction within our industry, the pandemic continues to shape this trend with consolidated roles and the need to have partners who can handle more, turn-key.

Our team has over six decades of experience working with our customers to deliver the right signage program. Contact us for more information on developing a scalable plan for future market growth or leveraging the latest industry innovation.

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Employee Spotlights | Sandi Olson

Employee Spotlight: Sandi Olson

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 Sandi Olson. Sandi is a valued member of the Kieffer | Starlite team. She is praised for her positive attitude and can always be found going above and beyond. Her commitment to ensure we meet the needs of our customers is evident each day. Read more about Sandi and her experience at Kieffer | Starlite.

Role at Kieffer | Starlite: Client Services Executive

What is a typical day for you at Kieffer | Starlite?  Every day is customer service. You really have to multi-task and make sure every order is where it should be. And be ready to handle any issues that arise so that they have the least impact on the customer.

What do you enjoy most about Kieffer | Starlite? It doesn’t feel like a corporation. It feels more like everyone is on the same team, working towards the same goals.

What do you find most challenging about your job? Dealing with 3rd party subcontractors that confirm schedules then break them at the last minute. That is the most challenging. It really puts us in a bad spot and jeopardizes our customer relationships.

What do you enjoy in your spare time? Spending time with family. Especially my grandson!

Bucket List Item: RV across the country. There’s a lot of the US I haven’t seen.

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Employee Spotlights | Misty Pell

Employee Spotlight: Misty Pell

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 Misty Pell. Misty is a valued member of the Kieffer | Starlite team. Her years of experience in our graphics department has made her work indeed an art form. She always has a positive attitude and willingness to go above and beyond to meet customer deadlines. Read more about Misty and her experience at Kieffer | Starlite.

Role at Kieffer | Starlite: Graphics Department

What is a typical day for you at Kieffer | Starlite?  Well, I don’t know that a typical day in the graphics department exists. But for me, my days consist of running, weeding, masking, and applying vinyl. Each day brings some new challenges and opportunities to see how fast and pretty you can make a sign look.

What do you enjoy most about Kieffer | Starlite? The thing I enjoy the most is looking at a drawing and bringing it to life. When you complete a project and are driving down the road and see your work, it makes your job fun and interesting and keeps you ready to get that next project out there.

What do you find most challenging about your job? The most challenging thing about my job is meeting short deadlines and keeping all the vinyl that leaves here looking great and top-notch. I like my job and enjoy what I do, so I like the challenge of something new and different each day the sign business brings you.

What do you enjoy in your spare time? In my spare time, I like spending the days with my kids and seeing what they come up with for that day, and I also enjoy keeping our farm going.

Bucket List Item: I guess the one thing on my Bucket List would be to take my kids to Disney Land.

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Employee Spotlights | Jason Marshall

Employee Spotlight: Jason Marshall

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 Jason Marshall. Jason is a valued member of the Kieffer | Starlite team. He is known for his can-do attitude and knowledge in our manufacturing operations. His commitment to our company is always evident day-to-day. Read more about Jason and his experience at Kieffer | Starlite.

Role at Kieffer | Starlite: Operations Manager, Mt. Airy Face Forming and Channel Letter Shop

What is a typical day for you at Kieffer | Starlite?  I don’t think there is a typical day in the sign industry. Each day is different from the challenges we face, from the pandemic to the everyday need to meet and exceed customer expectations. I like the fact that my days are not typical; it keeps my job interesting.

What do you enjoy most about Kieffer | Starlite? I love the fact that you can start a job with nothing but a stack of materials and, when finished, stand back and look at the sign we produced. I enjoy getting to know the people I work with, whether they are from Sheboygan, Denton, or here in Mt. Airy.

What do you find most challenging about your job? The most challenging part of my job would be finding ways to complete jobs and meet deadlines with short lead times. Even though it may be challenging, it keeps you continuously thinking about improving and becoming more efficient.

What do you enjoy in your spare time? I enjoy spending time with my wife and three children. I also enjoy woodworking.

Bucket List Item: Unlike most people, I don’t have a bucket list. If I had one, my bucket list would be to watch my children grow into adults.

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National Sign Manufacturing Day

10.2.20 – Today is Sign Manufacturing Day for the sign, graphics, and visual communications industries. The event is sponsored by the International Sign Association and the National Association of Manufacturers and created to bring awareness and showcase manufacturing careers.

Our company is excited to participate throughout October to connect with high school, community college, and technical school students. Students can learn more about the industry’s wide range of careers, from artists to electricians, from sales professionals to installers. In all, more than 200,000 professionals work in the industry, which is dedicated to helping businesses and communities grow.

Leading this initiative for our team is Mr. Mark McCellan. For over 20 years, he has been in the sign industry with Kieffer | Starlite. Based in our Sheboygan, WI state-of-the-art 110,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility, Mr. McClellan is involved in most aspects of our production and installation processes. During his tenure, he has worked in crating, cabinet assembly, and electrical wiring areas, then moving on to installation for over 12 years. His in-depth experience led him to his current role as Manufacturing Supervisor & Install Manager. He continues to build a strong team through his in-depth knowledge and passion for mentoring our manufacturing teams. Mr. McClellan also serves on the board as President-Elect for the Wisconsin Sign Association. Along with the other board members, they keep a pulse on the industry to create valuable resources, solve challenges, education, and lobby for sign code change.

Learn more about Sign Manufacturing Day through our video podcast; click here to watch our 4-minute overview. We are also offering students and schools the ability to take a virtual tour of our Sheboygan facility, and they can specify any areas of interest. Through our participation in this initiative, we hope to bring awareness to opportunities in this field and hope to recruit and mentor the next generation of workers in our industry. Click here for more information and to request to tour.

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