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I'm all for making changes in your life, whether it's personal or perhaps a career change.

But sometimes you have to wonder who it is that runs your industry, or the people who can influence changes in your industry. I've always had questions that for these trade groups that never got answered and always wondered the "why's" behind some important decisions or omissions to act that took place, and continue too.

I've run into people who one day sold lift gates for commercial trucks then the next day their LED salesmen for a LED manufacturer telling me that LEDs are the best thing on the market in comparison to other light sources AND in all phases. When you ask a question in comparison to traditional light sources they haven't a clue but they may know more about their like competitors, or at least have those selling points that were handwritten down for them memorized. Maybe it's me, but I would feel a little better talking with a salesmen from someone with our or my background in "Signs".

Sometimes the butt of the joke about shoddy sign installation is that one day the vinyl sticky guy became the electric sign installer that day for their company and we get new pics submitted into our Hall of Shame. But, at least that sticky guy has some sort of relationship to what he was doing and maybe he was able to make a better effort than say the lift-gate salesman would have been able to because at least the sticky guy who has seen signs before could at least better guess what needs to be done and make a better "best guess" effort.

Ever look at the make or resume background on individuals of our Trade Associations and wonder "why" they are there and serve our industry? I'm not talking about the volunteer base made up of some of our finest men and women presently in the sign industry. I'm talking about the "core" employed group who pay themselves from the non-profit. Sometimes we see some wacky decisions being made and anyone in the sign industry asks "why?", why did they do that, or why did they stand and do nothing? Some of these longtime rhino's have backgrounds similar in comparison I just made to the lift-gate guy turned LED salesmen.


We just had the International Sign Association gobble up all the other little sign associations like Pac-Man and I'm still NOT clearly understanding the "Why". I know what the selling point was. This was a decision made and pushed by the "core" association employed group rather than the volunteer base. The base still is not clear to this day but they went along with it anyway and a vote was pushed very fast to get this past before anyone could fully understand what they were voting on, sort of like healthcare (don't worry...we'll figure it out later). I mean, they hired an outside consultant to tell them how to push this along. I know that pic below that was made for a past thread involving the globalization or gobble up of our local associations is a bit extreme, or is it? If nothing else you could say it's metaphoric, maybe even call it a political cartoon that has a little humor to it. But both terms have an ounce of truth to it, otherwise it wouldn't fit.


Do some of these Lift-Gate people from somewhere else have our industries intentions best at heart? Do they hold the same values and "traditions" of our industry at heart too? How can they, do they have that ability to turn that emotion on like a switch? Can you be a lift-gate salesmen one day and be in the sign industry and "know" our past traditions to shape a better tomorrow?

Sometimes some very bad decisions get made which can effect us all.

I don't know if a decision to act or omission made is there to kill a part of our trade IS made out of ignorance because their more or less acting on limited information which they deem legit (because it was lift-gate sales one day and signs the next), it can even be said that they become a puppet to the puppet master who is a large light source mfg who's intent is to sell their products over all others and thus get the trade association to help push legislation or stand down from legislation so that it will benefit their cause or business in the form of asking the government to pic a winner, or leave fewer option for the consumer.

I get an accountant can be plugged into a sign industry position from a lift-gate industry, as well as a few other areas. But what about the big decisions? The ones that affect what you and I sell or produce? Even though some would like to commoditize what we do, and bastardize our industry by inserting, selling, plugging in whatever can make a quick buck. I think the hiring process for these positions need to be left for those within our industry, for those who have worked in the sticky department, to the guy who installs a pylon or wall sign, and everything in-between. Otherwise, why work for an association for a trade you have no experience in or find akin too? Aren't associations left for those who are involved in their own industry, or is it just a job?

I've always been a firm believer that the best sign salesmen or women are the ones who have fabricated a sign and installed a sign. That's my belief, opinion and I'm sticking to it. Bullshitters are a dime a dozen, and we're not used car lot. We fabricate and install the best illuminated branding there is, most of time the sign becomes the hallmark and landmark, it's the face of a business. When they think of a business they don't quickly generate a thought of the retail shelves stocked with goods, or the bellhop or pool, they think of the sign lighting up on the street.

Anyway, you're probably asking why you're even reading this thread, and what the purpose is. Why the hell did I start it? I did because I got wind that Rich Gottwald left the Vice Presidentship of the International Sign Association (Or maybe he's doing two jobs now like so many other concurrent association people) and became the CEO of the Pool and Spa Trade Association . No knock on him personally even though he still could/would not legitimately answer some important questions to some my "why" questions which almost heavily impacted our trades traditions. I just hope that he at least owns a spa in his backyard moving forward to his new position. But the news struck curiosity in me. I did some quick research and discovered he went from a plastic association guy to signs, to now pool and spa's. Some other high ranking association core group members also came from the plastic association group before the International Sign Association. Is this trade group one of the same perhaps?

Again, I'm all for career change and sometimes people are all-stars no matter where they go. Sort of like gifted athletes, it doesn't matter what kind of ball you put in their hands their just naturally gifted so I can't speak in detail. I sincerely wish Mr. Gottwald the best and hope for whoever replaces him is someone who comes from a Electric Sign Background, and not someone who lobbies to the "Green" movement, or someone who has a marketing background from within their present ranks.

I just genuinely want whoever can be the best fit to help our industry. Someone who has a good vision, and remembers our past, and holds our traditions best at heart. Someone who can take into account what the rhino volunteer base has to say, have the knowledge to debate them and make an educated, industry based decision on that. I want someone who's not looking with the intent to stand around and let a bill pass that affects our industry just so they can get the association to turn that new regulation into a program to sell to our industry.

Maybe it's just wishful thinking.....just my open aired thought for this Tuesday

You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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I rarely respond to your posts because it only results in a caustic response. But sometimes.....

I will leave it to the members at ISA to judge whether I have been an effective advocate for the industry. ISA does really good work on behalf of the industry. Efforts like educating city planners on proper signage (600 have attended our sessions so far), sponsoring research on the cause of failures of single pole sign structures, and implementing on-line sign industry education all help to move the industry forward and to break down regulatory barriers. i hope I have played a small role in that.

ISA has an incredible group of members. Over 2,300 companies belong to ISA, and they roll up their sleeves day in and day out, not only to run their own companies, but to get involved in this association (or other associations) and try to make a difference in the industry. I am so proud of them all.

You, Eric, do none of that. You hide behind this blog and bully anyone who so much as utters a word with which you disagree. You may think you are serving a greater cause, but you are not. You could, but not the way you operate today.

I wish the sign industry all the best, and I thank them for the opportunity to serve.

Rich Gottwald

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Your crossing my words.

I'm not saying you haven't done anything for the sign industry I'm just saying I wonder how those who have come from another industry who are suddenly inserted in another can do as good as a job as one who has a long standing history in one. Again, not to reflect what you've personally done but I would like to see who ever replaces you be or have experience in the actual trade. Nothing personal, I don't think you've done a horrible job. The only real complaint Ive had about you is the fact that you could never answer my question about who it was who initiated the International Sign Association's movement to try and get the NEC board to have custom neon and outline lighting listed by a lab such as U.L., I'm happy ISA failed because it would further killed the neon industry. I still find that path of support odd. Not everything the International Sign Association does is magical and rainbows, sometimes it has it's faults. But the question is still unanswered and left open.

I'm not a bully and I don't personally beat ANYONE that disagrees with me up unless they've gotten personal with me. I only back up and support my opinion. If you see that as bullying because it does not fall inline with the ISA "core" vision, then that's on you. I've met you in Orlando and you know I'm no "bully" who hides behind a keyboard with no accessibility. Anyone can meet me in person at anyone of our meets and discuss what they want with me.

Like you, I'll let others judge me based on what this site has offered if it's important to me (which it's not) or if it's important for them. I do what I do and I say what I say because I'm not afraid to do it, I also don't lick my finger to see which way the wind is blowing before making a decision. Most of the time this Industry needs a wake up call and to hear a voice of opposition to the status quo. I'm not one to fall in line and join the ranks and blabber marketing points or cheer lead. I'm just not built that way.

I'm sorry you took this so personal, I know you spent a lot of time and I never said you've done a horrible job. I'm just questioning resumes' (hense "Ever Wonder Why?") and how it all can fit for the best. I'm not attacking you, nor am I putting you out to be the face of every bad ISA decision. I just saw a job change become public and it made me think since you were going from one industry to another and how that can affect our industry as well, and what/who can be a good fit for who replaces you. I do wish you well.

You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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Wow, Rich really read too deep into the posting and apparently got his undergarments (can we say panties on here?) in a knot. I didn't read it as a personal attack but asking questions that any business owner should ask of a trade association that wants to represent sign makers. I don't think it's too much to ask for people holding top association positions to be experienced in the industry before taking on such responsibilities.

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I didn't read this topic as an attack either. Most of the time I read from the shadows about the stuff going on in the background in our industry that most probably don't have access too and I don't think you will learn about it from anywhere else other than here on the sign syndicate, unless you know someone. This site is very popular with people we associate ourselves within the sign industry and I've learned a lot being a total newbie here. The sign syndicate it practically a household name. At this point if you don't know this website then you're either in the dark or you've have had your head buried in the sand somewhere.

I still remember this particular topic right around when I first joined.


I usually copy and paste this link when someone asks me what the sign syndicate is about.

What has Erik done? I think this is one of many links that say it best.

Edited by LiteGirl

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Eric took my milk money once!!!

Installation & Maintenance Services

Brian Phillips | expresssignandneon@sbcglobal.net | P. 812-882-3278

Express Sign & Neon | 119 S. 15th Street - Vincennes - IN 47591


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Rich as a parting shot this is a very poor showing. I have belonged to many sign and screenprint associations, rarely do any of those in a true leadership position display such poor use of words. Reflect on who you are as a man and a leader, feel free to come back and explain yourself. You could have taken the high road (and did until you went off the rails with a personal attack) An apology is in order, are you up to it? ( And it really should be a wider apology than to just one, please include all those who know you are capable of better)

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This wasn't an attack, it was a legitimate blog on a legitimate topic! We had a local restaurant owner who folded his restaurant and shortly after was trying to sell us LEDs. My confidence level in him was not very high.

Eric, you made great points. Good job!

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I think that Rich Gottwald mistook Passion and a yearning for a high level of Professionalism in an industry that Erik loves, for a Caustic or Vitriolic attack on him personally. But that was not the case in my opinion. I think Erik was simply lamenting about that which is lacking in the industry that we all want to see vibrant, now and in the years to come.

Is it too much to ask that if you represent the sign industry, you should have a background in the sign industry? I think not.

If you represent a veterans association should you not be a veteran? How about law enforcement or governors association, shouldn't you have a background there as well? I think so.

Today the Lift Gate industry, tomorrow the Tire industry, followed up by the Plastic industry, even further by the Sign industry and ultimately landing in the Spa industry.

Like I have posted Ad Nauseum on this board, the saying goes, "I'm not giving em Hell, I just telling the truth and they think it's Hell".

Keep giving em Hell Erik...........


"Don't be afraid to see what you see" - President Ronald Reagan

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I can tell you from my experience that the industry is NOT interested in "experience" in the industry as a qualification for hiring. Most feel that is is highly over rated.


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This site has saved many peoples lives by helping me put I-crane and Skylift, Sam Marcum out of business.

Many people that don't even know it owe Erik and this site, the sign association of Canada saves me 0.03 cents per liter on gas, woo hoo

Plus my advertising here gets me work from across the US


63 foot Elliott v60

50 foot 8 ton crane/auger

Skid steer with forks and dirt bucket



Signworks Inc.
Toronto, Canada



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I could say more I suppose and it would be/come out harsh but it would be reality, it's not that important at this point now because everything is moving forward.

He's out, someone else is coming in, and we won't be doing the interviewing. I just know there is another individual coming in if not already named and chances are it's not someone who has a trade background.

Real short. His response just goes to show how out of touch he is because he's not one of "us" who rolls up our sleeves (as he put it) everyday and deal with the daily day ins and day outs, instead he stands in an ivory tower office in DC. No matter what I do or how I’m viewed, I am both a "servant", and I am a "slave" to this industry.

He was given the opportunity to be a servant (and got paid doing so). He did what he thought was the right thing (which I'm sure was most of the time well spent and made some city hall /code calls...made good decisions did what was expected etc etc etc), he was counseled by a volunteer base made up of sub-committee heads & paid consultants which he thinks is knowledgeable, and most of the most of the time it's individuals who have been in the association for eons who started out with the best intentions to do good.

Some, and I say some, ...some of these some.... have high ranking positions came in place with their original intentions but are now they’re there primarily to feed an ego, a power hunger, and to somehow financially benefit from it, for them or for their friends (financial means or by favors). For the next person who comes in, this is what they have to deal with. There is an inner battle in the ranks of the volunteer base of associations. Most of it is about the freshman class vs. the Rhino's, we all know this its even in government politics. There are some Rhino's who want you to play along to get along, so one day you'll "get yours", but until you play along or if you don't well....you just may not get voted in to key positions. This is why I'm big on term limits, from government to a simple association. This next person who comes in, it would be a benefit for "us" if this person has a long background in the electrical sign industry because the electrical sign industry is the cream of the crop IMO. The real big issues are lights/electricity/EMC’s, whether it's use or where their going. It's going to be about fighting for, or against code/legistlation, most of all PROTECTING our traditions and liberties and preserve our right to prosper. We need that person to have that background to smell out ill intent, have the industry knowledge to compare what they are being told, have the fortitude, and the courage to do what is right no matter which way the wind is blowing.

I don’t think Lift-Gate guy can do that, I don’t think Lift-Gate guy can be our guy. I don’t think Lift-Gate guy can have the same passion as “us”.

Okay, so...not so short after all.

I'm going to be here everyday until I retire, god willing I’ll probably go and leave this world from a 15kv tranny that I love so much. I have no intention in making a career change down the road because I love what I do and it's not about money. Like I said, I'm a servant and a slave to this industry. I want those people in the core sign association to also be a servant and a slave, not just be a brief servant in the form of a job....make some decisions for a period of time, get back pats, and walk away to another field and let "us" deal with the decisions or omissions made from our leadership. I want THAT person to sit in the same pot I am after they step down.

What came out from Rich about me and this site was that continual arrogance, some frustration, misunderstanding, mis-information, and mis-characterization part on him, and some brought on by those around him.

He and MANY others in various association who are used to a certain way, see my opinions (most of the time backed up with fact), and others from this site as a attack instead of what it really is......Constructive criticism, Passion, and a genuine caring for what happens to our industry, and what we tend to lose in the form of freedoms and liberties.

Normally you would take it as such constructive criticism but within certain inner circle and cliques from within, well....we're stepping on toes and hurting feelings and ego's raising awareness to all others within our industry and shedding light on certain false background drops. It's not something that that inner circle wants out or observed for what it is, and they don't want it out that sometimes they make bad calls or support certain views that maybe they shouldn’t be. They want to be perfect with nothing but sunshine with no flaws, ever hear them admit fault?. Instead of taking in what's discussed here with open eyes and ears, within their inner circle we're a threat, and quickly discredited and refaced and guised as "bullies", "trolls" and "them".

Some wonder why I'm at times harsh. I think as the years have gone on I've just become more callus. A real sign professional who cares about this industry who is not just in it for themselves, and who knows truth from fiction and KNOWS what needs to happen and DAMN taking an easy route! Take that damn 15/60 tranny up that 40’ ladder, get weak knees, feel that back pain MOST of all feel what it is to “sweat” and get it done! When you have the same people doing the same damn thing (trade magazines too) and changing seats, playing musical chairs it's wearing. When this site first started I know I was lighter in calling these issues out, I'm at the point now where it's time to blast a few barrels. Some sy I should say it in a "nice" way, I'm done playing "nice" and making "nice" with certain individuals where we stand to lose. I don't have that energy anymore, nor the patience, time is running out and we’re loosing more and more freedoms everyday. These are intelligent individuals that know what they should be doing. If they don't know, or if they don’t have the Cojones then they need to step down and let someone else pull the reigns, and pull the cart.

I get that cop out reaction/reply by them every time a controversial thread is here on the SS that I should shut my hole and I have NO idea what I’m talking about, I’m told to join up in an association and make a difference...like them. Really?

The Rhino base is going to listen to me and my opinion which probably greatly contradicts their old guard ways of doing things......they think I can dance? I'm not a good dancer, I SUCK by the way.


If they want me to be apart of them, then they can HIRE me to a high position. That way as soon as I go on board I can FIRE them all, clean house, put my own council in place so that we can start a re-hiring campaign/process with an intense interview process (get back some of the previous members) for the core and volunteer base to separate the good seeds from the bad and start anew. Then, after that....I would resign! Come back here so (be that tool) that if ever the cycle ever came back again, the one that needs replacing....hopefully they didn't loose my business card and this process could start all over again. I don’t want to make buddies over there, it’s only about industry first, not relationship building, that can come in 7th or 10th....for me anyway, I got enough friends and way too many on FaceBook.

Alright dry humor aside.

I can make a better difference (serving) holding a platform outside here for others to express that “alternative” opinion and ideas than ever joining up with a group. We raise awareness here and were not bound by any kind of friendship or influence, so therefore we can do it better here and give those within a group tools to use. But some will continue to use a screwdriver where their supposed to be using a hammer and we will all watch them as they keep as they continually kick that hammer away. I can't help them, but because I’ll continue to hand them that hammer that they keep kicking back at me doesn’t mean I’m attacking them. I may have a sarcastic look on my face and say “Hey Dummy, use this”, that’s just me, I’m worn, I’m sarcastic, and I have a dry sense of humor....BUT, I’m genuinely going to try and help because I’m in the pot and I want it to be flavorful.

There are some awesome men and women who serve in associations at the volunteer and core level, that is a fact, I’ve met them. I hope those people, the foot solders, the ones with big hearts don’t think I’m attacking or blasting them when I mutter the word “ Sign Associations” because I’m just merely discussing individuals within their cause, surely they know what I’m talking about being there long enough. If you don’t, know now.

I don’t think I’ve EVER turned anyone down for help, even those who I’ve disagreed with in the past, sometimes those were BIG disagreements.

Well, my reply was longer than I thought.

You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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      I don't usually bring politics here on the SS unless it's for a very good reason.
      But since a lot of what we do here in our own industry and how it affects how we make a living I'm going to share a particular youtube video of Senator Ted Cruz asking the president of Sierra Club some very, very simple questions that he's (Sierra Club) not up for discussing or debating. In fact the head of Sierra club is taking a political position instead of acting objectively.
      The environmental (product safety) movement is or "green" as most know it, has killed our industry like many others, especially when it comes to the electric sign trade, lighting components and certain sectors of our trade, in particular Neon & Fluorescent lighting. Even to force manufacturers to spend more money on products they sell i.e. ballasts and transformers just to save energy somewhere under a false notion of "Green", or saving the planet. A lot of times these new imposed regulation prices out consumers, and makes products less reliable in place for other products which are pushed by lobbyists who represent a product that under normal circumstances can't stand on their own merit, and instead need to be handicapped, and even so far as to be funded in subsidies by tax payers (you and I) because normal economics of a free market or supply and demand don't apply. Government gets to pick the winner, not the consumer.
      This Environmental movement has been backed and glorified by our own sign industry establishment base, or as we all know them...Sign Associations who have repeatedly ignored fact just like what we see in the video that has enabled outsiders to mis-characterizes and mis-lead members and help sway public opinion into the "Green" movement which is nothing more than executing statements but never fully explaining.

      There is probably no bigger fish and obstacle for the free market that road blocks everyones right to prosper than the Sierra Club who has the ability to file lawsuit after lawsuit and has the protection of our own government to fire back.
      So here they are, unable to answer a simple question much like our own establishment base because it's in THEIR best interest to not answer.
      Our good tax dollars at work against us, and keeping us from prosperity.
    • By Erik Sine
      "NLRB Ruling Threatens Sign Industry Contractor-Subcontractor Arrangements" - Article
      So I got this today and maybe I'm misinterpreting this but...
      It looks like ISA wants to come to the aid of the wrong side, AGAIN.
      First...as in most states, especially here on the west coast you can only legally subcontract when you yourself are a contractor, or licensed contractor. So when it comes to the rule of law, this is nothing new and nothing that needs to be altered. Contractors licensing laws protect the employee, employer, primary contractor, subcontractor and consumer.
      I see "Franchise" included in the article so it makes me think that ISA is trying to get some of their large base or members (FastSigns) to bypass the contractors licensing law as we've discussed here
      As a primary contractor you are solely responsible, I see what looks like word play as well, as if to cause panic or emotion. Maybe I'm getting this wrong, maybe not.
      As I've said before nothing will kill an industry faster then when you can have anyone, and that would include a Home Depot clerk to have the ability to sell, execute and subcontract a home/commercial improvement contract whether it's repair of modification and be protected from laws that a normal contractor are held under. The chain of accountability, responsibility is broken when you have a third party that is not held to the same respects as a contractor, that how most laws are written. If I'm reading this article right, ISA is trying to come to the aid of those who lack the knowledge or know how of this industry that obviously cannot get their own contractors license.
    • By Erik Sine
      Bringing America Back Home

      First I want to say that I fear for the future of the American Electric Sign Industry, this is why I say the things I do when it comes to this trade, and of course our leadership and the role their supposed to fill. I've never been accused of of holding back my feelings, so let's not give that a second thought.
      This topic has been in the making since our Vegas ISA Trip. I've been meaning to post for some time, I've written some, saved it, written some more, deleted some content and saved it all while working on sign projects and life events....and it's grown since since I've had some conversations that brought up this very same material that I've had in the back of my head. All very similar mindset so I know I'm not the only one thinking that a new movement IS needed, and very badly.
      I thought I would start this in a new forum away from the ISA Trip thread which is where at first it was going to go as a reply to a already existing topic. While being at this years show and reading a few accounts of other peoples experiences of the show that they had on site, it made me think.......because that's what I do.
      I think we can get very different opinions about what everyone sees when they go to a large sign show these days. I think if you're a sign association employee you look at the show and said..."Good turn out, how can we expand even more...". If you're a newby or someone from say the print or vehicle wrap world you said "Wow, cool LEDs and message boards!". If you're a seasoned electric sign tradesman or women you most likely said...."eh.....at least I got to see my supplier and product manufacturers in person....". Not just by what you say walking through browsing, but based on the "education" seminar line up too. I would even go so far as to say the general feelings on what's being done for the electric sign industry might be the same. Again, based on the fact if you're a seasoned, well versed individual in our unique trade.
      I think we need to draw a line that shows contrast, and show what the differences are between what the current associations are doing for the electric sign trade, and what the electric sign trade is, and what it's interests are.
      I look at ISA now and when I see the makeup it's frankly gotten too big, it's too broad and most of those that run it aren't from our trade, their from others and they cycle from one trade, to ours, and then they cycle right into another somewhere else.....and frankly their heart is NOT in the same place as ours is when it comes to OUR trade.....the electric sign trade, or...the American Electric Sign trade.
      I think it's become forgotten because there is just a lot of money in a lot of other areas when your association model becomes or is turned into a business model rather than taking a stand for the industry. The International Sign Association is acquiring and buddying up too fast to other areas that are and not related to the immediate needs of the most important aspect of the sign trade, the "Electric Sign Trade" The needs of the American Sign Companies to the needs of the American Sign Manufacturing Companies.
      Most of those seasoned people I refer too above who said the show was "...eh.." say they wish the show was separated so they wouldn't have to walk too far to see what they ONLY came to see, or to see the booths that relate to just them. That would be nice but, the show wants you to see the whole floor so they can collect that traffic and they need, that traffic to show all the exhibitors those numbers completely, even though those numbers don't really reflect who's there to really see what or who. The smart thing to do is scatter so one must tour ALL and give an opportunity for all to be visibly seen. That way later when they come up with attendance number is can be used to make all sectors think it applies to them, or maybe that's a stretch of a statement to make.
      I personally think a new association needs to be formed one day, and the framing from those fathers needs to begin today.
      I think some real intelligent like minded individuals that have experience in other sign associations, combined with component manufacturers and individuals from sign companies need to come together and meet the needs of the American Electric Sign Trade, an interest that puts American capitalism back in the forefront, and not the Asian or European model of our current. At the same time promotes our trade to the public and educates the public about what it is we do, who unique and specialized it is and what we can build. Our trade does NOT have that right now, we only have brochure mis-information that the public get blanketed with.
      I think that's what I see missing, and what I see as a big void that needs to be filled because we have a black hole forming.
      We need to show contrast and it's this.
      For the electric sign companies the trade itself is in the midst of being lost. The real education that one should be obtaining that most received of yesterday is gone. We need to get back to the basics when is comes to sign fabrication, structural, planning, light & energy engineering. Get away from the new model which is turning this trade into a commodity. We need strong leadership that truly, truly...fights regulation...not agrees, rolls with it, and figures out a way to make a program out of it to pass on down and charge their members....and instead of partnering up with other aspects of the sign industry that don't apply like screen printers, apparel, and printers, we need to partner up with other groups, watch dogs, causes, or associations that have mutual interests in staying regulation free. Regulation that interrupts the American Electric Sign Industry and robs us of our right to proser and right to happiness.
      Regulation is not going away, don't get me wrong I'm not anti- regulation nor an anarchist, I do believe we need to have moderate regulation...just not license stacked on top of license and over safety where it costs us who in turn pass it along to the consumer. The environmental product and safety movement that we have in this country is a strong powerful funded movement. Our own industry right now has large sectors that aids this movement and here we are as a whole shooting our own toes off trying to prosper at the same time killing our own future.
      Right now in some states the International Sign Association is trying to find ways to make it okay for companies who posses no contractors license, lack any kind of electric sign experience to just roll up in this industry by simply purchasing a vinyl quick stop shop and execute and sub large sign programs involving electric and architectural signs. This is happening right now in Wisconsin which was aided by their own association and it was attempted in Texas. The Texas Sign Association even had a pair and said "hell no" to that idea. We already have a bad enough issues when it comes to illegal sign contracts that involve companies posing as licensed contractors who hire legal contractors as subcontractors. A big problem for the west coast states and most others who have state contractors laws.
      The very investment of the electric sign companies who posses such a right to do business because they went through all the proper channels and avenues going from a apprenticeship to journeyman is being diminished because a particular sector of an association who has more members than the electric sign sector believes that the electric sign trade is NOT a trade, but rather a commodity? A commodity where even the Home Depot clerk and decide to execute contracts and sub out his own roofing or water heater jobs as work a 3rd party?
      This is not in the interest of the American Electric Sign Industry.
      Let's imagine the build of a new association for a minute to illustrate the differences between our current, and what our own beliefs are as a true trade that recognizes & reflects those traits that humble us. "Integrity & Tradition". We need to educate the public about what the electric sign industry can do and properly perform, what light sources can and can't do.
      To become apart of this American sign & lighting (I did sneak in "Lighting" there!) association there also has to be a strict code of conduct, and the standards and bar MUST be set high.
      Everyone has to be dept free, from the leadership to the basic member and not be behind or in debt with other members. Leadership roles need to be held to limited time, the last thing an association needs is someone who is concurrently serving in 3 to 5 different associations at once. Individuals can only serve a position once, ONCE. This again is in the best interest of our industry, and to the consumer who needs to get the correct information.
      The core or the employed of this association, from the president on down NEED to have a background in the electric sign industry, that's a requirement.
      ISA has this new Elite Program for the young and moldable "executives".
      We need to get back in touch with our more seasoned veterans of this sign industry and beg for forgiveness for pushing them aside for something greener, faster and cheaper.
      Our more experienced have a bigger key to play in all this than any of us, they hold the key to what's been forgotten, and that "character", character of this industry of a long time past. This industry needs to return to what makes America exceptional, it begins with mutual vision of hard work and values, and we can learn that best by those who came and ran this industry before us. Not by the old guard who like to keep things as they once were, nor by the few who liked to be empowered by ego.
      It's just an idea, an American idea, an idea that promotes to the public that we offer a very unique form of custom electrical advertising that is a specialty.
      This industry has a long hard road ahead if we are to maintain this as a trade and not let others who are outside of our industry dictate to us and turn it into something which it is not by executing statements about our capabilities and never fully explaining, that's the mis-information!
      We have to create our own industry standards by measuring what we know and what we work with so the public (consumers), outside groups, or government won't be clouded or mislead. When this happens in only enables the environmental, product safety movement that restricts what we do. I'm talking about coming up with a measurable standard that measures light and power, after all, isn't this what we do and build?
      No current sign associations does this, you have to ask yourself why? This is one of the most important questions of our day, seriously....ask yourself. Don't you wonder???
      If they actually did dare to create such a measurable standard that interferes with their membership advertising makeup we wouldn't be in the current mess that we are in now. We wouldn't have to rely on manufacturers, or government bureaucrats who end up misleading because they have something to sell or a reason to get more power for themselves by manufactured lies.
      If someones going to come into our industry and make a claim, it needs to be measured, and verified. This is NOT being done right now. If we can do that, it will make the integrity of our industry stronger, and in turn it will make us all more valuable. Not just to ourselves but against any regulation that might be endangering the way we do business.
      It looks like all we have done as a industry is make others outside of our industry profit as we loose. It's been this way for a while because we've given up control and given them the reigns of our own industry to those who have never spent a day in a sign shop where one has to trim cap, bend & process Neon, manage projects, stress over payroll, maintain licensing
      I believe that there are others who think as I and a few others do, maybe not completely 100%, but enough to know....to look at ourselves, at where we are and know where we have been....and know we are far from where we should be, and want that back. To leave something behind where the current residents now say "run, and get out of this industry as far as you can".
      In recent days I've had a a few conversations in person and by phone about this topic unknowing to them, they hit on some key points I've sort of hit or outlined here I've let them know what I pretty much said in this topic and most of what I've said is a big mutual concern. So this is the main reason why I'm getting this out there.
      It's not my intent to shit on our existing sign associations I think most of you know I've always had a difference of opinion on them, I'm just emphasizing the contrast in who they are, what they do versus what we need for the electrical sign trade. Their hearts and interests just aren't in it nor the same as ours, with all their other off/bi-trade acquisitions, mergers and partnerships in the print industry, garment industry and other off-shoots, coupled with the politics that goes into their membership......how can they be?
      In short, we need a new American Electrical Sign & Lighting Association that forms a rock solid wall of standards by measuring the components that we use, in lighting components and otherwise. We need to use these standards and educate the public, they need to know the strengths and weakness's of lighting and how they perform to their environment and application use. We need to promote American Companies ( & Canada), find ways to incentivize entrepreneurship, innovation, and production of products back in America and to this industry. We need to educate our trade about proper fabrication and installation of all light sources for all sign and lighting applications whether it's Neon, LEDs, Fluorescent Lamps, HIDs, etc. We need to partner up with similar groups, causes, movements, watchdog groups, and associations like the IAEI (National Electrical Inspectors Association) to fight and minimize regulation, the environmental product safety movement and increasing costs because of those factors to the consumer.
      I think I've said more than a mouthful, it's been hard to find the time to squeeze this thread in with so much work I currently have going, but here it is. Wish I had more time but I shouldn't complain.
      This Industry is looking for leadership, this industry is looking for ideas on how to bring that about, I have a few, we need others, and I think it starts with like minded individuals from various enterprises, expertise that might have a similar idea that is AESLA, or American Electrical Sign & Lighting Association.
      Anyone smell that new fresh car smell? Better get a whiff.....it only comes around once.

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