By Erik Sine
Bristol, PA - - The United States Sign Council recently chose Wendy Kern of Bartush Signs located in Orwigsburg, PA to receive the prestigious Andrew D. Bertucci Memorial Award for Service Above Self. The Bertucci Award is presented only when an individual within the organization shows extraordinary devotion to the Sign Council and whose work has made a significant contribution toward the betterment of the sign industry. The award is only presented when outstanding service needs to be recognized.
Wendy Kern truly exemplifies the term “service above self”. A member of the USSC Board of Directors for six years, Wendy has served as President of the Board in 2013 & 2014. She’s been active on numerous committees including the “Leadership Team” in 2016. At the Sign World show she can be found at the exhibit hall door saying “hello” and handing out calendars and in the USSC booth answering your questions and giving out door prizes.
Kern is also a member of the UL Sign Industry Business Panel, attending meetings to review and discuss business issues related to sign industry members and UL Standards which control and affect a sign company’s ability to do business. All of these activities on behalf of the USSC involve numerous conference calls and in-person meetings throughout the year.
The award is named for Andrew Bertucci who was one of the original founders of the Eastern States Sign Council. Bertucci combined his extraordinary talents to assist in bringing together this first diverse group of leaders and to form what today has become the largest organization of independent sign shops in the nation - - the United States Sign Council.
In 2017 the Sign World Show will once again be hosted in Atlantic City, NJ - - save these dates and mark your calendar - - November 30, December 1 & 2.
The United States Sign Council is an association of sign professionals dedicated to providing research and education to all who are involved in the sign industry. Membership is open to any person or firm concerned with the advancement of the sign industry, particularly as such advancement impacts professional growth, positive public perception, and on-going educational and training programs. Contact the USSC at 215 785-1922 or www.ussc.org.
By Erik Sine
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
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.
A NEW JOURNEY
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.
By Erik Sine
I don't know what it is about our very own International Sign Association but they continually get it wrong when it comes to anything electric either in our very own electric sign industry or even when it comes to generally lighting.
ISA just posted this Forbes article on their Facebook page with an added
"Have you noticed that city skylines look a little different at night?
I am noticing....
I'm noticing your continual lack of understanding and being able to decipher someones marketing points and doctored images to sell a products which lies about return on investment. Why does ISA have such a hard-on for anything LEDs or renewable energy? They seem to always orgasm on marketing done by others but don''t themselves have the clear ability to know when to pullout and get a grip on what's fiction and what's not. Their not interested in anything conventional.
This all comes down to like I've been saying for years now and I'm proven right time and time again and this just emphasizes my point. When it comes to the International Sign Associations core group of the employed, the individuals who run the non-profit as a business they have no real background in our electric sign industry, or lighting background. Instead all we are left with as our leadership are individuals who only know how to run a business but not a trade. You have individuals from other areas, and they themselves might not even have real "know how" of that area in which they came. We have individuals that came from the plastics industry, the LED industry, maybe even someone from the lift-gate sales industry. We just had one come from the plastics industry, here into the sign industry then off into the pool and spa industry????? Just because you served in the plastics industry in the employment of a non-profit association doesn't mean you are validated about truly having knowledge about the plastic industry beyond being able to recite marketing points that were handed down to you.
Which leads us to our trade.
It's not good for our leadership to be composed of individuals who have no clear understating of what it is we do since they are not one of "us", nor understand how we survive and how we serve our customers. Instead the International Sign Association want to dictate to us, and enable government to pick winners where us the losers, pay out. I find it troubling in the areas in which they choose to support, or which area they choose to omit .
So, back to the Forbes article obligation piece.
This one line is a killer guaranteed to get a chuckle out of you. Keep in mind of Forbes audience and target, it's just the general public and investors. But the new marketing fear to switch over to LEDs is not that they can feed starving Cambodian Children or help out in world peace, but this time it's that LEDs help prevent "Breast Cancer".
Careful! Don't spit your coffee on your keyboard, but yes you did read that right!
So let's cut through all the Forbes article BS on return on investment and saving women from breast cancer and get to the meat of it.
Let's look at the cool slider option.
Before After 1 - As they want you to see it. How ISA wants to paint in your head.
Looks good to to the average reader who has never even picked up or measured light right?
Let's no look at it in the realm of reality.
Before After 2 - As you should understand.
I've circled some areas that are not affected by the public LED lighting, and what photographic filter are doing, or changes in the camera are not the same showing favorable lighting. Shadows and areas that were once lit up are now shadows and darkened.
Overcast skies always cause glare of light again showing favorable lighting for the after shot which has no overcast skies
Before After 3 - As they want you to see it. How ISA wants to paint in your head.
Again, the wow factor. Let's spend 4 times more to get less in return.
Before After 4 - As you should understand.
Now, let's rip off the cover from our eyes and really take a look at what we really are being shown. Usually a good place marker for these before and after pics that I've debunked over and over in the past is to look at background signs. Cleverly the pole sign in the before pic is cropped out. But we can see that the pole sign to the far right down the street is over exposed showing favorable light for the "after".
Also, another dead ringer that this is a over exposed after shot is the fact that the store to the left. Their window sign illumination is now splashed on the street whereas in the high sodium pressure lights is not present.
In closing, I'm in so cal so I'm very aware of the fact that all out old merc vapor lighting which worked wonderfully in the past before they got switched to HPS lights was so they don't interfere with the observatories. I don't believe in the HPS lighting because of the problems it causes with crime and the fact that their to low in light output and change colors but merc vapor lighting would be so much more brighter and cost a lot less. As a taxpayer, I am very upset and we here in California wonder why all the business's leave our state with no incentive to stay.
Well, another one where the International Sign Association falls short in an area in which they consciously choose to support instead of telling all like it is, in truth.
LEDs are great in some areas and not so great in others. I myself like to use them when the application calls out for it, but the International Sign Association has no understanding of the when, the why, and nor do they care.
By Erik Sine
Why is it that every Sign Association is filled with a bunch of "Do Nothings" who are regurgitates/throwbacks from one Sign Association after the other??? Or serving in multiple Associations at once???? They pride themselves in turning government regulation into a profitable program for themselves for all to assimilate to INSTEAD of doing what's right for the industry they represent, AND fighting it! Are they all from France??? Seriously!
Who is DUMB enough to spend money to PROVE they are green???? I thought it was just a MARKETING term to throw out at the ignorant public all to sell a good or service? NOW it really exists??? I'd like to have one DEFINE Green, what makes you Green? Compared to?
U.L.-E or U.L. - Environment, It's such a failed program where even the UL inspectors don't even want part in, or even understand it!!!. Are the ice caps melting or not? It the earth warming or cooling??? Can man shift nature???? We just discovered the scientist that claimed polar bears were dying because of man made global warming was lying the whole time, and now he's in federal custody for fraud. So what is it? Now we NEED mythical studies to study a myth??? An this our Associations cozy up too? Is this the reason why they are against the new Office of Government Ethics proposed law???? (Stay tune for this one in a separate thread)
I will never buy a UL-E product because I know I will have to pay more to do so, all costs get passed down. KNowing Green is the new communist red I will buy from their competition who doesn't use Marketing statements, (something that is executed and never explained)
The latest is California Sign Associations proud announcement of UL Green Leaf listing. Expect more since the Sign Hugger is in charge with more Marketing barrages and a stick of broccoli in mouth.