Sign & Digital Graphics

The 2015 LED & EMC Report

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30 • June 2015 • L E D & E M C "Most sign companies rejected the concept, but being still young I saw the idea as an opportunity. I really wanted to learn more about these LEDs. About 10 years ago I began really engaging myself on the electrical side of the industry. At that point there was not a lot of experi- ence working on the electrical side of the business," he says. He networked with numerous com- panies that offered LED components and watched how the biggest sign companies were handling that side of their business. "I started to engage more in that part of the industry. I found that I was overly qualified when it came to educating cus- tomers on the benefits of using LEDs. I was one of the first companies locally to do LEDs. Most of the competition was still using neon," he says. Gardner has always tried to be ahead of the competition, whether on the printing side or the electrical side of the industry. "Because I'm young and not a multi- millionaire, I'm limited to my capabili- ties. I did what I was capable of doing: checking resources online, reaching out to other companies, doing things like that," he says. "One job led to another and I've con- tinued to grow the business from there," Gardner adds. Gardner says he tries to be the best at whatever he does. "I grew up on a farm and although my Dad is a good ol' boy, he is a very conservative-minded person when it comes to work ethic," he says. Gardner says when he got into mak- ing LED signs, he knew that the market would pick up quickly. That gave him an edge. Now, 60 percent of the com- pany focuses on electrical and 40 percent focuses on wraps and traditional signage. "I like coming to a place where every day is different. I'm not somebody who could stand the atmosphere of doing the same thing over and over again," he says. "I like that I can engage with my employees one-on-one and work closely with clients and get to know them on a personal level as well." As his company has grown, it has allowed him to take on bigger and more intricate projects that require more thought behind the design. "One thing in particular I would say separates us from the competition is that we have constantly sought jobs that allow us to be creative," he says. Some of his bigger clients include Firehouse Subs and Tropical Smoothie Cafe. Gardner's early adoption of LEDs has

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