Experienced CEOs share core principles for successful sign company management
By Bill Dundas
Launching, managing and growing a sign business entails a huge time commitment and attention to innumerable details. But it’s the force of the CEO’s strategic vision which truly represents the key resource sustaining a company year after year and guiding its development. First and foremost, any successful business venture requires continuous examination and evaluation of the organization’s ongoing performance. As a former owner and manager of a regional sign company and, more recently, in connection with my previous work for the International Sign Association (ISA), I’ve had the good fortune to be in a position to pick the brains of some leading sign industry figures on various management topics.
Kevin Stotmeister is president and CEO of Federal Heath (Oceanside, CA), one of the largest national sign manufacturers in the US. He began his sign industry career in 1980 when he went to work for the former, Chicago-based Federal Sign Company. A registered professional engineer with an educational background both in engineering and business administration (MBA), Stotmeister advanced through the firm’s ranks until 2003, when Federal Sign merged with Heath Sign Company and Kevin was appointed to his current position.
Steve Kieffer is the retired former CEO of Kieffer & Company Inc. (Sheboygan, WI). Steve began working in the industry at the tender age of 15. After his graduation from college, Steve spent some time as a salesman and later worked as a sign installation and service mechanic. He then moved on to positions with multinational firms in credit management, finance and internal consulting. During that period, Steve earned his MBA, returning to the sign business in 1978 where he worked until his retirement in 2008.
Mike Lauretano, Sr. is chairman of Lauretano Sign Group (Terryville, CT), a national sign manufacturer. In 2016, the company observed its 70th year of operation, and Mike has worked in the business for 45 of those years.
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