Going into this summer internship, I had very few expectations. But, the expectations I did have were quickly enhanced within my first week at North American Signs (NAS). Both Iris and I were presented with countless opportunities to explore various avenues of the business.
From the very first day, both Iris and I felt welcomed at NAS. Going around and meeting all of the friendly faces that make up the company was one of the first indicators of what type of environment we would be working in. People were welcoming and open to any questions we may come across throughout the summer. I could tell how invested John, the CEO and owner, was by knowing the employee’s names and the role they played in the company. John also wanted to make clear that our time here was supposed to be both beneficial to NAS and to us. From the very first week, he asked us what opportunities we were hoping to have during the internship.
Learning the Industry
Within the first week or two, John gave both Iris and I a few assignments. He did this knowing we would have an ample amount of time to read through the signage textbooks he gave us. At first, I did not understand the point to reading the textbooks, but I later realized how important they were. Neither Iris nor I had any experience or exposure in the industry. Such a vital part of a business’ advertising and marketing is almost nonexistent in any marketing textbook. The readings provided knowledge on the importance of commercial signage, sign design, the economic value of signs, and much more. After absorbing the information from the readings, we were ready to dive into our assignments.
While I focused on blog posts and researching new business endeavors, Iris was in charge of designing things such as info graphics and other marketing materials. We were able to work together on some projects and learn from each other’s expertise. Though Iris was a little nervous coming in without a business background, she has learned a lot and enjoyed her time here. “I was a bit worried I would be useless seeing as I haven’t taken any business classes in my life. But, I have learned so much about business just being in the environment. I have really enjoyed my internship and I think it has given me a lot.”
Though we learned a lot in the office, our favorite part of the summer was attending the Midwest Sign Association conference in Cincinnati. We had the opportunity to attend a board of directors meeting and multiple seminars on how to build a company. These were events most people do not experience until graduating college. The best part of the trip was going to the American Sign Museum for dinner. It is truly one of the great treasures of the sign industry. Filled with various signs, the museum creates the exciting and unique atmosphere which signs have continually built for businesses throughout the years.
Needless to say, Iris and I developed skills that can be used in various future endeavors. From writing blog posts to designing marketing materials, we have learned a lot about the industry and ourselves. Through our many opportunities over the summer, we have grown into better students, employees, and people.