Gold medalist Julie Quiñones led Comet Signs’ installation of 9,000 square feet of vinyl at the Port of Galveston.
For several years, Sign Builder Illustrated has been recognizing and celebrating the achievements of young sign makers in the industry through its annual feature in the magazine and additional website content that showcases their exceptional work.
In a departure from our traditional approach of selecting a group of young professionals to feature, this year we introduced a competitive element – the Top Young Sign Makers competition. We received a remarkable forty-five nominations from individuals across the globe, each submitting three images of their nominee’s outstanding work from the past year, accompanied by a brief description of what distinguishes them as a Top Young Sign Maker.
The submissions featured an array of impressive signs for renowned brands, from Coca-Cola to Royal Caribbean. Anecdotes from managers, co-workers, owners, family, and friends poured in, making the selection process challenging. After careful consideration, we identified three outstanding under-forty professionals in the sign industry who are truly making waves and breaking new ground. They will be awarded our inaugural Gold, Silver, and Bronze awards this year, along with two honorable mentions.
This competition not only highlights the incredible talent within the industry but also signifies a new era of recognition for the next generation of leaders and innovators in the field of sign making.
Gold Medalist: Julie Quiñones, 35Manufacturing Operations Manager – Comet Signs
Julie Quiñones often runs the show during big projects at Comet Signs as the Manufacturing Operations Manager. She’s worked her way up the ranks using her work ethic and versatility to become a leader in the workplace.
“She leads production teams including assembly, print and vinyl, and logistics,” says Mikal Harn, Chief Operating Officer, Comet Signs. “Her leadership skills and ability to deliver great projects is invaluable to the success of our business and to Comet Signs customers.”Quiñones developed her work ethic as a child on her family’s farm in a small town, where her father told her and her siblings that they had to care for the family property (including many farm animals) daily, even as kids.
“My parents are the sole reason for my work ethic and determination. My father taught us the value of a dollar, hard work, determination, and having a ‘no excuses’ attitude,” says Quiñones. “He always said we couldn’t eat until our animals were fed; we had to do our chores before we were able to hang out with friends or have any kind of fun. I’ll admit, at the time, I wasn’t happy with these rules, but hindsight is 20/20. Now I realize I was learning life lessons that would set up my future.”
LED-illuminated rebranding effort featuring routed letters.
Illuminated logo with halo-lit LED letters.
Silver Medalist: Elizabeth Arenella Toynes, 38Co-Founder – Studio Dzo
Elizabeth Arenella Toynes was raised in an entrepreneurially motivated home as her father was running his own sign shop while his wife, an attorney, ran her own firm.
Architectural signage for Torre, a high-end student housing project.
Cute Nail Studio, an Instagram-famous nail shop in Austin, came to Studio Dzo with an “Old Austin meet Kawaii” idea and Elizabeth and her team delivered.
Arenella Toynes worked on reverse-lit channel letter signs for the lobby of Indeed’s “Champion” location.
Bronze Medalist: Zac Bethel, 32Senior Sign Maker – House of Signs
Bethel and his team are able to achieve weather-proof, hyper-detailed signage.
House of Signs installed a sign for South Park Cigar & Tavern, which just happens to be the highest cigar shop in North America.
Water Dance is a neighborhood in the area that was graced with a House of Signs custom sign design.
Honorable Mention: Corey Shano, 32Project Manager/Vice President – Associated Sign Company
Shano and his team make their mark on the Phoenix area with striking illuminated signage.
Honorable Mention: Brittany Gacsy, 36Executive Director of Project Management – Sign Producers Inc.
Gacsy and her team may very well have designed the signage for your favorite rides!