Alumni in Print—Where Are They Now?

The Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation is publishing profiles featuring some of their more than 6000 former scholarship recipients. This series gives you an up close and personal insight into the thoughts and motivations of the former students who are a part of our industry today. As our current employees reach retirement and leave, replacing them becomes an increasingly important factor for many companies. Here is one story…

A Profile

Jaclyn Brunkhorst attended the University of Central Missouri Warrensburg, Missouri. She studied Graphic Arts Technology Management with an Emphasis in Design School of Science and Technology, Graduating in December of 2010.

How did you first get interested in the graphic arts, or decide to focus on graphic communications in school?

I took a couple of computer design courses in high school and went on a college tour to the Graphic Design department. It sparked my interest as something I’d want to learn more about.

Did you take any courses in high school that were related to graphic communications, or that prepared you for your planned career?

I took classes related to graphic communications as well as participating in FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America). They have several design competitions that I participated in.

How do you think going through your education process prepared you for the workforce?

I think it prepared me for the work force by giving me real world education and learning with hands-on situations. We would tour printing facilities to see the presses and procedures we were learning about in class, in action. It really helped me to have everything sink in. Especially with this industry, textbooks and power points can only take you so far, the rest is hands-on and diving in head first.

In the Workforce Today

What company are you working for now and what types of products and services do they provide to their customers?

The company I work for is called Grimco. I was located in our headquarters in Fenton, Missouri for about 4 years, and most recently I am in Seattle, Washington. We have over 45 locations nationwide. Our company is a wholesale sign manufacturer, and we sell anything and everything to make signs, vehicle graphics, store front displays, outdoor signage, bill boards, etc. We have a technical department that installs the commercial digital HP and Epson roll to roll and flatbed printers for customers. We calibrate them, train the customers on how to use them and the RIP software, as well as some design software. As technicians, we help them configure best layout and prepare their artwork for the final application of the material printed. i.e. Tiled images for wall murals, print and cut decals, vehicle graphics, ganged up jobs, etc.

What job did you first have with the company when you started, what position do you have now, and/or what else have you done since joining the company?

When I first started with the company, I was a technician. I have now been certified by HP, Epson, Onyx, and Flexi through their training courses. Currently I am doing part-­‐time technical work with my company, as well as working with sales support in scheduling the future installs that our technicians do, as well as managing the group with another individual.

What do you think employers are looking for in today’s workforce and the current industry environment?

Employers are definitely looking for quick learners, someone who is willing to work hard and step up with responsibility to learn and do what it takes to succeed. The industry is constantly changing and evolving. So to have someone on your team and in your company that can foresee those changes and account for them, weaving while everyone else is dodging, is a really great asset.

Is there anything that you have found to be particularly different from what you initially expected, now that you’ve progressed through your work career for a period of time?

The whole signage industry was something I was completely unaware of when I was in college. But it is a billion-­‐dollar segment, and a completely competitive market. Everywhere you look there is a sign, and someone produced it. I think that took me by complete surprise.

Have you changed your plans or ideas about what area or type of job you might like to have since you first considered the graphic communications field and began studying for a career in it?

I studied Graphic Design and thought that I would get a position doing that for a company upon graduation. Now that I am in the signage industry, there are definitely more avenues that I could take that I would see myself enjoying. HP and Epson have unbelievable demo facilities and the possibilities are really endless for finding something you will enjoy doing. I think I could definitely see myself staying in the signage industry for many years.

Was being a recipient of a PGSF scholarship important, or did it have an impact on your future or ability to succeed in the industry?

Being a recipient of PGSF scholarship was very important to me. It impacted me in a financial and educational way. It made me strive to do the very best I could in school and my extracurricular activities, knowing that it would be beneficial to me and my future.