In her own words: Valerie Rothe, Traffic Builders owner
Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Tell us about your company.
Valerie Rothe: We make signs and provide sign services. We provide local builders and apartments, sign spinners or human directionals. We also place directional signs on the weekends for many of those same clients. We make all types of banners and signs (except electrical signs), and try to match any Internet pricing (our largest competitor). Our specialty is screen printing. We are the only screen printer of signs in northern Nevada and we are anxiously anticipating the upcoming political season. I employ up to 30 people a week. This is a family business; my son Sean helps me run the business along with his wife Shelby, who is our office manager. They are expecting a future little sign maker in May!
NNBW: What role do you play in the company?
Rothe: Sales, screen printer, bookkeeper, janitor, mom.
NNBW: How did you get into this business?
Rothe: I was in the marketing area of the building industry and used a lot of the services I provide. I thought it would be a great “little” service business and it grew from there … and then we had to shift our focus to the apartment industry when the building industry failed. It’s been challenging and we are happy to see small signs (no pun intended) of recovery.
NNBW: What are some of the skills and abilities necessary for someone to succeed in this job?
Rothe: Some of the technical skills needed include knowledge of the design program Adobe Illustrator, an eye for detail, a love of design. You need to enjoy working with people and have patience. We love seeing our finished product, knowing it will help our customers increase foot traffic to their place of business or bring attention to whatever it is they are marketing.
NNBW: If you could have had any other profession what would it have been? Why wasn’t it your first choice?
Rothe: I don’t even want to go there as I love what I’m doing now.
NNBW: What are some of the important trends you see in your industry?
Rothe: Digital printing is becoming more affordable and accessible in every aspect of signage. (Screen printing is still by far the most cost-effective method for mass producing signs). Energy efficiency in the lighted sign arena with LED technology is incredible. The manufacturers are coming out with more and more biodegradable sign substrate products.
NNBW: What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Rothe: Being with friends, hiking, movies, shows and travel.
NNBW: Have any advice for someone who wants to enter your profession?
Rothe: This is advice for any profession. Love what you do and give 100 percent. Be pro-active in your own success because it is all up to you.
NNBW: Would you rather be younger, thinner, richer or smarter? Why?
Rothe: Thinner … because it’s healthier and looks better.
NNBW: What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Rothe: Stay positive and know you can do it if you put your mind to it!
NNBW: What are five things you can’t live without?
Rothe: My kids, my grandkids, my car, my dogs, a positive outlook on life!
NNBW: If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why would you want it?
Rothe: Flying. Why? Because it’s pure freedom … and I could see my daughter and grandkids in Maryland all the time, or zip over to London for lunch at nice cafe or Mount Fuji or Costa Rica … I’d love it!
NNBW: What does the content of your refrigerator say about you?
Rothe: I’m relatively healthy. I save but don’t really ever finish leftovers and I should really clean that fridge out!
Name: Valerie Rothe, owner of Traffic Builders Signs and Graphics
How long have you been in this job? Five years
How long in the profession? Five years
Education: Some college
Best book you’ve read? Lord of the Rings Trilogy
What’s on your iPod? Games and lots of music
The best movie ever? There are too many to single out just one
Spouse, kids or pets? No spouse (looking), two kids-grown, three dogs
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