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Women in Signs

Mettle Tested, Elizabeth Minaise Grows into Leadership Role at Family’s Signshop

After family adversity thrust new responsibility upon her, she stepped up to the challenge.

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Job: Project Manager and Partner, SignCraft Premier Identity Solutions Inc. (Roseburg, OR)

THERE ARE FAMILY-OWNED sign companies, and there are family-owned sign companies. Elizabeth Minaise can vouch for that distinction. One of 12 children, Minaise — a first-generation American; her father is an Armenian-Lebanese immigrant — and most of her siblings work for SignCraft Premier Identity Solutions. Entering the family business was likely an inevitability for Minaise, but after her father — who originally purchased the business — fell ill five years ago, Minaise and her older sister, Leanora, were thrust into leadership positions. “I put aside everything and focused on the company and survival,” she said. “It was unnerving and it was a lot of learning on the way. I saw my father in that role, so I was able to get a picture of what it was like. But definitely a different experience, being the one who does it. Putting aside personal feelings of whether I could, I just basically did it.”

As part of her homeschool studies growing up, Minaise took up violin when she was 10, eventually playing in orchestras, chamber orchestras and a workshop with the Portland Youth Philharmonic. Minaise believes her musical background instructed her in the “art of perseverance” and prepared her for figuratively and literally sitting in her father’s chair. “Playing within a group setting has taught me the principle of togetherness, relying on one another to create the better whole,” she said. “The imperativeness of each individual together as a group giving their utmost in skill, knowledge and dedication to create something beautiful.” In addition to music, and the arts as a whole, the study of language and words was a central foundation for Minaise and her siblings in their home education. “I can see now that my study in these areas was preparing me for a role in the sign industry,” Minaise said, “the study of communicating through art, words and design.”

Five years later, SignCraft has been incorporated and expanded beyond real-estate signs into channel letters, vehicle graphics, exterior building signs, monument and pylon signs, and more. With her father healthy again, Minaise can focus on her role as project manager — she’s also a partner in the company, along with four of her siblings — which keeps her involved in all aspects of the business, ensuring each job is running smoothly as SignCraft continues to expand its horizons. “As far as growth goes, we’d all agree that each day is a miracle. That’s been amazing,” Minaise said. “The crews are constantly traveling and servicing throughout Oregon. … I’m not really sure there’s any area we haven’t covered yet.”

Minaise has also been instrumental in getting SignCraft involved in the community, working on American Legion projects and for other military-based organizations, as well as the Hope Clinic for Women and the Roseburg Rotary Club’s annual Festival of Lights, the latter of which involves programming the leaderboard (which Minaise does herself every night in November and December). “I love building relationships and building our little empire,” Minaise said. “I like working with my father and being a part of Roseburg. It’s been an amazing opportunity to grow up here and I’m privileged to be a part of the company.”

Grant Freking is Signs of the Times' Managing Editor. Contact him at [email protected].

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