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2024 Women in Signs: Brandi Pulliam Blanton

Her industry approach emphasizes education and emotional intelligence.

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“I always found it funny with management that they only require your basic level of psychology, but any level of management requires you to deal with people” — BLANTON

Power couple Brandi Pulliam. Blanton with her husband, Dutchie.

Power couple Brandi Pulliam. Blanton with her husband, Dutchie. | VP of operations, Agnew Sign & Awning (West Monroe, LA)

BRANDI PULLIAM BLANTON has determined her path in the sign industry since her school days. She started working at Agnew Sign & Awning part-time to full-time, depending on her course schedule, from before high school all the way through college. Upon graduating from the University of Louisiana at Monroe, she transitioned wholly to full time. Since then she has worked in practically every department at Agnew, from graphics to accounting to sales, and everything between.

Blanton holds a degree in general studies, but she basically majored in business and minored in psychology, she says. With a firm belief in the importance of education, she holds that the curriculum for business management should place more emphasis on psychology. “I always found it funny with management that they only require your basic level of psychology, but any level of management requires you to deal with people,” she explains.

CRAFT BREW: The Flying Tiger Brewery in Monroe, LA, one of Blanton’s proudest projects.

Blanton sees the lack of formal education as one of the main challenges in the sign industry, where a lot of knowledge is self-taught or acquired through talking to the right people. Another challenge is the lack of standardization between colors and materials, for which Blanton is devising a color-matching database. A third obstacle is being a woman in a male-dominated field and the struggle to gain respect from both male colleagues and clients.

“You end up dealing with a lot of clients that, because you’re a woman, they don’t want to respect your knowledge or understand that you have more knowledge than they do,” Blanton says, noting that this knowledge also earns her credibility. “I have a lot of male clients that don’t want to deal with anybody but me, because I have to work harder to learn the industry because I’m female.”

As a Mid-South Sign Association scholarship recipient and Elite alumna, Blanton encourages other women to step outside of their job descriptions. “It’s okay to be uncomfortable and grow — that’s the only way you’re gaining more knowledge,” she says. The best advice she has ever received concerns flexibility as well: “You’re never too big to sweep the floor.”

Blanton has also worked with other members of the Mid-South Elite class in pinpointing protocols that can help their female staff, ensuring consistent communication and their safety in the field. Outside of signage, Blanton teaches self-defense courses to women, including those who have physical limitations that make learning self-defense more difficult.

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Blanton is glad to see more women in the sign industry and in more diverse positions: as welders, fabricators, painters, project managers and leaders. “I’ve always joked about women making good project managers because we’re more detail-oriented than men, but there are so many areas where being detail-oriented plays in our favor,” Blanton says.

Still, she hopes to see the industry grow even further, with more women stepping into leadership roles and the younger generation getting more involved across the board. She wants to see female employees being recognized at an association level, which could help promote the association alongside the women leaders within it.

“I think we have a very interesting and wide range in the industry,” Blanton remarks. “There’s a lot to learn in it and a lot of places for women to fit.”

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