This is the first seminar I have known to be offered to code officials in my 25 years. Hope it is not the last. Thanks.
- MA Building Inspector
The Northeast States Sign Association Sign Code Seminar Program, SIGN CODES: Understanding for Planning, was presented to 92 code enforcement officials and planners along with several sign company attendees at an all-day training program on March 5, 2009. The Seminar Program took place in Sturbridge, Massachusetts and was held on the same date as the Massachusetts Sign Association's 2009 New England Sign Expo. This great turnout was due in part to the efforts of the Massachusetts Building Inspectors Association president, Jeff Richards, and the help of the President of the Massachusetts Sign Association, Joe Hamel, who is also an NSSA Director.
The seminar presentation was funded by a grant from the International Sign Association (ISA) Funding Assistance Program. These grants are awarded to the regional associations of ISA in support of programs to benefit the sign industry. NSSA's Board of Directors, under the leadership of NSSA Board President, Suzanne King, developed this program to be an unbiased educational workshop focusing on how communities and sign companies can work together to improve business and ensure safety. This training is beneficial to planners, zoning administrators, economic developers, design review board members, city/town council members, city and state officials, sign company personnel and business owners.
NSSA presented its first one-day workshop in May 2006 in Rhode Island and has since presented in New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts. The goal of this workshop is to provide guidance to sign company owners and local community officials as they work to develop appropriate and reasonable ordinances and regulations to promote economic development, public safety and the appropriate appearance of commercial signage. NSSA advocates the development and use of objective evidencebased guidelines that local leaders, building inspectors and code enforcement officials can utilize as they formulate sign ordinances, building codes and appearance criteria.
The presenters were able to cover a wide range of information. Ray Denault of Twin State Signs started off the day with a presentation entitled Definition of a Sign, which covered the purpose of signs, sign types, illumination options and variations in sign faces. There was an opportunity for questions. Several attendees mentioned that this was an informative presentation and that the discussion of illumination was especially helpful. Darrin Conroy from the New York State Small Business Development Center presented Value of Signs: The Small Business Perspective.
Ninety-seven code enforcement officials and sign company owners attended an all-day training program, SIGN CODES: Understanding for Planning, presented by NSSA.
Ray Denault defined different types of signage and methods of illumination to code enforcement officials, inspectors and planners, opening a discussion of specifications for readability and safety.
One attendee admitted that he had never made the connection that business owners need a sign to establish, grow and stay in business. NSSA Director, Jeffrey Bauman, of Electro-Matic Products, presented Demystifying Electronic Message Centers. He discussed the fundamentals of on-premise EMC's and answered several questions concerning safety issues. Ken Peskin, ISA's manager of State and Local Government Affairs, discussed Legal Issues Involved with Sign Codes.
This segment of the presentation opened up the floor to a lively discussion with several towns code officers asking specific questions in reference to actual code ordinances. Ken possesses a wealth of knowledge and was able to cite case studies and outcomes across a broad range of situations.
He presented two sample codes from two Massachusetts cities. Ken also discussed the two new model sign code handbooks that are about to be published. He offered to make them available to attendees in PDF format as soon as they are ready through ISA. ISA supplied attendees with a CD and several publications on on-premise signage as part of the grant to fund the seminar, and the NYSSBDC allowed Darrin Conroy to distribute a signage publication funded by them as part of an NSSA grant.
Attendees traveled from the east and west of Massachusetts to attend the day-long program in historic Sturbridge. Funding also made it possible to include a light breakfast and full luncheon. Many attendees took advantage of the Sign Expo that was being held at the same time and were able to ask vendors specific questions concerning sign products. Membership in ISA by sign companies and sign product manufacturers provides the funding that makes this type of presentation possible. The International Sign Association is a 2,600 member organization comprised of manufacturers, users and suppliers of on-premise signs and sign products from the 50 U.S. states and 54 additional countries. Through its allied relationships with business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the SBA and the New York State Small Business Development Council, ISA has developed a wealth of resources aimed at educating city officials and sign code regulators of the benefits of signage to local communities. The Northeast States Sign Association's mission is to promote safety and professionalism to the sign industry through education and training. NSSA strives to fulfill this mission and bring value to its membership by continuing to develop this seminar series to enhance local government efforts to ensure safety and promote the economy.
Good presentation to new technology and where signage is headed. Great seminar, excellent materials, great presenters.
- MA Building Official