Herbst learns sign business
By ELISA SAND, Staff Reporter
Mark Herbst is learning a new line of business with his position as plant manager of Persona in Madison.|
Herbst and his wife Pam moved to Madison in January from Baton Rouge, La., where he was project manager at Ferrara Fire Apparatus Project. Prior to that, he worked for a company building fiberglass boats in South Carolina.
Herbst said adjusting to the weather here has been a challenge, as has been life in a small community. Baton Rouge boasts a population of 300,000 in the city and another 200,000 in the surrounding communities.
Originally from a much smaller community in Wisconsin located south of Green Bay, however, Herbst said, he's familiar with weather in the Midwest. His wife is originally from Louisiana.
With jobs primarily in the fire truck and boat businesses, Herbst said he's been learning about signs.
"Learning the product has been a learning curve," he said.
So far, however, he's been impressed with not only the company but also the workforce in Madison.
Persona specializes in sign manufacturing for a variety of companies that include hotel chains and fast-food restaurants. The company has locations in Madison and Watertown.
Herbst said the company weathered the economic downturn well with steady business, and is currently focusing on improving the efficiency of the company to stay competitive.
"We're always bidding new companies," he said. "We're trying to help the people be efficient -- work smarter, not harder."
Madison's company has plenty of room to grow. Herbst said there are currently about 62 employees, including a small second-shift crew of seven that could be expanded to accommodate future growth.
Herbst said his management style has had to grow and adjust over the years, but he sees himself as a manager who tries to be more proactive than reactive.