The Last Word: Thrive on challenges


David Drury

President and CEO
Poblocki Sign Company
922 S. 70th St., West Allis
Number of employees: 146
Coolest thing about the company: “Poblocki has been decorating Milwaukee’s signage landscape since 1932 with signs like Miller Park, Quarles & Brady and Summerfest.”

In today’s turbulent economy, the ability to meet fast-approaching deadlines with creative solutions has become even more critical, according to David Drury, president and CEO of Poblocki Sign Co. During its more than 75 years in business, the company has developed a culture driven by those challenges. The firm’s employees are routinely asked to design, manufacture and install orders for some of the toughest customers to please around the Midwest.


“We remain undaunted. It’s a reflection of our culture. People here have always been eager to take on tough assignments together. And that shows up in everything we do, day-to-day and week-to-week.

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“For example, in late June 2008, a Fortune 500 forestry products company asked us to help them complete the sale of a division. As a condition of the purchase, the buyer, another Fortune 500 company, wanted its logo and name on new signs at each of 114 locations across North America. And they wanted it done in just five weeks – compared to the two to six months such a project would normally take. Like we’ve done so many times before, our people jumped right in. We obtained permits from over 100 communities, designed and manufactured over 500 signs and installed them all by the Aug. 1 deadline.

“We had a large law firm customer in Chicago that was taking occupancy of a new space and they needed to have their signs installed after a Friday night when the building closed for the weekend. They needed to be done by Monday morning. And we had our people working there for long hours in the middle of the night, straight through from Friday to Monday.

“To do this, we have a lot of recognition for our employees. We give them lots of praise and we pay them well for what they’re doing. And when you do this, people go above and beyond.

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“Embracing high-priority, faced-paced work is essential in today’s world and we’ve evolved our people, infrastructure and systems to quickly react and reprioritize workload as these types of jobs come in. Even in today’s economy where work is harder to come by, the pace at which we’re expected to deliver has not let up. As a matter of fact, clients expect jobs even quicker. This keeps our employees motivated to continually ask themselves if there is a better, more productive way to perform their work.”

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