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Rochester Top 100: The sign of this firm's work is innovative design

By NATE DOUGHERTY - 7/12/2013

Paul Dudley sees ID Signsystems Inc. as more than a company making specialty signage for local and national clients.
 
The president of the Rochester-based company said instead it aims to help clients tackle problems with energy-efficient signs, bringing innovation to areas such as universities and hospitals.
 
Dudley parlayed his experience in architectural sign design in Europe to found the company in 2005. While he serves as president, his wife and business partner, Katrina Beatty, is CEO.
 
ID Signsystems has grown locally, with clients that include the University of Rochester and Unity Health System, but also has a large national client base. Close to 60 percent of the company's clients now come from outside of the Rochester area, Dudley said. He suggests that there is interest from clients outside the U.S. as well.
 
"I just came back from Geneva, Switzerland, and last year we were in Chile and Singapore for work," Dudley said.
 
The company offers a variety of products, including retail signs, custom exteriors, neon signage and custom dedication panels, along with donor recognition plaques.
 
ID Signsystems is more than typical signs, Dudley said. The company excels in specialty designs that call for innovation thinking.
 
One of its biggest innovations came in a design it created for health care settings that is meant to reduce stress in hospital patients.
 
"The way we handle signage and imagery we call 'visual cues,' and we have evidence-based research that shows the things that can lower stress in patients," he said.
 
Sign design is a particularly hardy industry, he noted. During times of recession, when other businesses struggle, ID Signsystems and other companies in its field find opportunities creating designs for organizations that go through mergers to stay afloat.
 
The results are shown in ID Signsystems' revenue, which has grown at a clip above 25 percent for the last three years. The company's employment also has grown steadily to some 20 total employees. The staff is specialized, with more than half of its employees possessing some kind of degree in design.
 
Dudley sees more room for growth in the company's key markets: universities, banks, retail and health-care settings. An increasing number of clients are asking for signs with innovative design and function, he said.
 
"We're very design-focused, and we want to help people realize their concepts," he said. "They throw fascinating challenges that push the boundaries in some respect to sign making, market factors we haven't really seen."
 
The company also has made investments in the last few years, purchasing new manufacturing equipment that has expanded its ability to deliver architectural sign designs.
 
The moves poise ID Signsystems to continue the rapid growth of the past few years, Chief Operating Officer Jeff Ureles said.
 
"We have positioned ourselves really well in that we have worked diligently in expanding our market share of health and education and institutional signage," he said. "Our retail sector has always been strong, the leader for us in the last few years, but now those other settings are growing strong as well."
 
For ID Signsystems, the growth all comes back to adhering to a simple concept, Dudley said.
 
"We don't see ourselves as just another sign company," he said. "We see ourselves as designers who make signs."
 
The Rochester Top 100 program is presented by the Rochester Business Alliance Inc. and KPMG LLP. Launched in 1987, it recognizes the fastest-growing private companies in Greater Rochester. This year's Rochester Top 100 event will be held Nov. 6. For more information, go to rochesterbusinessalliance.com.

ID Signsystems Inc.
Designs and manufactures interior and exterior architectural signage.
2012 ranking: 70
Founded: 2005
Location: Rochester
Top executive:
Katrina Beatty, CEO
Employees: 20
Website:
www.idsignsystems.com

7/12/13 (c) 2013 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.