A Day in the Life: Zack Weddle

signsmiths of tx team feature wylie tx

Our Production Manager, Zack, makes magic happen at the shop day in and day out. From awe-inspiring design work to technical installations, he does it all.

Find out how he gets his day started, what he does to avoid the 2 pm crash, and what keeps him up at night.

Early bird, or snoozer? Tell us about your morning routine.

My alarm goes off at 7am, but I typically can’t force myself out of bed until 7:30ish. The morning routine consists of checking my digital newsfeed, cuddling with the dogs, and talking to my wife about our weird dreams last night, followed by a frenzy of getting dressed, throwing together a boring lunch, and letting the dogs out as fast as possible.

What’s the first thing you tackle at the shop? Tell us about the start to your workday.

My first step is filling in my timesheet and turning on the radio. Then I check email for responses from previous days inquiries and have a quick discussion with Mallory about priorities for the day, then it’s off to the races.

What tools or systems do you use to manage your to do list?

We use a dry erase board for high-priority projects, in conjunction with a projector that displays all current work orders via Trello.

By late morning, what have you accomplished? What headaches have you possibly run into?

Hopefully by 11:00, I’ve got through half of my workload for the day and pleased a few customers with some inspiring layouts or uniquely designed signs.

There are always a few headaches, mainly machine jams, faulty software, or missing files. There may even be a literal headache in the mix.

Lunch break? Or scarf down a month old granola bar from the bottom of your desk?

Lunch break for sure! Occasionally my days will be so busy that I work right through lunch, or just grab a bite of something in passing. But most days I make it a priority to take a quick mental break and get off my feet for a bit.

What’s next? How are you avoiding the 2:00 crash? How are you staying focused?

After lunch, I’ll finish whatever I took a break from to eat or I’ll go back to review the task list. Most days I’m occupied enough to avoid the mid-afternoon crash. On a slower day I make sure to keep moving, taking advantage of physical activities like cleaning up the shop, to combat that overwhelming urge to just pass out on the floor.

How fast did your day go? What’s left to tackle before the end of the day?

Lately, we’ve been busy enough that time flies by. Most days, my days go too fast and I’m trying to beat the clock. So, by the end of the day, it’s nothing but a deep focus and effort to wrap up a project.

When does your day wrap up? Any last minute, close-up items before you head home?

Usually I’ll wrap up between 4:30 – 5:00, depending on when I got to the shop that morning, or how long of a lunch I took.

If I don’t have any messages from Mallory regarding a last minute design or yard sign, then I’ll go through the usual closing procedures – machine positioning, set temperature, security system, lockup, and driveway gate.

What’s waiting at home?

My two beautiful dogs always welcome me like I’ve been gone for days.

Sometimes I’ll tackle a few small chores around the house before the wifey gets home, otherwise I’ll play a couple of rounds of Tekken online (fighting game) until she gets in. Then, we’ll start dinner while watching Wheel of Fortune. We’re total gameshow nerds.

What’s for dinner? 4 course meal made from scratch? take out? frozen pizza?

Dinner is usually something quick and easy; tacos, burgers, or a frozen pizza. Nothing exciting here!

Talk to us about the nightime routine.

Late evenings usually consist of us on the couch talking about how quickly the night is going by and it’s already almost time to do it all again in the morning.

We don’t have too many weekly tv shows other than the wife’s few TLC shows and HGTV. If not, we’re either streaming a series on Hulu or Netflix, or the wife is on the tablet coloring and I’m on the playstation, until one or both of us fall asleep and decide to get to bed.

Night owl? Or early sleeper? Are you preparing for the day ahead? What’s keeping you up at night?

I used to be a night owl but once I met my wife I took on her responsible bedtime. Now we turn in around 10:30, and the dogs will always let us know if we’re off schedule!

The only thing that tends to keep me up at night is knowing there’s a difficult install tomorrow, or a new design that I have no clear inspiration for. Otherwise, I’m pretty consistent on hitting dreamland a few minutes after I close my eyes.