Makers of Tomorrow: Eric Linquist
Title: Signmaker, Ramsay Signs (Portland, OR)
After work: He is an avid hiker and photographer.
Quote to know: “Whenever people ask me what I do here, I always tell them that I’m a signmaker. I can design, I can do layout and then I can route it, fabricate it, paint it and assemble it."
When Eric Linquist was a small child, his grandfather – a former engineer, sheet-metal and iron worker – would hold up various tools of his trade and rattle off their monikers. Little Eric would repeat the names of the tools until he could list every one. “I could name most of the tools before I could read,” Linquist said.
Linquist was also schooled in signmaking by two other influential instructors. One was his father (a one-time Ramsay Signs employee), who would bring Eric along to the shop on weekends, preparing for the upcoming work week. Another was Mark Lynch, a shop/manufacturing teacher who allowed Linquist to assist other students after he had completed his own work and also prepared special projects just for Linquist.
When Linquist applied for a job at Ramsay, he wanted to start in the metal department. However, there were no openings, so he accepted a position as a paint prepper. Eventually, Linquist moved on to assembly and then to lettering, where he realized he had repair skills, too. “When I first started in the letter department, we had a letter machine that quit working. We had a CNC specialist come in and try to fix it, but he had no luck,” Linquist said. “I found the original service manual and read it in one night, discovered what was wrong and had it working the next day.”
Linquist eventually received his wish and transferred to the metal department, but at present he functions as a rover for Ramsay, floating from department to department unless he’s assigned a special project. “I love that I always get to do something different. I hate being in one spot and continuing a process over and over, and with signs, each one is different,” he said. “So it doesn’t really matter what I’m doing around the shop, I’m always doing something different. It keeps me entertained.”
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