Senior Tenant Sign Manager
Laguna Hills, CA
Just call Judy Walton a "problem solver." That's how she got started in the sign side of property management. Now the Senior Tenant Sign Manager for Simon's Premium Outlets, Walton began by helping tenant managers with store openings.
"As we kept adding more and more outlets, there was a need for someone to deal just with signs because tenant managers didn't want to," Judy said.
Now, Judy runs a department that focuses on, as Judy said, "making sure signs are in line with our Premium Outlets branding and stature, but also capture what our tenants want. It's a challenge to satisfy all, and also requires me to work with installers in order to make it happen."
As a new center prepares to open, Judy is onsite dealing with all the sign installs. She handles Premium Outlets' entire tenant sign program and works with communities on sign codes to find a balance that benefits everyone. "I help develop a master sign program, and from there I create a criteria document for tenants to submit drawings to me. I review and approve all sign drawings," Judy said. Once the city approves permits, she is charged with making sure all the signs are installed correctly.
Judy also works with changeovers as new tenants come in and old ones leave. The retail industry has been in flux over the last few years, but outlets are more immune, she said. "Outlets are still performing extremely well and are very full."
It means that Judy's job is equally full. But she makes a point to attend ISA Sign Expo each year. "I initially went looking for a designer," Judy said. "I saw the new LEDs and all the changes coming to our business. I was able to create better options for our criteria and to save our centers money by changing over to LEDs where we could."
In the years since, Judy has continued to go back to ISA Sign Expo, where she looks for education and new ideas. Doing so has kept Judy engaged and excited about her career. As she said, "I really enjoy what I do, but I'm not one to stay stagnant. I need the creativity and learning new things that comes from attending ISA Sign Expo. The speakers also get me excited about different areas of my job.”
Judy has now moved toward giving back, first serving on the Sign Research Foundation (SRF) Board of Trustees and most recently on ISA's Board of Directors. "Christina Quesenberry, who has been my boss for the past 20 years, has been the reason I've been able to participate in ISA events and take time to be on the SRF and ISA boards," Judy remarked. "I have incredible support and a great team to work with at Simon."
Judy sees a need for end users—especially those in retail, hospitals and large public institutions—to visit ISA Sign Expo. As she put it, "A lot of people are paying for things that just don't work. It's always beneficial to see what’s out there."