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Inside ER2: Dan Gray’s Wild Ride to Graphic Design

Before he joined us as a Graphic Designer in 2013, Dan had some unusual side jobs. He spent one summer working with his friends doing landscaping. He worked primarily in a graveyard all day mowing the lawn, painting the fences and digging graves. He says It was super weird, but quiet. “And I got an awesome tan, so…”

Crunch Time

Dan got interested in design by accident. No, seriously. Someone pulled out of a Starbucks and crunched the striping on his Grand Am. He took it to a vehicle graphics shop to get it re-striped and was blown away by the creativity and atmosphere in the shop. He bugged the owner until he hired Dan to sweep the floor. He gradually learned all of the technical aspects and programs that they had to offer. He got the bug so bad he enrolled at Illinois State University to learn the finer points of graphic design. In a short time, Dan was one of the top designers in the shop.

On to ER2

Dan had worked with Ronnie Pixley, one of our senior installers, for a number of years. Ron moved on to ER2 and recommended Dan when he heard that we were looking for a new designer. Within weeks Dan was on the team!

TLC From Start to Finish

Dan never takes a “fire and forget” approach to his design work. He oversees every aspect of the project until it leaves the building. Even then, he asks for photos after the install. “The most satisfying part of what I do is seeing everything completed and displayed the way it was meant to be,” he says.

Good and Fast

Our industry works a lot on speed and quick turnaround, so Dan is proud of the fact that he has taught himself to be good and fast. “You have to respect the sensitive timeframes our clients have to deal with,” he remarked. “As a designer, my biggest goal is to work faster and more efficiently while still maintaining the quality that I demand from myself.”

No Cookie-Cutter Days

Dan loves the challenges that come with every new project. “I never know what’s going to come my way. One week I’m designing a race car and the next I have to come up with a solution for a trade show display.” He says there’s a certain moment in each project where he can see that everything is falling into place. The rest comes naturally. “Then my confidence kicks in and I know what goes out the door will be something that I’m truly proud of.”

Free Time Fun

Music, working out, movies and video games are Dan’s favorite activities outside the shop. Basically, any activity where he can shut his brain off for a while and relax. One of his favorite activities is hanging out with friends and watching bad 80s/90s action movies. Combine this with pizza and some drinks and he’s pretty happy.

Dan still tries to make time to create art just for himself; such as drawing, video editing, and sound design. He finds that pretty relaxing, as well. “I think it’s important to keep that muscle exercised.”

When asked if he had a special talent, he said he couldn’t think of one. Sorry, Dan, but we have to disagree. According to your co-workers and our clients, you are one very talented guy.

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