All in the family: Yesco execs lead world sign association convention

Background photo shows 2016 International Sign Association expo; overlays include 2017 ISA expo logo and publicity photo of Jeffrey S. Young, chief marketing officer and a senior vice president officer of Young Electric Sign Company and chairman of the board of the International Sign Association. Young will officially open ISA Expo 2017 on April 20 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Image elements undated | Composite image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Family members of the nearly century-old Utah sign company Yesco will officially open the “ISA International Sign Expo 2017,” the largest gathering of sign, graphics and visual communications professionals in the world, Thursday at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

Jeff Young, chief marketing officer and senior vice president of Young Electric Sign Company, is also chairman of the board of the International Sign Association. He will be joined by his father, Thomas Young Jr., and brothers, Michael T. Young and Paul C. Young, to cut the ribbon and call the convention to order.

This isn’t the first time a member of the Young family has been in a position of leadership with ISA. Eighty years ago, Jeff Young’s grandfather and founder of Yesco, Thomas Young, was elected and subsequently served two terms as president of the National Sign Association, a precursor of ISA.

Jeff Young said the business has come a long way since the 1920s when Thomas Young was first traveling through St. George selling signs.

He and others were able to envision the bright prospects for business in spite of pre-World War II anxieties and pressures. They understood what electric signs meant to business and the economy. To imagine how far the sign and lighting industry has progressed during the past 80 years is incredible. We are grateful for our long-standing relationship with ISA and the benefits it provides.

Thomas Young founded Yesco in Ogden in 1920, and the company now has locations nationwide and in Canada, including a branch in St. George that opened in the mid-1920s. The St. George location currently manufactures signs for local customers and serves as a service base of operation for customers from Mesquite, Nevada, to Richfield, Utah.

Read more: Utah sign company thrives, nears 100 year mark

In 2011 Yesco began franchising its unique and proprietary sign and lighting service business.

Jeffrey S. Young, chief marketing officer and a senior vice president officer of Young Electric Sign Company and chairman of the board of the International Sign Association. Young will officially open ISA International Sign Expo 2017 on April 20 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. | Publicity photo via PR Newswire, St. George News

However, the company’s branch in St. George is still company owned, Jeff Young told St. George News.

“Absolutely. The franchise locations are all in the eastern part of the U.S. and into Canada,” Young said. “We operate in the 11 western states, functionally Colorado west into California. … Since we’ve started the franchise group, we’ve added over 900 jobs in sign service with the franchising network. We’re really excited that business has grown so well, in addition to growth we’ve had in the Western U.S.”

During his tenure with the International Sign Association, according to a company news release issued by PR Newswire, Young plans to intensify efforts to help members expand into new digital technologies that will be showcased at the ISA Sign Expo.

And Las Vegas provides a perfect example of how quickly new digital sign technologies are evolving. In an interview with St. George News, Young cited the Fremont Street Experience, the popular pedestrian mall and Downtown Las Vegas attraction that saw a  $17 million upgrade in 2004 to its canopy to include 12 million LED lamps. Young said:

In the case of the Fremont Street Experience, those pixels were around 6-inch centers. They’re spread out quite a ways and very low resolution. Today, for instance at the Energy Solutions, now the Vivint Center (Vivint Smart Home Arena) in Salt Lake City, the main screens hanging the center home screens we installed are 6 millimeters, so each pixel is 6 millimeters apart as opposed to 6 inches. The resolution has come a long distance. That sort of technology is being used everywhere. It’s being used by gas stations, by restaurants, by hotels, big and small.

In addition to helping ISA members grow their technological capabilities, Young said he and other association leaders will focus on providing greater support to state and regional affiliated associations located throughout North America and abroad.


Although the new Trump administration has not had an immediate affect on the sign business, Young said he is optimistic about the future and hopes to see a loosening of some of the regulations imposed on business operation.

“The regulation involved in just managing a business has been very, very challenging,” he said. “In many cases, we feel that the regulation has almost made it feel like an unfriendly business climate, like they would almost rather us not being in business. That’s how fierce it’s been.”

Citing Yesco’s numerous environmental and safety policies, Young said they already have “some great programs to effectively mitigate, manage and protect communities and employees from danger.”

They are paying special attention to business regulations as they move forward, he said, because of the significant financial and administrative burden placed on their industry by stringent regulations.

“Signs are a part of a broad-based graphics and visual communication platform,” Jeff Young said. “Just as my grandfather and others did, we will work to guide and expand our industry to fulfill our role in building local, national and international economies.”

About the Youngs

Jeff Young obtained his master’s degree in business from the University of Utah and has spent 36 years at Yesco in various positions. In addition to being chairman of the ISA, he has recently served as president of the World Sign Association and was featured on the Emmy Award-winning series “Undercover Boss.” He has also appeared on the NBC “Weekend Today” and “CBS Sunday Morning” television programs.

Young has worked throughout his career to help the company grow to become one of the largest sign companies in North America, according to the PR Newswire release.

Jeff, Mike and Paul Young, and a number of their children, are third- and fourth-generation employees of the company and work closely with their father and grandfather, Tom Young, who remains active and involved with the company.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.


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