Graphic Design Grad Becomes Co-Owner of Blue Sky Sign Company
Allie Hickman, who graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design and a minor in Business from Seton Hill University in 2008, was recently named one of the new co-owners of Blue Sky Sign Company in Greensburg, Pa. Blue Sky is a team of professional marketers providing designs, installations, and signs of all types to Southwestern Pennsylvania.
Working at Blue Sky
Allie had been offered a graphic design job at a new franchise sign shop during her senior year at Seton Hill. When the company was taken over by Bob and April Gonze in 2009, Allie was one of only three employees. She, along with the rest of the crew, worked together with Bob for seven years. In 2016, they opened Blue Sky Sign Co.
“The whole experience, including the people I met along the way, have helped me in my career.”
From the beginning, Allie enjoyed the freedom and the responsibility at Blue Sky, as well as the closeness of its employees, who she says eat lunch together almost every day. She, with her business partner Dan Goswick, loves solving problems for both people and businesses and cultivating customer relationships.
Seton Hill’s Impact and Working With Other SHU Grads
Allie attributes much of her growth as an artist and designer to Seton Hill’s Graphic Design Program. She also benefited greatly from the liberal arts core, saying, “Seton Hill puts an effort into creating a well-rounded education.” Having the flexibility to take a variety of different classes helped take some of the pressure off Allie, who had a difficult time selecting a major her freshman year. “The whole experience,” she says, “including the people I met along the way, have helped me in my career.”
Two other Seton Hill graduates, Amanda Wolfe and Taryn Six, are on the design team at Blue Sky (Kate Dillon rounds out the team). Amanda graduated with a B.F.A. in graphic design in 2008 and began working for Blue Sky eight years ago; Taryn graduated with a B.F.A. in graphic design and a minor in entrepreneurial studies in 2019. Taryn was recruited to the team last year at her senior Graphic Design show at Seton Hill. They say it is incredibly valuable working with other Seton Hill grads. Allie says what really makes their team special is how different their creative processes and interests are, as well as their shared pride in the work they are doing at Blue Sky. She says, “I couldn't be happier with our design crew.”
Both Taryn and Amanda endorse Allie’s statement that an education at Seton Hill prepared them for the professional world. Amanda says that even though her career is constantly changing, the core principles she learned at Seton Hill are always applicable. For Taryn, one of the most important ways Seton Hill helped her was by keeping current with technology and software. “In an ever-expanding world of technology, things go out of date very quickly in this field...we would always stay updated on new design trends in class.”
Being a New Business Owner
Bob Gonze believes Allie’s honesty, creativity, care for people and business, and self-sacrificing nature make her a great business owner. “I have the utmost confidence in her leadership for the future success of Blue Sky, and I have bet heavily on her and the team that are there today,” he says.
Allie feels incredibly excited about her new role at Blue Sky and about working hard to help the company become more successful. “Other business owners told us that there was nothing like having direct results from the work you put into it. So far, we agree.”