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AACSRE Board Convenes at Gemini Signs

The Academic Advisory Council for Signage Research and Education (AACSRE) held its fall Board meeting at Gemini Signs in Cannon Falls, Minnesota on October 13, 2016.

AACSRE strives to provide independent leadership for the development of new knowledge and educational experiences for the purpose of advancing the science, technology, art/advertising and regulation of signage, specifically on-premise signage. Faculty from thirteen universities along with thought leaders from the sign industry serve on the AACSRE Board of Directors.

With the interdisciplinary nature of the field of signage study, AACSRE often looks to professional knowledge leaders for inspiration relating to emerging issues and “hot topics.” Given the importance of this knowledge, as well as the interest of these professionals in engaging, AACSRE created a special category of membership. These individuals, recruited in the same fashion as their academic counterparts, are identified by the Executive Board and, after consideration by the full membership, are invited to become a Friend of AACSRE. Wade Swormstedt of the Foundation for the Advancement of the Sign Industry (FASI) and researcher Jennifer Klena, both Friends of AACSRE were appointed in April, 2016 and participated in meeting.

Jim and Sharon Weinel were honored at the meeting for their support of AACSRE and their vision of a collaborative network between academia and the sign industry. In recognizing the Weinel’s, AACSRE chairperson, Dr. Dawn Jourdan noted the appropriateness of being “in this very special setting to honor Sharon and Jim Weinel for the foundational gift that has breathed life and autonomy into the Academic Advisory Council for Signage Research and Education.” She commented on being bit star struck before ever meeting Jim and Sharon but beginning where all researchers do, whether we admit it or not, she conducted a Google search on this power couple. “I read in the November 6, 2013 edition of the Cannon Falls Beacon that they were “the embodiment of the American Dream.” Gemini began in 400 square feet of a garage with $150 in seed money. This article recounts the couple’s journey as they built their family and their business empire.

The Weinel’s have always shared their gratitude for those who helped support their venture and have spent much of their lives “paying forward.” The Weinel's have invested heavily in people and programs that seek to change the world. They have invested in the futures of students, faculty, and programs so that they, too, may embrace their dreams. From robotics programs to endowed professorship holders, the Weinel's have created a network of dreamers that will ensure creativity of thought and ingenuity for future generations to come. Academic Advisory Council for Signage Research and Education is committed to being the crown jewel in the Weinel’s philanthropic investments. Jim and Sharon Weinel were the pioneers in the sign industry who have long promoted the importance of peer-reviewed research and interdisciplinary education. Many of us in this room have had the pleasure of working with them as they laid the foundation for AACSRE. After developing a world class

sign museum and an unparalleled endowed professors program at the University of Cincinnati, the Weinel’s began reflecting on their next investment. Through their previous efforts to bring researchers and the industry together, they identified those researchers who would help ensure that their legacy continues for many generations. Jim and Sharon…It is our honor, as members of the AACSRE Board, to assume the responsibility for ensuring that the Dream which began with $150 and 400 sq. feet will grow and honor the legacy you have created.”

The Board elected the officers and Executive Committee for leadership for 2017:

Dawn Jourdan, President/Chairperson

Chris Auffrey, Vice President

Ray Taylor, Secretary

Eric Strauss, Treasurer

Joe Rickman, Member at Large

Bob Oast, Legal Counsel

Patty Herbin, Executive Director

The Board meeting also focused on the pending launch of the Interdisciplinary Journal of Signage and Wayfinding, the Call for Proposals for the Emerging Fellows Program, the development of on-line signage course modules and proposed white paper topics to identify the impact academia is having in signage research, education and topical knowledge bases.

For additional information on AACSRE, please contact Patty Herbin at (336) 260- 3197 or by email at or Dawn Jourdan at

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