Taking a leap of faith and believing in himself is something of a pattern in Jason Ditkofsky’s life. He made a big change moving from Canada to Southern California to pursue an MBA and warmer weather while in his early 20’s. He soon landed the perfect job with Sony Pictures on the famous studio lot in Culver City on a work visa. Jason was living the Hollywood dream when life threw him an unexpected curveball. It was the height of the recession in 2008, and his work visa was not renewed since it was deemed an American could do his job.
Jason made his way back to Canada to reset his life path. Five years later, he once again found himself in chilly temperatures and a sink or swim moment. He decided to take advantage of an investment visa and spent several months meeting with business brokers before purchasing a sign franchise and finding himself in Sunny South Florida. As he became the owner of multiple locations, he soon realized that to operate a centralized sign manufactured and better control his growth, he needed to own his own business. He sold off the franchises one by one and went on to purchase Channel Letter USA.
“I really enjoyed building relationships, but it difficult for me to get used to relying on other companies to sell my product,” said Jason Ditkofsky. “There was also a big gap in the market when it came to installations. I figured if I was building the signs, I may as well finish the job and control the process from start to finish.” Last year, he acquired McNeill Signs to become a vertically integrated commercial signage operation offering custom designs, signage manufacturing, permit acquisition, and expert installation.
Jason could now control the entire customer journey, ensuring that his clients were getting the best experience from the moment they called in to inquire about the sign to the moment it was installed. He took a very white-collar approach to a traditionally blue-collar job. He credits a great part of his success to something very simple – always be responsive. Jason shares, “I always make sure that everybody gets a callback. It is incredible to me how often I win bids just because my competition does not even bother to respond to quote requests. There is no secret sauce. Everybody wants to be treated like they matter.”
The stars began to feel like they were finally aligning, and Jason was working with national brands such as Starbucks, Toyota, CVS, Ikea, Audi, to name a few. And then, the pandemic hit. As Jason’s local South Florida community was ordered into quarantine, he was inspired to help and committed to donate up to $100,000 worth of commercial storefront signage to those in the process of launching a new business or who need a refresh to their current one. He believes that small business is the backbone of our economy and he hoped to support them in their time of need. Winners include Happea’s in Brickell, B&J Bicycles in Pompano Beach, Be Well Med Spa in Fort Lauderdale, and more to be announced.
Whether you look at Jason’s personalized approach to dealing with his clients or the manner in which he connects with his community, there is always an emphasis on the human-to-human connection. From employees, to clients, to his community, Jason has a natural talent to let those around him be heard and feel like they matter. And no matter what crossroads or challenges life has brought him he always manages to weather the storm and double down on his belief of himself. He humbly shares, ““There is no key turning point in the story. Life always just continues under my new normal, and it is always my job to just figure out how I need to navigate it.”