HOW TO FIND consistent, qualified help is one of our most-asked reader questions. WrapStar Pro Owner and Operator Kristin Lanzarone-Scribner knows it’s a struggle to find quality installers without bad habits. That’s why it’s been her five-year dream to help fill the industry’s education gap in a way that will help both advanced and up-and-coming installers thrive.
Her solution: WrapStar University (Sacramento, CA), a new universal training facility where installers can receive certifications and hands-on experience — and distinctively, one that can serve all organizations, brands, manufacturers and reps.
Completely self-taught until she attended her first certification with the Professional Decal Applicators Alliance (PDAA) in 2018, Kristin later joined the Women in Print Alliance, and eventually the PDAA committee.
“Since then I have helped the group redesign the certifications and hopped on board to be a trainer for all three badges,” she says. “This allowed me to gain momentum within the industry to be recognized as a trainer for pressure sensitive adhesives.”
After searching for a year to find a property where she could operate her normal business and house training stations, Kristin relocated her shop in August 2021. “It took me till January of this year to build out the space to be appealing, comforting and inviting for clients, students and my employees,” she says.
Accommodating 16-plus students for advanced learning and up to 10 for beginner and intermediate-installer programs, the 6,700-sq.-ft. facility is home to both a classroom and 3,500-sq.-ft. of shop space for all hands-on training, from windows, walls and floors to vehicle fleets and more.
One of the key pillars of Kristin’s vision is that the program be inclusive of all sign companies and manufacturers, a space for educating and supporting the industry as a whole. “It is common that a team of students will come from another wrap shop together, and sometimes the owners too,” she says. “I love this because it creates a relationship bond between competitors that I feel is important … There is plenty of work to go around for all of us.”
A glimpse into the WrapStar Pro shop converted into a vehicle fleet training space.
WrapStar University now serves as the West Coast facility for PDAA. The school plans to host one-day product training sessions with Fellers and Glantz, and is in the process of becoming a 3M certified training facility for windows, walls and floors; vehicle fleet; color change; and DI-NOC. Kristin herself is a trainer for PDAA, Arlon and Orafol, and is working on her 3M training certification. “My goal is to be a multi-brand trainer and one of the first to do so,” she says. Other future plans for the university include Avery Certified Wrap Installer (CWI) programs, Grimco product training, and architecture product courses for architects, designers and project managers.
In addition to flexible workstations, “I’ve outfitted the facility with some necessary tools,” Kristin explains. And manufacturers are supporting her efforts. WELDY Heat Guns offered a discount for purchasing multiple units; MagStrapz donated heat gun magnet holders and magnets; Grimco donated remnants of colored wrap film; and Auto Skins provided a discount on wall racks to hold all of the donated color films and tools.
Kristin says she will launch a grassroots-level program in 2023 for those who want to break into the install industry, but can’t afford the travel to get specialized training. “I will educate the 101s of commercial fleet wraps,” she adds. “When the student attends and performs well on their certification, they then will be able to work for any wrap shop as an entry-level installer. This will help bring awareness to this trade and fill the void in our industry of the shortage of installers,” Kristin continues. “Once [this] kicks off, I will be focusing on bringing it into the local high schools, junior colleges and trade schools, as well as providing internships through WrapStar Pro.”
For more pics and plans from WrapStar University, including a full list of future programs, see signsofthetimes.com/082204.
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