Takeform tries to top last year’s grand prize float

Photos by Tom Rivers: Frank Bennett, a product engineer for Takeform, considers how to best light up the waves for the Takeform float.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 November 2018 at 8:39 am

10th annual Parade of Lights set for 6 p.m. Saturday in Medina

MEDINA – It officially started in September, when a company-wide email went around looking for ideas for the float in the Parade of Lights. Takeform Architectural Graphics entered for the first time last year and won the grand prize, creating a display of Medina landmarks that were lighted up on a flatbed trailer.

Takeform employees enjoyed making the float a year ago, and giving the community a glimpse on what the company makes at its Maple Ridge Road manufacturing plant. Takeform designs signs and creates architectural graphics for many hospitals and other businesses. The company started in 2003 with nine workers and now has 175.

“It brought awareness in the community to our company,” said Ellen Eaton, who works in human resources for Takeform and is on the parade committee. “We want to show the community that we’re here and this is what we do.”

Claire Owens, a Takeform employee, uses strips of clear tape to thatch grass on the roof of the tiki bar.

The process for a new float started with that email in September, soliciting ideas. However, many employees have been thinking of themes after last year’s parade ended in late November.

Employees sent in ideas and a parade committee liked the concept of a Tropical Christmas. Lindsay Minar, an experiential designer for Takeform, submitted that idea.

Takeform designed these characters for the tropical-themed float.

The committee saw a lot of possibilities with a Tropical Christmas. In the past two months, the Takeform employees have been designing pieces for the float, which will include a Santa on a surf board, riding a giant wave. They have created a tiki bar, palm trees and many other Christmas characters wearing Hawaiian shirts and shorts.

“Last year we built a float that was focused on the judges,” said Andrew Szatkowski, quality control manager for Takeform and one of the parade committee members. “This year I am excited for the children. This will be a bright and brilliant float.”

The employees have worked on the float when they get a few spare moments. It’s been busy at Takeform as the company is expanding. Takeform just moved into a new 15,500-square-foot addition to a 30,000-plus-square-foot building at 11601 Maple Ridge Rd.

Eaton said the company is always looking for talented and dedicated employees. Some applicants this past year said they learned about Takeform from last year’s float, Eaton said.

Andrew Szatkowski and Frank Bennett discuss how to best light up the panels for the float.

Designing and building the float is also a lot of fun, Szatkowski said. Employees will bring their children today and Saturday to set up on the float on the flatbed trailer. They are coming in on their own time because the Takeform factory is closed during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Szatkowski said Takeform encourages team-building among the employees. The company has a bowling tournament, 5K run, corn hole tournament and tailgate parties to boost camaraderie.

Takeform’s parade committee gave a sneak peek of the float on Wednesday to the Orleans Hub, but they didn’t want to show too much until the 6 p.m. parade on Saturday. They are also working through some challenges.

They have translucent panels mounted on 2-by-4’s. They are figuring out the best way to put lights in the panels.

Today and Saturday about 15 to 20 employees will be volunteering to set up the float on a 32-foot-long flatbed trailer.

“It has truly been a team function,” Szatkowski said.

Takeform won the grand prize in last year’s Parade of Lights by creating a scene of Medina on a flatbed trailer.

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