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Place works full time at his i4 Graphics

Nate Place stands next to a graphic he designed sitting on a large table in his basement. The self-taught Place started his own graphic business in 2004, which he runs out of home. Submitted photo.

There came a time for Nate Place to steer away from the corporate lane and strike off on a direction all his own.

Place was driving along the freeway one day when he saw a large graphic on the side of a semitrailer. It intrigued him.

The self-described creative-type said he wanted to find out more about the graphic industry. That interest ultimately led him away from his job as a project manager for Andersen Windows toward starting his own graphic business--i4 Graphics.

"Ever since I was young, I've had an affinity for graphics. I found myself repainting Tonka trucks when I was five- or six-years-old," said Place, whose business is located at his rural home between Ellsworth and El Paso.

Place designs, manufactures and installs graphics for small businesses and corporate entities.

Sometimes, his graphics are placed on wraps going on trucks and trailers. Other times, the graphics are for signs or banners. He has regular customers including construction firms, manufacturers and law offices.

It was 2004 when Place ventured into the graphics world, teaching himself the new profession by downloading demonstrations on the internet and by practicing in his house.

The computer-savvy Place set up a network in his home, in which he designs graphics on computers in his den linked to printing and cutting machines in his basement.

It was 2006, however, when Place made the real plunge into his new vocation. For the previous two years, he'd retained his corporate job and was doing graphic work at nights and on weekends.

Encouraged heartily by his wife, JoAnn, to go after his dream job, Place quit his day job and took up graphic work full time.

Today, Place is busy with a full workload, he said, and is cautiously looking to expand i4 Graphics.

Place says he's thinking about adding a few employees and investing in equipment to allow him to take on bigger projects, such as billboards and graphics for the exteriors of business buildings.