May 22, 2020
Amanda Pasket saw the beauty and potential in the scenic Echo Valley as a young adult. She chose to make her mark on the business landscape as an entrepreneur. Amanda is the owner of The Visual Element, LLC, a graphic design and marketing agency in Elgin, Iowa. With a focus on community, she has planted roots in Elgin and works to cultivate a bright future for her fellow residents.
Amanda says technology and community are two main factors that help her business thrive in Elgin. Broadband technology enables virtual connections with her clients so she can build her business without the need to travel. Elgin’s quality of life and affordable housing provides a safe haven for the Pasket family.
Most of Amanda’s clients are in the real estate sector in Chicago. She enjoys the challenge of designing and communicating each agent’s brand using visual arts – without ever meeting them in person. “I use email, social media, and my website to communicate with my clients,” explained the entrepreneur. “I’m constantly improving my communications channels to be more useful to the users. For example, I created a client portal similar to what someone would use with a medical clinic. I can manage all of the communications, projects, and tasks with my clients in one place.”
100% fiber-optic Fusion Internet from Alpine Communications connects Amanda to her clients and vendors, even during the pandemic. “My internet has met my business demands. I can send large files and download files at the same time that I’m emailing my clients. If it weren’t for my internet, I would be stuck with one job a month versus an email inbox full of work,” she shared.
Two words that would describe Amanda are “creator” and “innovator,” which is apparent by the numerous printers, including a 3-D printer, and tools in her diverse workshop. “I push myself beyond the role of a graphic designer to an artist and creator,” explains Amanda. “I’m very versatile.” When asked how she uses her 3-D printer, Amanda shared how she created a personalized business card holder with the words “READ” on it in the shape of bookends for Lisa Leuck, the Elgin Public Library Director. Amanda also works part-time at the Elgin Library, which shows that she highly values community, reading, and lifelong learning.
“As an innovator, I like to try to push the limits of what things can do. When a client has a problem, I want to solve it and develop a solution. Right now, I’m making an aluminum sign for a local customer – which was a random request, but I have the technology to help back my abilities,” Amanda explained. She utilizes technology and innovation to go above and beyond for her clients, even in a small rural community. “We need to keep pushing technology past the limits, but not just technology. We need to push each other to be better – build each other up to a higher potential than we could have ever dreamed of by ourselves. We are the future of our small towns.”
Her father taught her how to be creative, versatile, and innovative with the materials on-hand while her mother pushed her to ask hard questions and always find a way to seek out a solution. As a young child, the family garage was comprised of a metal shop on the main floor and a woodshop in the upstairs. “My dad is very self-sufficient, and I build upon that. If I need something, I can make it,” touted Amanda. “If there is a project around, you can find me watching, asking questions, or working on it until its completion.” Amanda’s mom taught her to find ways to communicate and connect with people on a deeper, more personal, and emotional level by first learning about who that person is and how they like to feel appreciated.
This modern-day renaissance woman is maximizing the extra time during the pandemic with her young children to expand their creative boundaries and find their passions. For instance, they are building model rockets. “I read somewhere it takes ten years to master a skill. I’m helping my children build their passions while using the rudimentary skills they learn at the same time at school.”
Amanda graduated from Upper Iowa University with a BFA in Graphic Design and is working to obtain her Master’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Organizational Development. “I am learning how leadership and mentoring will be the new normal for businesses,” she explained how the workplace is transforming from today’s company hierarchy of various levels of management. She also believes in small rural community betterment and building support systems to help everyone thrive. Amanda is working with Lisa Leuck to launch a women’s business support system called The IDEA Exchange – https://www.facebook.com/TheIDEAExchange
“I feel like our community is similar to the internet, which is made of a series of servers (community members) linked together through common connections. People who are willing to share information, unique skills, and the expertise they have with others is what makes a small town ideal because the data is quickly accessible,” she described.
Learn how Amanda uses broadband in her business and her ideas for rural Iowa: