Interview with Josh Whitman (@pnw.made)

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I started engraving as a collateral duty while serving in the U.S. Navy. It was just small things like valve labels and pipe identification tabs. As I got better, I started pushing my skills to the limit by giving gifts to Sailors I served with. Eventually, I knew I needed to try my hand at an artistic aspect in the craft. I have always found a certain satisfaction in this field and knew I wanted to make a career in this.  I believe my skills are well-suited to this field because… I’m doing this for many years and now I have great experience in presenting my art. I care about helping people and making an impact and this career allows me to do that.
Can you share the most exciting story that happened to you since you started doing this?
Every job is unique. Customers ask me for the most random thing. My most exciting job was making a board game for my daughter. She had a lesson on Vikings at school and mentioned a game called Hnefatafl. Well, a few hours later, we were playing a historical board game.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them thrive and not “burn out”?
I would recommend not to make stuff that doesn’t bring you happiness. When I get close, I just make things that make me happy. More specifically, I like to engrave funny sayings or pictures onto rocks; then, I leave them in public places for people to find. It makes me happy to do silly things like that.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
My wife. I wouldn’t be here without her support or advice. She can tell when I’m frustrated or need a break. That’s the thing with small businesses, you’re at work all the time if you don’t give yourself any time off, and it’s straightforward just to run yourself into the ground. She keeps me from getting to that point.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I try to donate to charities as much as possible. I’m also in some groups for special needs kids, and often these kids are into things that aren’t in production anymore. I love to make things smile to these kind kids and their families.
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?
I don’t know if I have any life lesson quotes that I live by. I try to live my life in a way that if I died tomorrow, my biography wouldn’t be about a nasty dude. While talking about death, I always think about the quote “Remember that you must die.” The phrase has its origins in ancient Rome, where it is believed that slaves accompanying generals on victory parades whispered the words as a reminder of their commander’s mortality, to prevent them from being consumed by hubris (excessive pride and self-confidence).
How can our readers follow you on social media?
People can find me on Instagram or Facebook @PNW.Made
Anything specific you’d like to have mentioned in the article?
My laser business started entirely in my garage, and it kept growing. Sometimes it does have to be put on pause, though, as I’m active duty military and have to go on deployment.