About HIS Sign

About Us

Our Story

Our Team

About Us

Quality People Doing Quality Work

Based in Northern Virginia, the HIS Sign team is made up of Interpreting professionals, Teaching professionals and Business professionals.  We have a good blend of experience that has allowed HIS Sign to grow into a premier agency providing services to area schools (K-12 to post-secondary), private businesses, hospitals, outpatient medical facilities, government agencies, and much more in the Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. areas.

Since our birth in 2009, we’ve strived to create strong relationships and partnerships with members of the Deaf community, the freelance interpreters that provide services through our agency and our customers.  We currently have sub-contracting relationships with other area interpreting agencies so that we can make sure interpreting requests are always covered.  We feel that these partnerships make us stronger and more able to meet the needs of the Deaf community.

As an Equal Opportunity Employer, HIS Sign, LLC, does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations.

We look forward to getting to know you better!

The Team at HIS Sign

Our Story

New Beginnings – How HIS Sign Began

We love telling our story! There are two versions, the short version (Christina’s) and the “loooonnnggg” version (Brian’s); however, we are going to tell you the long story so that you know all about how we started!

When Christina was in the fifth grade, her mother bought her a sign language dictionary by Cathy Rice. Shortly after receiving the book and practicing the alphabet over and over again, she saw someone signing at a restaurant and tried to communicate with them. This was the beginning of her journey.

While Brian was growing up in the small town of Ipswich, South Dakota, he took the mandatory hearing exams every year and he always did well on them because he and three other classmates took the test at the same time, raising their hands when they heard the sounds. He did well, because he saw the others’ hands raised, so he figured he must have also heard the sounds. During the spring of his senior year in High School, they brought a trailer to the school that had a soundproof booth, and gave all of the students a hearing test. The next day, Brian was called into the principal’s office. When he arrived and saw his parents, he figured he was in big trouble. It was there that he and his parents learned that Brian had a 50% hearing loss. Subsequently, it was recommended that he be fitted with hearing aids. He received his first hearing aid three days before he left for college. This was the beginning of his journey!

Winding the clock forward to November 1989, Christina and Brian were in Omaha, Nebraska. On November 11th, Brian was laid off from his job and the soon-to-be-married couple sat down to discuss what their next steps were going to be. Christina mentioned the ASL class she had taken her final year at Penn State and that, at some point, she would like to teach deaf children. (Little did they realize the impact this statement would have on their lives!) Due to the nature of work Brian was in, they had their pick of where they would like to live, so they decided that he should accept a job with Visa (yes, the credit card company) in Northern California, partially because of the large deaf community in that area.

After moving to California, Christina started learning from a sign language dictionary as they drove around the San Francisco Bay area on weekends. She then started to take sign language and interpreting classes, which lead to becoming friends with one of the professors. She eventually began working full-time as an interpreter in one of the local school systems and started her Master’s in Deaf Education at San Francisco State University. Through her job, she and Brian made friends with the parents of the students and they both got involved in the Deaf community.

In May of 1998, Brian, Christina, their three year old son, Matthew, and their one year old daughter, Mikayla, moved to Virginia, transferring to the East Coast with Brian’s company. After a few months of Christina staying at home, Christina and Brian decided to “team parent” so that Christina could work part-time in the local public school system. Over time, Christina began to also do freelance interpreting in the community and to meet the local deaf community, other interpreters, and Deaf families.

It is worthy of note to mention that in 2004, Christina and Brian sat down with a some friends to discuss opening an interpreting agency but, unfortunately, everyone agreed that it was not the right time.

After working for Visa for almost 20 years, Brian was laid off on April 7, 2009. This big change was actually something they had actually prayed would happen, because Brian was interested in starting a Christian multimedia collaborative website.  Over the next 14 months he pursued this new venture.

Later in 2009, Christina discovered that in order to work in the Prince William County Public Schools, she would have to officially become a business and be insured, so Christina and Brian sat down to talk about a name to be used. They discussed “Hammrich Interpreting Services,” but figured that people would call it “HIS” which they felt would be confused with a number of the other agencies out there with a similar acronym. Eventually, they agreed on “HIS Sign.” The new company became a recognized Limited Liability Company on December 18, 2009. They had no idea at the time that six months later they would actually start a full-fledged agency.

On June 24, 2010, Christina was on an assignment with one of her mentees, Laura ‘Liz’ Macier. Fortunately for all of us, the assignment ended up being cancelled, giving Christina and Liz an opportunity to chat. It is during this conversation that Christina shared with Liz how friends and family had been encouraging her to start an agency, but quickly added that that there was “no way” she would ever do such a thing. Liz replied, “I will help you.” At that moment, for the first time in her life, Christina felt at peace about the idea and responded, “Okay!” After they parted, Christina went home and reviewed the conversation (and the decision) with Brian.  The rest, as they say, is history!

Since that fateful day in June 2010, HIS Sign has moved forward as an agency, remaining true to the core values that Christina and Brian have always believed in and have made their motto:

Committed to Following the Golden Rule and Serving with Integrity and Dedication!

We hope you’ve enjoyed our story. We look back on how we started and are amazed at what has transpired over such a short time period and we are so blessed by the responsibility of running this agency. We hope you will take the time to get to know the HIS Sign family better!

Our Team

Quality People Doing Quality Work

Based in Northern Virginia, the HIS Sign team is made up of Interpreting professionals, Teaching professionals and Business professionals.  We have a good blend of experience that has allowed HIS Sign to grow into a premier agency providing services to area schools (K-12 to post-secondary), private businesses, hospitals, outpatient medical facilities, government agencies, and much more in the Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. areas.

Since our birth in 2009, we’ve strived to create strong relationships and partnerships with members of the Deaf community, the freelance interpreters that provide services through our agency and our customers.  We currently have sub-contracting relationships with other area interpreting agencies so that we can make sure interpreting requests are always covered.  We feel that these partnerships make us stronger and more able to meet the needs of the Deaf community.

To learn more about us, click on one of our photos below.

We look forward to getting to know you better!

The Team at HIS Sign

Christina Hammrich
President/Owner

Christina became interested in American Sign Language at a young age when her father would take her sailing to Martha’s Vineyard, a Deaf utopia off the coast of Massachusetts which was instrumental in the development of American Sign Language (https://www.verywellhealth.com/deaf-history-marthas-vineyard-1046546).  In 5th grade her mom gave her a sign language dictionary that she used to teach herself ASL.  She attended Penn State University (where she roomed with Ilene Breneman, her best friend since 6th grade and later her matron of honor and now HIS Sign HR Manager), receiving a BS in Marketing.  It was at State College where she took her first sign language class which began a lifetime passion turned profession. 

Upon graduation and after meeting Brian (husband and now CEO of HIS Sign), she continued taking sign language and interpreting classes. In June of 2010, after 20 years of freelancing, Christina and Brian started HIS Sign, a sign language interpreting agency based in Northern Virginia.  While Brian ran the office, Christina was out in the field providing interpreting services, building HIS Sign’s customer base and growing the interpreter pool.If Christina is not working, she most definitely is not at home. She has successfully been able to pair her love of interpreting with her love for traveling, interpreting in such places as Canada, the Caribbean, China and Iceland. Her other passions include eating at fine dining establishments, SCUBA diving and catching Broadway shows in New York City with her daughter or at the Hippodrome in Baltimore with her daughter-in-law. And her #1 favorite pastime is spending time with her granddaughter, Kate!
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Brian Hammrich
CEO
In 1988 he accepted a position with Applied Communications, Inc. in Omaha, Nebraska. In 1989 he accepted a position with Visa, in San Mateo, California and 9 years later transferred to their offices in Virginia where he worked for the next 10 years.In June of 2010, Brian joined his wife in launching HIS Sign, LLC as a full-fledged sign language interpreting agency. Brian’s responsibilities with HIS Sign include handling the company’s technical needs and acting as a backup scheduler. Brian met Christina while he was living in Phoenix, Arizona.  He moved to Omaha, Nebraska and together he and Christina moved to San Mateo, California where their children Matthew and Mikayla were born.  Brian loves driving on vacations with his family, Scuba diving, Videography and graphics editing, roller blading, hiking and all outdoor activities.
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Ilene Breneman
HR Manager

Ilene joined the HIS Sign team in 2011. She received a Marketing Degree from Shippensburg University in 1988. She spent 15 years with United Telephone/Sprint as an Account Manager selling voice and data products as well as a Sales/Product Trainer and Product Manager.

She has also served as a Director of Marketing in the advertising and television markets before joining HIS Sign. Ilene is active in her community, schools and church. She is involved in a mentoring program at a local school district, her church and community outreach programs.

Ilene lives in Dover, PA with her husband. Her passions include spending time with her children and family, flying, volunteering and traveling.
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Jennifer IIgenfritz
Finance Manager
She is actively involved with her church and her hobbies include reading, gardening, boating, and spending time with her family and friends.
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Matt Peev
Account Executive
He has spent the majority of his nearly two decade career, honing his skills under the umbrella companies of MSCI in the Washington, D.C. Metro area and in London, England. Matt currently resides in Ashburn, VA with his wife and two sons. Despite his aging body, Matt plays sports in his free time and continues to share his love of travelling with his family.
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Michelle Wenck
Scheduling Manager

Michelle joined the HIS Sign team in December of 2018. She graduated from RIT/NTID with a bachelor’s in American Sign Language and Interpreter Education. After graduation, she worked as an educational interpreter in Maryland and freelanced in the DMV area for 5 years. During 2017 and 2018 Michelle’s family moved out to Colorado. While there she worked in the administrative field and did part-time VRS work.

Being the Scheduling Manager for HIS Sign allows her to combine her experience in the interpreting field with the skills she learned in Colorado. Michelle really enjoys being able to interact daily with the interpreters and customers and getting to know them as individuals. In her spare time, she likes to experiment in the kitchen, be outside, and spend time with her husband and dog.
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Monica Lee
Assistant Scheduling Manager
Most weekends are spent on a baseball field, volleyball court or hockey field to watch her children live out their passion. Her hobbies include cooking, spending time with family and friends, shopping and watching Korean Drama.
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Holly Elicker
Scheduling Specialist
In addition to working at HIS Sign, she also teaches two-year-old children in a preschool at her church. She lives in Dover, PA with her husband and two grown daughters. She loves spending her time with family and friends as well as reading and shopping.
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Melanie Blue
Project Specialist
Melanie excels in organization, communication and customer service. Melanie is fluent in American Sign Language (ASL) and spends many hours each month volunteering in the Deaf community with her husband. Melanie enjoys cooking, traveling and spending time with her family.
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Sinae Kim
Administrative Assistant
She also has her own wholesale company which she has been running for 9 years. During her time off, Sinae is a Sunday School teacher, Head Coach for Science Olympiad, and volunteer at the local community center. She enjoys classical music, BSF, traveling, fine food, and spending time with her family.
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Chris Stein
Technical Support Specialist

Chris joined the HIS Sign team in 2016 as the Technical Support Specialist. Chris brings an extensive amount of knowledge from working for over 7 years in the IT field and thrives to continue learning new Technology.

Chris holds a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science and has a few certifications under his belt and is planning on adding more. Throughout his career he has supported small to large businesses with IT support and has provided top notch customer service to all of his clients. Chris grew up in Queens, NY and lived in Florida for 10 years. When Chris is not working he enjoys traveling with his wife, fine dining, playing basketball, listening to music and hanging out with friends and family.
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Toni Knight
Social Media Specialist

“Signing” on to the team in 2017, Toni brings her project management, recruitment skills and experience garnered from memorable years with AT&T, BASF, dream job at AOL and self-employment.

She worked in corporate communications and online media for 25 years before switching focus to care for elderly parents and Bible education. Volunteering, teaching, caregiving, traveling, reading, writing, cooking, painting and cosmetology are just a few of her passions.
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Kathleen Gregory
Registration Specialist

Kathleen joined the HIS Sign team in January 2020 as a Registration Specialist. She graduated with an Associate’s degree in Communications in 2016 and currently projects to graduate in May 2020 with a Bachelor’s degree in English. Kathleen has over ten years of customer care experience that ranges from retail to working as a US contractor in Australia.

Kathleen enjoys spending time with her husband and two dogs. She hopes to one day open a rescue sanctuary for Great Danes. Kathleen was raised in a military family, so she gained a love of travel at a young age. As an adult, she and her husband are avid travelers, having visited many cities and countries around the world. Her other hobbies include learning about computers and social media, reading, volunteering within her community, and creative writing.
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Joshua Chung
Staff Interpreter

Joshua joined the HIS Sign team in June of 2019 as a Business Intern and then as the Staff Interpreter. He received his Bachelor’s degree in American Sign Language & Interpreting from Liberty University in 2018. Joshua has been interpreting since 2017 and has gone on to acquire a 3/3 on the VQAS, a 4.3 on the EIPA, and pass the NIC written exam.

He is looking forward to taking the NIC performance exam in order to further his career and better serve the Deaf community as an ASL interpreter. While Joshua is not interpreting, he enjoys spending time with his wife and pets, eating out, and watching Denver Broncos football.
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