Recently, Roy Ackland and David Weatherly from Roy’s Folks at WGHP FOX8 in the Piedmont-Triad honored us with a visit. We had sent out a press release on our book Family Photos- Eli Hamilton Halsey and Lillian Blanche Smith and they were looking for a day trip to escape the hot weather, so they came to Sparta.
We were able to talk about the book, and our history in the printing industry. My dad told about his career in printing- in Roanoke, Bristol and in the photographic department at Kingsport Press. He eventually went to work for Opti-Copy, Inc. in Kansas City, traveling all over the world installing equipment and working with dealers. I went to work with Opti after school and traveled extensively in installation and service of the step-and-repeat cameras we built.
Opti-Copy, Inc. in Lenexa, Kansas in the eighties.
When the Japanese company, Polychrome, bought the company, Dad and I moved to Greensboro where he co-founded Imaging Specialists, Inc. with partner, Gerry Foss. ISI was a prepress trade shop supplying printers with one piece, plate-ready film. We produced film for books, publications, ads, and labels and worked with offset, roto-gravure, flexo and even silk screeners.
Since we had contacts at printing companies across the country, we were well positioned for farm-out and overflow work. My brother, Alan, (also an ex Opti-Copy employee) and I redesigned the drive systems on our cameras and successfully marketed that idea and imposition software to other Opti owners. Eventually, we were able to buy out Mr. Foss’ half of the business and the company was truly then a “Mom & Pop” organization. My mother, Eloise, had been working with us since we started in Greensboro and my wife, Sharon, had joined us in 1994.
Ron Halsey with one-piece, plate-ready, final film, Imaging Specialists' main output for years.
Desktop publishing and the digital revolution finally killed our part of the prepress work flow and Dad decided to retire in 2000. We knew we had to reinvent ourselves, so Sharon and I also moved the business to the mountains in 2003.
Our experience in graphics and printing has helped us in the digital age. We run Adobe Creative Suite on Mac and PC platforms. We have expanded into the internet and now build and host websites. Our daughter, Claire, has joined us, now, and handles the web work.
We think our prepress experience coupled with on-demand printing makes a perfect fit. We offer services that include page layout and design, photo optimization, illustration, and e-commerce and marketing websites.
These turn-key book assembly services we perform are much like the days when we would accept a stack of pages (literally, a basket-case) correct and assemble them into what the printer needed to produce a book. And with on-demand, self-publishing is very reasonable. Contact us if you have an idea or a book that you want to discuss.
And check out our story on television, next week. Thanks Roy and David. I can’t think of a better way to wrap up Dad’s birthday present.