Big Picture - October 2019 - 42

SUSAN OTTERSON
PRESIDENT

BIG PICTURE

October 2019

A B L I M A G I N G G R O U P | C A LG A R Y, A L B E R TA , C A N A D A
ablimaging.ca

42

"Originally one of the top custom photo labs in Alberta, ABL Imaging
adapted, through Susan's leadership, to grow into a premier sign
and display provider. As the market changed, Susan invested in new
technology and positioned ABL Imaging to take advantage of
changing market trends."
-PETER BOURGEOIS, TERRITORY MANAGER, DRYTAC CANADA

ABL Imaging Group started as a photo lab. Can you
talk about your involvement in the company's
transition to a large-format print shop?
Starting out in the photography industry, our emphasis has
always been on image quality. For the longest time we were
the primary choice for professional photographic lab
services in Alberta.
As digital made its debut, there were a number of products
that were a hybrid of our traditional photo and new digital

print technologies. It really made sense for us to add new
products like Kodak LVT and Océ LightJet. With a number of
pieces already in place, like an RA-4 and E-6 processor, it was
an obvious path to choose, capitalizing on our resources and
giving us a competitive edge.
Our roots in photographic processes and our experience
with color management have continued to set us apart from our
competitors and have kept us focused when making acquisitions
and developing our offerings. Everything about ABL stems from
our history; we have long-term staff members that are also
photographers, drum scanners, or custom framers, with decades
of experience working with photographic imagery.
Today, we look for branded ink and media that are
certified for our printing devices, providing our customers
with the security of tried and tested products. Our industry
can be extremely competitive, but we have attributed our
success to educating our clients and providing solutions that
will perform as promised.
Within one day, ABL was covered in six feet of
water, destroying your equipment, products, and
building during the Calgary floods in 2013. You not
only bounced back from the natural disaster, you
grew your business, kept your team employed, and
moved into a state-of-the-art facility. Can you talk
about your motivation to come out on top?
On the day of the flood, we were unable to get to the
business; we were trapped on the other side of the river. It was
heart wrenching knowing that everything was potentially lost,
and there was no way to get there to see if anything could be
saved. I really felt helpless. So I shed a few tears and then I got on
the internet. After spending the better part of the day searching
for stories about businesses that survived Hurricane Katrina in
New Orleans, my decision was made. Every story talked about
resilience and determination, and couldn't stress enough that we
are on our own: "Don't wait for your insurance company or
government support." Do what you have to do, do what you do
best, rebuild your business and make it better than before.
We had planned a company barbecue on the Saturday
following the flood. With all that was happening we felt we
should cancel, but decided to go through with it. Now was a
time we needed to be together. During the event, we talked
about a lot of things, but the main discussion revolved around
the big question, "now what?" My response was simple, let's
meet at our normal work time at my house and we will just go
from there. That is exactly what we did, and after 90 tough
days working from my basement and backyard, we moved
into a new location and started to rebuild. We had to renovate
and purchase equipment while maintaining our customer
base and building for the future.
I think it was survival instinct that motivated me to just get
to work. Then came the understanding that the flood was
actually an amazing opportunity. We could take all of our
knowledge, wipe the slate clean, and rebuild the company,
learning from all of our previous successes and failures. What
business owner wouldn't want to be able to do that? What we
continue to have today is our team's commitment and our
loyal customers. We are proud of the products and services
we offer, and with each new success comes the motivation to
do even better.


http://www.ablimaging.ca

Big Picture - October 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Big Picture - October 2019

Big Picture - October 2019
Contents
Insight
Wide Angle
Upfront
Extreme Vinyl
Let’s Ride
Wrap Like a King Winners
The 2019 Women in Print Awards
R+D
Job Log
Big Picture - October 2019 - Intro
Big Picture - October 2019 - Big Picture - October 2019
Big Picture - October 2019 - Cover2
Big Picture - October 2019 - Contents
Big Picture - October 2019 - Insight
Big Picture - October 2019 - 3
Big Picture - October 2019 - Wide Angle
Big Picture - October 2019 - 5
Big Picture - October 2019 - 6
Big Picture - October 2019 - 7
Big Picture - October 2019 - Upfront
Big Picture - October 2019 - 9
Big Picture - October 2019 - 10
Big Picture - October 2019 - 11
Big Picture - October 2019 - 12
Big Picture - October 2019 - 13
Big Picture - October 2019 - 14
Big Picture - October 2019 - 15
Big Picture - October 2019 - 16
Big Picture - October 2019 - 17
Big Picture - October 2019 - Extreme Vinyl
Big Picture - October 2019 - 19
Big Picture - October 2019 - 20
Big Picture - October 2019 - 21
Big Picture - October 2019 - Let’s Ride
Big Picture - October 2019 - 23
Big Picture - October 2019 - 24
Big Picture - October 2019 - 25
Big Picture - October 2019 - 26
Big Picture - October 2019 - 27
Big Picture - October 2019 - 28
Big Picture - October 2019 - 29
Big Picture - October 2019 - Wrap Like a King Winners
Big Picture - October 2019 - 31
Big Picture - October 2019 - 32
Big Picture - October 2019 - 33
Big Picture - October 2019 - 34
Big Picture - October 2019 - 35
Big Picture - October 2019 - The 2019 Women in Print Awards
Big Picture - October 2019 - 37
Big Picture - October 2019 - 38
Big Picture - October 2019 - 39
Big Picture - October 2019 - 40
Big Picture - October 2019 - 41
Big Picture - October 2019 - 42
Big Picture - October 2019 - 43
Big Picture - October 2019 - 44
Big Picture - October 2019 - 45
Big Picture - October 2019 - 46
Big Picture - October 2019 - 47
Big Picture - October 2019 - 48
Big Picture - October 2019 - 49
Big Picture - October 2019 - R+D
Big Picture - October 2019 - 51
Big Picture - October 2019 - 52
Big Picture - October 2019 - 53
Big Picture - October 2019 - 54
Big Picture - October 2019 - 55
Big Picture - October 2019 - Job Log
Big Picture - October 2019 - Cover3
Big Picture - October 2019 - Cover4
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