Tech Imaging Services: Serving the Need for Visual Speed

September 2012

Jason O'Connell says that if he'd known his job at Salem-based Tech Imaging Services, the company started by his father, Gene O'Connell in 1982, would involve blowing up machinery and capturing images of weapons in flight, he would have given up his position as a senior financial analyst much sooner.

O'Connell, who joined the firm in 2006 and is its vice president, says his father first began working with high-speed cameras as an employee at Polaroid, where he worked for 18 years. He began doing consulting work that eventually led him to start Tech Imaging Services in 1982. In the early years of the company, he was fortunate enough to be able to work with some of the pioneers in the high-speed camera and scientific imaging industry, such as MIT Professor Harold (Doc) Edgerton (most famous for his iconic picture, "0.30 Bullet Piercing an Apple").

Today, Tech Imaging provides state-of-the-art products and high-quality professional services to a wide range of industries—including the military, aerospace, broadcasting, automotive, biomechanics, fluid dynamics, manufacturing and packaging, medical, and more—which use the systems as powerful problem-solving tools.

The company currently has eight employees and a client database of more than 1,800. Sales from year to year have increased anywhere from a low of 10 percent to a high of 30 percent. As a result of the recession, the company has seen a slight drop off in equipment sales, but at the same time, service and equipment rentals have increased by approximately 200 percent to 300 percent during the past couple of years.

Tech Imaging has distinguished itself in the market by becoming the leading provider of high-speed camera sales and consultant services. The company is able to offer its customers the most advanced technology, state-of-the-art products, and the highest quality, onsite professional consulting services available in the imaging industry. Clients are offered a free, initial consulting service regarding customer applications, and this is how the company helps them choose the best system for their particular needs.

During the past two decades, the business has steadily grown as advances in technology have helped the company ramp up its product lines. This has resulted in increased opportunities to bring in new customers as well as increased offerings for existing and repeat customers. For example, "with television using more high-speed cameras at broadcasting events, we've been able to greatly expand our television services," says O'Connell.

In fact, Tech Imaging Services cameras and technicians are frequently used in television shows, feature films, and national sporting events, including CBS Sports golf and tennis matches, 60 Minutes, the NFL, and Major League Baseball. The company is a two-time Emmy award-winning provider of TV and Broadcast Sport Events (2006 and 2010).

Such success requires strong back-up, and O'Connell is pleased with the relationship Tech Imaging has formed with Salem Five in the last year. (The company became a Salem Five loan and deposit customer in 2011, following the acquisition of its previous bank.) "Like any technology-based business, we have to reinvest in ourselves and our product lines in order to help keep our inventory up-to-date and diverse for all client needs. To that end, O'Connell says, "Salem Five has really helped us with our growing business needs."

"Recently, a sudden increase in our rental inventory required us to expand the current camera-line fairly quickly. Salem Five helped us grow the line quickly, with an equipment loan, which, in turn, allowed our customers to have the best products we offer," says O'Connell.

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