Doug Schirripa, imageTech’s founder and lead cohort, began his career in the photographic business in 1983 by accepting a position in software development with Eastman Kodak. Having just left a short 6 year career teaching mathematics in high school and college, little did he know that the he was also beginning an adventure in digital imaging. Of course, digital imaging in that era was mostly concentrated in government related programs which made fodder for great espionage movies!
But as with many emerging technologies, digital imaging, particularly output, would soon find opportunities in commercial applications. To that end, Doug remembers showing a 4x5 dye sub printer on a table top display at the first MacWorld in Boston. Shortly after, he was alone in showing a page size dye sub printer in the back corner of Photo East in NYC sometime in the late 1980’s, completely surrounded by huge displays of photo lab equipment. In fact, it had to be a separate booth with no brand name, because the “lab guys” didn’t want to be associated with this new technology. The irony of that one trade show was that the two most interested or perhaps, in hindsight, concerned, individuals closely scrutinizing the technology were from another photographic company, The Polaroid Corporation.
A number of years later, that encounter would lead to an opportunity to help Polaroid begin, and unfortunately as we all now know, an unsuccessful transition to digital output. During six years at Polaroid, Doug pioneered the development and launch of the first truly portable, complete digital imaging capture and print system. In one market, seasonal photography, a $100 million/year market – in just 6 weeks!, Doug introduced a digital imaging system that transformed that market from instant to digital in a few short seasons. That market also gave start to a known industry icon, Express Digital. Doug has often joked with Graham McFarland from Express Digital, that at one time he was his biggest competitor in the industry, now he is his biggest dealer!
In 2000, as Polaroid was beginning a transition to consumer products, Doug opted for an early retirement and began imageTech Marketing, providing sales and service to much of the same customer base he ushered into the digital age over the past 25 years. “It really is ironic” Doug says of his career and business, “I have current customers who I met at that Photo East, maybe 20 years ago, who said to me, ‘I’m going to build a business around this technology’, and we all have.”