The annual Commerce Lexington Small Business of the Year Luncheon was last week. Lynn Imaging has enjoyed being business of the year for 2012-2013! As part of our exit from this award, Glenn Norvell our Chief Financial Officer gave a powerful speech at the luncheon of over 300 guests. It was such a great speech, I included a copy of it below:
2013 Commerce Lexington Luncheon
Glenn Norvell, CPA
I have been associated with Lynn Imaging for over 30 years, more than half of that as their CPA and for over 15 years now as the CFO.
We are proud to be Commerce Lexington’s 2012 Small Business of the Year and Legacy Award winner. Lynn is very much a family business. JL Lynn’s parents, Jack and Marcella Lynn founded the company in 1946 as Lynn Blue Print and Supply Co. JL grew up working in the family business and Mike Carter joined Lynn in the early 70’s. Ownership was passed to JL and Mike in the late 70’s and early 80’s. JL’s wife, Debbie, and Mike’s wife, Dottie have both worked many years in the company. Today, children of these two families are an integral part of the company.
The growth of the company since the late 70’s can be characterized by the philosophy that JL and Mike have applied, “Keep one eye on the horizon and one eye on the work at hand.” Our company, like many of yours, entered the digital age. Our history is one of change. The digital age has forced us to rebrand and change processes and procedures. We’ve had to look at employees differently, especially their skill sets. During the transitions, we have had to offer traditional services along with the new since customers adopt new technology at different speeds, and we want to serve our customers. JL and Mike agree that the challenges of the past 15 years have been greater than those they faced up until then.
The 70’s and 80’s saw significant change and growth. Lynn began as a blue printer and served almost exclusively the commercial construction industry for its first 30 years. JL and Mike set out to expand the company’s markets by first entering into the small format copy business to open sales to the general business community. The company experienced excellent growth in copy services through its Lynn Copies division.
The 90’s saw more change and growth as the printing equipment industry went digital. Consumers began to benefit from new technology in this area as, for the first time, they were able to afford wide format equipment for their internal use. Today, the sale of wide format printers/copiers and scanners to the architectural, engineering, construction, design and manufacturing industries is a very important part of our business.
The 90’s also saw the introduction of Lynn Color Graphics when both small format color and large format color printing were added to the company’s service offerings.
Then as one century ended and a new one began, the digital world was rapidly expanding through a service called the Internet. It was at this time that we decided to change the name of the company from Lynn Blue Print to Lynn Imaging to encompass the breadth of the company’s products and services.
One of our most important services to the construction industry has been the management of the distribution of architectural plans and specs during the bid phase of construction projects. This had been handled through a labor-intensive paper-based process. But the Internet changed everything and in about 2000 Mike Carter set out to design an Internet-based bid distribution software system. Today eDistribution is the online planroom of choice in the state and automates the distribution of plans and specs for most construction projects. Documents are distributed in the form the customer prefers, paper or digital, but all administration and communication are online.
Also at this time, our small format document management service was begun to scan documents and provide our customers with an alternative to maintaining records in paper form. Today we use and sell a state-of-the-art document management solution called File Hold.
And, during that first decade, color graphics services were expanded and a new facility was opened on Old Vine called Monster Color. Here we do large and grand format color graphics. You’ve probably seen our vehicles around town, those rolling billboards. We’ve wrapped vehicles from zambonies to horse trailers, cars, buses, and the list goes on. You’ve seen our graphics on walls and floors in the concourses of Rupp Arena, in the exhibit displays of conventions and other meetings, our banners on poles and the sides of buildings, and on the windows of many businesses. Our newest line is custom wallpaper. We have a can-do attitude at Monster Color and we encourage our customers to bring us their needs and let us give them our ideas.
As another decade ended, our company was again active in the development of software, this time to automate the administration of other phases of the construction process, the construction and close-out phases. eCommunication was developed to manage all construction information during the construction phase and to organize it upon completion as an information vault for the ongoing maintenance of a facility. The service is highly praised by our construction customers, and we are now known to them as a construction information management company rather than a blue printer. While, from the beginning, we managed information in paper form, we now manage with digital, cloud solutions.
Like many of your businesses, we have seen a sea-change in products and services with the ongoing evolution of digital. Keeping one eye on the horizon and one eye on the work at hand has been a necessary part of our lives. We have seen a lot of change.
But, not everything has changed. JL and Mike have repeated throughout the years their “customer-first attitude”. “Whatever it takes” is a frequently heard admonition in our company. Quality matters. Deadlines matter. How you treat the customer matters. We practice the Golden Rule. And, when things go wrong, as they sometimes do, how you respond to the customer matters.
The Great Recession significantly changed our company. Since the construction industry was the industry most highly impacted, that part of our business saw a significant decline in sales. It was a tough time, but we think we’re well-positioned to meet the challenges of both today and tomorrow.
A company is known by the people it keeps. We value our employees. And today our employees are customer-oriented and digitally literate in all of our locations in Lexington, Louisville, and Frankfort.
We’re a company that cares and invests in our industry and the communities we serve. We believe that both investments return both tangible and intangible benefits to us. We are members of numerous industry associations, both national and international. We are both leaders and followers in those organizations. We share our ideas with other companies like ours, and they share theirs. We all benefit.
We’re involved in our communities by participation on boards, and the financial and personal support of events and projects. We believe our employees are developed by the experience, our company is recognized, and our communities improved.
Being recognized as the Small Business of the Year is the highest honor our company has ever received. We continue to receive congratulations a year after the award. Our customers and friends certainly consider it significant. We think it means we have made a difference in our community.
We congratulate all of this year’s award winners. You, too, have made a difference in our community.
So, our story is this:
Keep one eye on the horizon and one eye on the work at hand.
But not everything should change.
Keep a customer-first attitude.
Practice the Golden Rule.
Remember that a company is known by the people it keeps.
Invest in your industry.
Invest in your community.