Derek Poulston: 30 years in the business
I was born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire in 1969. I left school at the earliest chance, as I was eager to get out and work. Originally thinking I could get involved in graphic design, I was soon put off by the thought of an 8-year college course! My second train of thought was to get involved with photography as I had been taking pictures for many years as a hobby.
Coming through the then YTS (Youth Training Scheme) in a professional photographic laboratory named Hamills – also in Cheltenham – I spent the best part of three years sent from pillar to post learning every aspect of traditional processing.
Joining Colab in 1988, I spent two years as a printer before being offered management of a new satellite branch in Cardiff. I spent three years lifting it to become the company’s flagship branch, out performing all nine satellites.
In 1993 I left the company to fulfill a lifetime ambition of travelling around the world. Within a week of coming home I was offered the position of managing the Colab, Cheltenham branch. I spent three years there; it too became the most successful satellite laboratory in the group. However, my desire to travel again got the better of me and in 1997 I left in search of new adventures.
When I returned I was offered the Area Operations Manager with Colab. I held this role until 2005 when the company voluntarily placed itself into administration. The schools photography assets were sold off to Ede & Ravenscroft, a graduation photographic company. But my now partner, Nick Pancisi, owner of Multiprint, bought the profitable elements of the remnants. I became part of the management team, re-launching Colab.
Colab and Multiprint ran side by side for two years. However, in 2007 we merged the two businesses and created One Vision Imaging Ltd. At this point I became the General Manager. In 2010, I bought into the company and subsequently became part owner and Managing Director.
Today, in 2015, we are one of the leading professional photographic solutions companies in the UK.