Let’s Talk With – Greg Meissen
Written by Idea File Staff
Greg Meissen has been making color photos look good for almost three generations of students. His 40th anniversary with Walsworth was Jan. 13, 2005. In all that time, he has worked in the same area – the Four-color Scanner Department. His job entails work for both the yearbook and commercial divisions of Walsworth.
Explain your job.
Meissen’s main job for yearbook customers is color scanning and color correction of photos. If a yearbook staff is unhappy with its scanning job and asks Walsworth to do it, Meissen is the employee who does it for them.
“My title is Lead in the Four-color Lab…. If there are any color corrections or dirt in an image, we will correct the image using Photoshop.”
Dust, or rather the elimination of it, is an important aspect of Meissen’s job. For anyone who has been on the Walsworth plant tour, Meissen works in the enclosed Four-color Lab with the large windows so visitors can watch while reducing dust in the lab.
What is the greatest satisfaction you get from your job?
While Meissen does not have direct contact with customers, the customers get the direct benefit of his work.
“I enjoy making the pictures look really nice…. Some of the pictures I’ve seen have been so dark you can hardly make out what they are, but you can bring them right out.”
Describe the biggest change in your job over 40 years.
“When I first started, we were making color separations (glass negatives) by using a glass contact screen.” Then the group started scanning on drum scanners and producing film negatives or separations.
The biggest change is the most recent – digital technology. While most of the yearbook work in the Four-color Lab is done on the 4200-flatbed scanner, which is customized with a software program to create digital files from color separation film, Meissen still uses a 3800-drum scanner to produce digital images from color transparencies and color prints for the more demanding jobs. The expertise of Meissen’s job is in knowing what settings to use on the scanner to achieve certain “percentage values” of color, for example, the percentages of red and yellow necessary to create the right color of orange.
Another change is that now the schools do a lot of their own scans. “We used to do over 100,000 pages in here (a year), and now it’s down to maybe 10,000.”
You come from a family of musicians?
Meissen plays guitar and was in a country band as an adult for 30 years.
“What lessons? I went to my bedroom and picked up the guitar and started playing,” he said. “I started with my dad at age 10. I was the youngest of seven, and we had a family orchestra. We’d drive 30 miles to play and get paid $25. It was fun.”
Meissen, who is married and has three grown children and five grandchildren, passed his talent to his son, who also plays guitar and writes songs, and a granddaughter who plays piano.