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Wide F♀rmat

(November 2011) posted on Tue Oct 25, 2011

Five women changing the face of large-format printing.

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By Paula L. Yoho

“We try to invite our clients to our facility and, once they see our team and the equipment, they recognize what we are capable of,” she says. “Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman on so many of these jobs – it depends on either the relationship or on your pricing.”

The future is bright for women who choose a career in printing, Rad says, and she has seen more of them expressing an interest, especially on the graphic-design side of the business.

“The printing industry itself has gone through some major transitions because of the technology, and as a result, it is a lot friendlier,” she says. “It is no longer about huge, filthy buckets of inks, and I think that shift will continue to attract more women to this sector.”

Numbers driven: Great Big Color
If someone had told her 10 years ago she would be owner and president of a successful wide-format print operation, Tina McLaughlin might not have believed them. At the time, she was established in a successful high-tech sales and marketing career, selling data-warehousing services to businesses. Then she met Sean McLaughlin, who convinced her to take a chance on his company, a digital print provider in the wide-format graphics industry. He also convinced her to become his wife.

“When I met Sean, he asked me to come run sales for Great Big Color,” McLaughlin explains. “The transition to a new industry was not a problem for me, because sales and marketing were my forté, and that’s what I did here for 10 years. I didn’t focus on the production end of this business at all – my job was to drive the dollars.”

She parlayed her years of sales experience into building a portfolio of clients for Great Big Color (, whose out-of-home and point-of-purchase projects include billboards, wallscapes, murals, and window and stadium graphics. Then, when Sean was ready to turn his attention to a new venture, he sold his portion of the company, along with a stake owned by his parents, to Tina. Today, she is majority owner of the business and is in charge of day-to-day operations.

“It was an attraction for us to become a woman-owned business in an industry that is male-dominated,” she says. “I’ve been running Great Big Color by myself for over a year now, and it has been an exciting challenge.”