The staff at Image Management celebrates their success.
BY KATIE MATTESON
When Kevin Weslaski of Wisconsin Rapids committed to a one-year Medical Technology internship in 1990 at St. Luke’s Hospital in Racine, he had no idea that his decision would set in motion a series of events that would lead to the establishment of a successful digital marketing company and putting down roots in Racine.
Weslaski continued working in the lab at St. Luke’s after he graduated in Clinical Laboratory Science in 1991 from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. That year he also married his college girlfriend, Claire, who had graduated in 1989 with a degree in Business Administration.
The young couple rented a flat downtown so that Kevin could walk to the hospital, which at that time was located on Wisconsin Avenue.
One of their neighbors suggested that Claire look for work at a temp agency that did placements for S.C. Johnson and J.I. Case. She was hired by Case as a receptionist and graphic designer in temporary quarters in the old J.C. Penney’s store at Elmwood Plaza.
“We didn’t know anyone when we first moved here,” Claire said. “But we decided we’d just jump in and grind our way through.”
One of the first things they got involved in was Neighborhood Watch. “The flat we lived in downtown was in the middle of a high drug crime area, so we volunteered as block captains and started hosting events in our backyard.”
Kevin continued to work at the hospital and Claire’s job evolved into managing the image library at Case. This meant that she developed and managed a system that organized the thousands of photographs and artwork the company needed for manuals, collateral material and publicity.
In 2001, the newly established CNH (the merger of Case and New Holland) decided it wanted to outsource the management of its combined image library, including conversion of the images from prints and transparencies to digital files and invited Claire to do it.
Claire said before deciding to commit to the establishment of a new company to take on the project, she and Kevin visited attorney Joe Muratore at his office at 610 Main St.
“When we left his office that day, we not only had a new business, we had a name and office space,” Claire said. “Joe suggested a company that managed images should be called Image Management and he offered us the second floor of his building for our office.”
“It’s like we won the lottery,” Kevin said. “It also meant that I needed to quit my job at the hospital.”
“We each worked 11-12 hours every day to process all the images – trading off taking care of our kids at home,” Kevin recalled. “In addition to all the Case images, we also received daily shipments of the New Holland files from Pennsylvania.”
The couple added employees through the years, and while Claire continued to concentrate on servicing the CNH account, Kevin started building the company’s website business – beginning with an online CNH digital asset library.
Since then the company has designed and host more than 1,000 websites for customers throughout the Midwest and also offer search engine optimization (SEO), Google ads, social media marketing, graphic design, videography/photography and branding.
The staff, which swelled at one point to 20 before the recession, has settled into a comfortable 12, including Kevin, Claire, their daughter Paige (author of new book, “Grow Up; Growing Your Business & Yourself”), along with graphic designers, web developers and account executives.
They’ve continued to be very personally involved in the community. Kevin serves on the board of the Racine Family YMCA, Claire is the president-elect of the Racine Founders Rotary Club and Paige serves on the board of St. Monica’s Senior Living. They contribute financially to a number of local nonprofits, including the Racine Family YMCA Lighthouse Run, George Bray Center YMCA, Family Services of Racine, Share the Warmth Winter Coat Drive, Racine Police Department, Racine Zoo, Wisconsin Humane Society, Racine Founders Rotary Club, Hope Safehouse, Society’s Assets, Racine Literacy Council, Cops ‘n Kids Reading Center, Safe Haven Youth Center, Kiwanis Club, St. Paul the Apostle Church, Downtown Racine Corporation, Racine’s Got Talent and Kenosha Creative Space.
The Weslaski Family, including son James, who’s a physical education and health teacher at Shorewood High School, is also very committed to personal health and fitness. They’re all competitive swimmers, cyclists and runners, collecting a multitude of medals and trophies from 5Ks, 10Ks, marathons; sprint, olympic, and ironman triathlons.
Kevin’s life-changing accomplishment, second only to landing the internship at St. Luke’s 28 years ago, was placing fourth among 167 entrants in the 50-59 age division of the Ironman 70.3 World Championship Sept. 2 at Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa.
For more information about Image Management, visit imagemanagement.com.