The School Photographers of America (SPOA) recognized Olan Mills II with the first Chairman’s Award of Innovation at the International Conference on School Photography & Yearbooks. The SPOA Chairman’s Award of Innovation recognizes an inventor or an innovator who has revolutionized the school photography and yearbook industry.
The son of founder Olan Mills, Olan Mills II went to work for the family business after graduating from Princeton University in 1952. With his younger brother, Charles, the two assumed complete control of the business in 1972. At that time, the $20 million company was poised for growth. In the ensuing years, the company began an impressive national expansion and embraced technological innovation that grew the company 20x in 20 years.
Accepting on behalf of Mills was Gene Harrell, Advanced Photographic Solutions, Cleveland, TN. The award was presented the award Friday, June 10, at during the association’s awards banquet and celebration at the Westin Galleria, Houston, Texas.
“Olan Mills II is truly a worthwhile recipient of the first Chairman’s Award of Innovation,” said David Crandall, executive director, SPOA. “Olan Mills pioneered many of the marketing practices, like marking photos with a copyright logo and telemarketing, that are taken for granted today. He also spearheaded much of the technology still in use today.”