River City Six: Lori Black
MIT Images 360 (www.mitimages360.com) provides businesses with virtual tours that are placed online in order to enhance their online presence while also providing improved search engine optimization and better visibility. Lori Black is the owner of MIT Images 360.
Tell us a little about your business. – I am an independent photographer certified by Google for the search engine’s Streetview Trusted program. This program allows businesses to hire independent photographers to take 360-degree panoramic photo shoots of their business interiors. These photo shoots are put into Google’s software and the result is a 360-degree virtual walking tour of the business. These tours appear on business Google pages like Google Plus and Google Maps. By giving people a look inside the business before they arrive, you’ll be increasing their confidence and their comfort in visiting the business. More and more businesses are recognizing the value of these tours.
How did you get started in the business? – A business associate who was helping me with my website told me about the program and I decided to get involved. I started in Lincoln and am currently the only certified Google Streetview photographer in Lincoln. My brother and I, who have been in business doing photography and videography, recently expanded our reach to offer the Streetview tours to Omaha businesses.
What has been your most important achievement professionally? – Before I started my own business, I had a career in journalism. I worked as a newspaper and wire service reporter and photographer. After working a few years with United Press International I was promoted to the position of state editor, which put me in charge of statewide operations for the wire service. I held this position in Nebraska and in Wisconsin. It was a lot of fun and I would say my most important professional achievement.
Tell us a little about your family. – I have been married to Tony Black for about eight years now. He has two grown daughters. My mother lives with us in addition to our two cats and two dogs, including a 16-year-old Jack Russell terrier that is still going strong.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off? – I rarely get a day off! I’m always tinkering around doing something to advance my business. When I do take time to relax, Tony and I enjoying going out to eat. For the most part I am a homebody.
What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know? – My husband and I used to own a speed dating business. It was great while it lasted but after about 10 years it burned itself out.
What are you the most proud of? – I am most proud of my entrepreneurial spirit. In my younger days I was a traditional employee working for other companies. I always had a yearning, though, to be my own boss and do my own thing. This led to me to operating several different businesses of my own.
If you could choose only one descriptive word to be remembered as, what would it be? – Persistent. There are rejections and setbacks in any business, but my motto is “never give up.”
What local non-profit organization(s) are you passionate about or involved with, and are there any special reasons why? – I would love to get involved in any animal non-profit organization. I am passionate about animals and protecting them.
What is your favorite local restaurant? – Lazlo’s Brewery & Grill.