30 years Athena: interview with Carine Verhaeghe

Friday 2 July 2021

On the occasion of our 30th anniversary, we would like to introduce you to employees who have been working for us for 30 years or more. For the second interview in this series, we would like to give the floor to Carine Verhaeghe, photo retouching specialist at Athena Graphics.


How did you end up at Athena?

I started at “Huize Breughel” with mounting shares. Later I moved to the mounting department. At that time, a lot of puzzling and pasting had to be done and everything was still done by hand: titles had to be put on the mounting with “rubbing letters”, masks still had to be cut out in red masking film, … . After mounting, I was allowed to work on the scanner… mounting slides or photos on the drum and scanning them with the right settings to obtain the best result.

After 2 years I switched to Athena Graphics, where they started with flexo. In the early years there was still a lot of searching to do. For example, we had to adjust the first flexo label 8 times before it was correct. After 30 years, we have grown into a leading photogravure company.


What exactly is your job and what do you like about it?

I started as a DTP operator and gradually specialised in retouching photos. Checking whether there is enough minimum point, adding colours or removing polluting ones, etc.
Flexo printing presses have undergone an enormous evolution. With all the new screens and many printing profiles, it is still important to examine and adjust all images carefully. Images in which Pantone colours have to be used remain my favourite. When admiring the printed packaging in the shop afterwards, I am proud of the work done.


What are the biggest changes in 30 years?

The biggest change is of course digitisation with computers becoming smaller and more powerful. Everything happens much faster. It used to take us 3 to 4 days to assemble, whereas now it only takes 2 hours.
We have also grown enormously in 30 years. The number of employees has increased tenfold and we now have companies in the Netherlands and France as well.


What are the milestone moments for you in 30 years?

One of the milestone moments is the first time an image was sent to Athena via modem. It took about half an hour to receive a 5MB image.
Another milestone moment is the move to the Liebeekstraat, to the beautiful building with lots of space and light!
Last but not least. Thanks to the many activities and parties, the colleagues have become friends… important too!