It is with mixed feelings that I hand over the ownership of the Regional Publishing Corporation to a new company. Though I retired almost 10 years ago, I still consult with daughter Amy when unusual problems arise. I am greatly hindered by the lack of knowledge of the new technology, especially the Internet.
Heck, I can’t even type!
Also, dealing with the many repressive government regulations is making me almost crazy or at least extremely frustrated. Even ordering basic printing supplies has gotten substantially more complicated. In short, the time has come to turn the company over to new managers who are equipped with both knowledge and money to move comprehensively into the digital age.
Happily for everyone, Amy Richards will continue as publisher. This keeps her busy handling the day-to-day management as she does now. More importantly, she continues the family commitment to the welfare of the communities which we serve. My wife, Gerri, has been very supportive of the time and energy I devoted to the Regional, but she is totally supporting the sale of my company.
There are two points that I want to make here. 1) I am
not selling for health reasons.
2) My wife and I have no plans to move away from Palos Heights.
We have visited Florida, Texas, Arizona and California and soundly rejected moving there or anywhere else. We may spend a few more weeks at our vacation home in northern Wisconsin but never in the winter.
My grandfather was a teacher in rural Missouri and every year or two the family was relocated to a new town’s school which offered higher pay. So Carl Richards promised me that he would not do the same to his family. Stability for me lasted almost 70 years. In fact, our family has retained the same published phone number for 68 years.
Some of our readers may wonder why I chose to sell to the Southwest company. 1) Their leader, Mark Hornung, worked for almost 30 years managing a number of different departments at the Southtown Economist so he knows newspapers and he knows this area well. 2) Hornung’s company wanted to buy our printing plant as well as our building. This was the clincher. I didn’t want to become a landlord. Their company was financially secure.
I will definitely miss serving the local area by providing the news that residents need to make good decisions for themselves and their families. And I’ll miss the happy thanks I get from parents when their son’s or daughter’s name or picture appears in one of my newspapers. I’ll miss helping local business owners run ads that bring in more customers. I will miss seeing the look on the face of the owner of a new newspaper which he has contracted with us to print and he admires the first copy that comes off our press.
It is so very important to sincerely thank all our advertisers because they provide 85 per cent of our newspaper income. Furthermore, thanks are due to our thousands of paid subscribers who read and respond to our ads. Much appreciation is deserved by the many publishers and schools who pay us to print their newspapers and class schedules on our presses. Many thanks to all of the above parties.
I must not fail to mention the scores of journalists, production workers, printers and many others who have served on our staff over the last half century. They made me a more successful publisher. I have also been blessed with a superb administrative support staff. Our in-house accountant has been with us for almost 35 years and our administrative assistant has labored here for nearly 40 years. Our average employee has been working for us for 18 years.
Kudos also to our many vendors of supplies and services. Over time they never let me down when I needed something delivered the next day, even in times of shortages. And I must confess that there were times, many years ago, when some of our vendors were patient in waiting a lot more than the standard 30 days to get paid. Thanks to the other printers and publishers who helped us out in times of emergencies like power outages or press breakdowns although such challenges were extremely rare.
I am proud to report that my company has recycled every single film negative and aluminum plate used since 1972. The same applies to our newspaper recycling program.
Finally, I must mention my thanks to the former Orland State Bank for providing financing of our new Goss printing press in 1970 at a fair interest rate.
Thanks are due to the Illinois Press Association in Springfield. They helped our firm in too many ways to list here during the past fifty years.
Last and perhaps most, I thank my dear wife for putting up with me for almost 50 years. She has been a saint. Perhaps because she is 100 percent Irish American, she could be so tolerant. High praise must also be given to my parents for the love and encouragement they gave me.
I assure you that I have every confidence in the new owners of Regional Publishing. Like me, they know what they are doing.
In conclusion, to paraphrase retiring Army General Douglas MacArthur, “Old publishers never die, they just fish away.”
So long folks.