Northwest Indiana Business Magazine celebrates three decades of serving readers
I left the conference room fuming, not at all concerned about how hard the door closed behind me. Returning to my office, I wrote the date May 1, 2015, on my white board. It would serve as a reminder and to mark the beginning of a six-month evaluation period before leaving a company whose mission I respected and where I had spent 17 mostly happy years. Six months later, I looked at that date one last time before signing my resignation letter and beginning my journey to become publisher of Northwest Indiana Business Magazine.
Ten years earlier, I moved to Dyer, but not being from the Region, my connections to the business community were limited. I did not realize that, in 1991, Glee Renick-May, then with Indiana Business Magazine, partnered with the Northwest Indiana Forum to launch the biannual Northwest Indiana Magazine. It focused on local business successes and the strengths of the Region’s economy. I also didn’t know that, in 2002, Northwest Indiana Magazine had increased its frequency to four issues annually and changed its name to Northwest Indiana Business Quarterly.
It is fair to say that Northwest Indiana Business Magazine would not be celebrating its 30th anniversary if it were not for the confidence and chutzpah of Glee Renick-May. I never met Glee. Sadly, she passed before I had the chance, but I can tell you she seemed to be my kind of gal! She believed in Northwest Indiana Business Quarterly and, by extension, the Region so much that she refused to let the magazine die with Indiana Business Magazine in 2009. In the middle of the 2008 Great Recession, she bought the magazine from Curtis Publishing. Using grit and more than a little determination, she guided the magazine from its founding in 1991 to its 25th anniversary in 2016.
I learned about Glee and the magazine when I met her husband, Conrad, shortly after her death in early 2016. Conrad’s goal was to find someone to carry on the magazine. He saw her fight to keep the magazine going from her hospice bed in their living room, demonstrating how much she loved it and the Northwest Indiana business community. His goal was to find someone to carry on the magazine’s mission. He was not interested in selling to someone who wanted to merge the magazine into another publication or to shut it down. Instead, he sought someone who wanted to run it, not just own it!
At the same time, I was looking for a new opportunity. I wanted to lead a small team where my publishing experience and skills could impact success without the interference and bureaucracy of a large organization. Conrad said Glee guided us to each other from above. I am not sure I will go that far, but we did learn Glee’s favorite aunt was my childhood Sunday school teacher years ago. Coincidence or fate? You be the judge.
Before purchasing the magazine, I worked with Conrad as the associate publisher. I wanted to talk with the advertisers, writers, editors, photographers, and most importantly, readers to learn more about the magazine’s reputation. Everyone I spoke with during those first few weeks was complimentary of the magazine’s editorial reputation. Which — with the support of my wife, Lee Ann, and her steady job with benefits — gave me the confidence to take a risk and purchase the magazine from Conrad.
In the weeks and months that followed, I recognized the magazine’s ability to spotlight the issues and people important to our Region, which is the foundation of its positive reputation. Living up to this reputation is our daily goal and a guiding principle for our future growth plans.
As my confidence in Northwest Indiana Business Quarterly grew, I decided in 2018 to expand the publishing schedule from quarterly to bimonthly. In recognition of this change, we removed quarterly from the magazine’s title — although many folks continue to call us NWIBQ — adopting our current title Northwest Indiana Business Magazine.
I never would have predicted the day I decided to leave a company I loved that, nearly six years later, I would be blessed with a new mission and a new company I love even more!
Many thanks to our readers and our advertisers for supporting the magazine for 30 years. We are committed to showcasing the activities and business professionals who are moving our community forward for many years to come!