30 Years Is A Long Time
by Scott A. Sumner
It seems just like yesterday that I was a young person just out of university with a career ahead of me. The question I had then was what would I like to do with my life?
That seems to be something you hear quite often from young people, even today. In my case I had just completed the MBA program at York University in Toronto- the Schulich school as it is now known. The temptation was to get a job at a large financial institution in Toronto. That was what many of my class mates were doing. In my case I felt the call to return to NW Ontario where I had grown up in the small mining communities. The beauty and lifestyle of the area just seemed to appeal to me the most. So off I went almost knowing in my mind that I would probably have to create my own career path. In fact after 1 year I was on my own and have been an entrepreneur ever since! It was in December 1984 that a new publication was launched Thunder Bay Business, my second after the still publishing Thunder Bay Real Estate News in September 1983. This started many different speciality publication ideas over the years from travel to community in the Manitouwadge area to lifestyle to car & truck to snowmobiling and golf. These were areas of interest to me and fun in which to be involved. The longest running publication that our company has owned is the Thunder Bay Business, now 30 years old! Time has flown by as it really does seem not far long ago that our first issue was off the press.
Since then there has been 360 issues of Thunder Bay Business and they have been fun for me to work on. The publishing business has been a good one for me as I think it fits my personality. I was always a very inquisitive person and in media you certainly get to meet many people and learn so much. It is a very creative dynamic career and one I still enjoy after all this time. Publishing has changed technically in a dramatic way over the years. I can remember when we had dark rooms, large image setters that outputted film and paste up areas where you worked with exacto knives and created large layouts that you would bring to the printers. Now you work on a small Apple computer and do electronic layouts that are made into PDF files and uploaded to your printer’s FTP site. You can also take your information and upload it to your website in a matter of seconds for the whole world to see. It really is quite amazing and the power of information lives in all forms of the media industry.
The best part of the job for me has always been meeting so many interesting people who are proud of what they do and interested in serving a grouping of customers. My goal has been to describe them to our readers and in essence get their personalities across. Our world is all about people right? Over the years it has been my good fortune to have some great people working with me. It seems there was always someone great in the marketing and design areas which are so important. Today we have Sylvia & Sonia in marketing, Miranda in graphic design and Sherry A helping in editorial. The companies Web Press have been great in printing, Thunder Bay Lettershop in distribution, Sencia and MPG Solutions in electronic media and the firms of Christie & Potestio and Weiler’s in legal work. It has been a great team. My biggest supporters have been my parents, Alan and Barbara Sumner. While they are both in Heaven now I remember their help the most and know they would be proud of the 30th Anniversary of Thunder Bay Business! People often ask me if I am going to retire and I always say quickly in maybe another 30 years! The job I created here in the north is one I still enjoy. Times are a little different than at the beginning but my schedule and publications allow me to travel the world which is also very interesting. You have probably read about some of these adventures. The web is very exciting as well and the rapid change in this area is a good challenge. Finally special thanks to our readers and advertisers over the years. Without you it would never be possible!