After Years of Rough Roads, the Future Looks Brighter in 2011

A letter from the publisher of Tallahassee Magazine

Listening to the news shows, I could not count the times the “talking heads” kept referring as the past decade being the worst in many generations. I totally disagree.

As I look back since the new millennium was rung in 120 months ago, I feel it has been a decade of learning, maturing and growth in so many ways. Granted, the past 15 months have been challenging, yet I have learned much. During this period, I have seen friends pass, people I care about endure personal tragedies and the economic foundation which allowed Rowland Publishing to support more than 30 families maximally challenged.

The past three years have also been a challenging and difficult period of time for our world, our nation, our communities and for many of the people we know and care for. Our world has changed, probably forever.

During periods like this, the best and the worst side of human nature tends to rise to the surface. People I know and care for have put their lives on hold to be a caregiver to a loved one, struggling to balance work, family and personal lives. People have lost their jobs and businesses and are adrift trying to make ends meet. I also have observed people walk away from their financial obligations with an unconscionable sense of entitlement, contempt and disregard.

The group of individuals I have the privilege to work with and who have committed their talent to this publishing company have pulled together this past year and have gotten us there with all of our bills paid, our products completed on time and to the satisfaction of our most valued assets — our clients and our readers.

The team also made contributions to society, most impressively during the holidays last year to a Tallahassee family in need. A father of five who lost his job captured the giving hearts of the Rowland team. His wife has a part-time job, and they struggle each month to pay the basic bills. The 2009 holiday would not have happened for them had it not been for the RPI team. I had asked for food donations, but when Cherie and I drove to their home last year, the SUV was packed with presents, food, clothes and more than  $200 in gift cards for essentials.

I had never done this before and had no idea how many positive feelings I would have driving away after our brief visit: Pride in my staff for stretching their personal resources to help others, the satisfaction of seeing the true appreciation of the family — and lastly, personally experiencing the magic of the holiday season like I never had before.

In the same way, when local nonprofits ask, I will help promote events and causes. Usually, my contributions are behind the scenes. But Gerry Phipps managed to hit my soft spot when she asked me to participate in the inaugural Top Dog contest that benefits Be the Solution. (There’s an entire story on the good works of her organization on page 22.) My dogs — Sam, Bonzi and Chance — are in the running to be named Tallahassee’s Top Business Dog, but they need your votes to win.

If a complimentary copy of Tallahassee Magazine is mailed to your house and you’ve enjoyed reading it over the years, I would ask that you say “thanks,” by going online at through Feb. 22 and voting for us. Each vote is a $1 donation, but if all of our readers voted, we could raise $18,000 to pay for spaying and neutering companion animals to help eradicate pet overpopulation. Thank you.

I look forward optimistically to 2011 being the year of economic recovery on all levels. At Rowland Publishing, we will maintain our commitment to excellence, work as a team for the betterment of all and commit to give back when we can again and again.

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