Long-time publisher Rob Wilkins announces retirement; Lou Smyrlis picked to succeed him
July 10, 2013
TORONTO, Ont. -- Rob Wilkins, senior publisher of our Trucking Group of magazines, research, online and video properties has announced his retirement. “Rob has been a great leader for this organization for over 33 years, leading...
TORONTO, Ont. — Rob Wilkins, senior publisher of our Trucking Group of magazines, research, online and video properties has announced his retirement.
“Rob has been a great leader for this organization for over 33 years, leading his team into establishing our trucking group of magazines as the most dominant brands in the Canadian trucking space,” said Alex Papanou, vice president of the Business Information Group, Canada’s largest business magazine publisher and parent company of the Trucking Group.
Wilkins began his career with Wadham Publishing in 1980 in the automotive group. After the acquisition of Wadham, Rob quickly rose up through the ranks and was promoted to publisher of L’Automobile and SSGM. Then, in 2000, he was once again promoted – this time to senior publisher of the trucking division.
“Although we will miss Rob, he has earned the opportunity to enjoy more time with his family. Please join me in wishing Rob all the best in his retirement,” said Papanou.
Wilkins will remain with the publication until August 30th. Stepping into the publisher’s role as of September 2 will be Lou Smyrlis.
Smyrlis has been with the Trucking Group since 1991 when he began his career in business journalism with Motortruck Fleet Executive following an award-winning three years as a newspaper reporter. Ten years ago, he was named editorial director for the group, a position he will continue to hold.
As publisher and editorial director, Smyrlis will oversee a growing group of media properties: Truck News, Truck West, Fleet Executive; the award-winning WebTV show TMTV; trucknews.com; several e-newsletters; the Surface Transportation Summit; and a prolific research team. He will also continue to oversee the editorial direction of shipper-focused magazine Canadian Transportation & Logistics and its website ctl.ca. Combined, these properties have a circulation of more than 150,000 providers and buyers of transportation services across Canada.
“Rob was instrumental in helping us grow into a multi-media provider of industry news and research. Under his leadership, we took tremendous strides over the past 13 years. I look forward to continuing our efforts to engage with both our readers and advertisers on a variety of media platforms,” Smyrlis said. “The breadth of editorial products we have, allows us to provide unprecedented coast to coast news coverage and analysis of Canada’s transportation industry in ways that are insightful and impactful.”
During his more than 20 years reporting on transportation issues and leading research projects, Smyrlis has become a leading authority on industry trends and one of the most sought after speakers in the industry. His award-winning work has been published by the Harvard School of Business, referenced in university research papers and included in a university textbook on management practices.
“What is also exciting about this new position is that I’m inheriting the most experienced and proven sales and editorial teams in the Canadian trucking market,” Smyrlis said. The sales team remains the same, of course. Kathy Penner, Doug Copeland, Don Besler and Brenda Grant together have 120 years of experience in the industry.
Associate publisher Kathy Penner, one of the most recognized faces in trucking today, will continue to play a major role in the management of the Trucking Group, travelling across the continent to represent the brand.
“I’m eager to work with Lou to grow our Trucking Group into new areas, always staying close to our readers and advertisers,” Penner said.
The editorial team continues to be led by James Menzies, one of the most influential editors in Canada’s trucking industry. His team of western editor Jim Bray and features editor Julia Kuzeljevich has received more than 60 writing and video journalism awards from the Canadian Business Press, Canadian Online Publishing and Truck Writers of North America. Added to that is the deepest talent pool of trucking industry writers including former Truck News editor John G. Smith, long-time Quebec correspondent Carroll McCormick, on-the-road editor Harry Rudolfs and the most recognized columnists and bloggers in the industry.
“The coming years will be ones of great change for both trucking and publishing. But with change comes opportunity for those with access to the right information, insight and market reach. Our unwavering mandate is to continue to provide our readers and advertisers with the on-going strength of our commitment,” Smyrlis said.
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