Thirty years ago, I was just a few years out of school and working as a copy editor at the Sun-Sentinel, a daily paper in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. My ambition was as big as my hair (see the proof in our magazine), and I eventually became the feature editor, jumped ship to the San Jose Mercury News, and then moved on to be a senior editor at the Orange County Register in Santa Ana, Calif. After 25 years in the daily news business and more than a little weary of the traffic in southern California, the hub and I decided that Oregon looked like heaven. We pulled up roots one last time and moved to Portland, where a bit of serendipity led me to Oregon Business five years ago.
I had little knowledge of the history of how the magazine started, but I deeply understood the commitment of the owners — those three names you see each month listed in our masthead over on the right: André Iseli, Bill Mainwaring and Win McCormack. Through thick and thin, their dedication to keeping the state’s only business magazine operating has never wavered.
In 1980, Rob Fussell was a Portland businessman running the Business Success News when he and Mainwaring, whose family owned the Salem Capitol Journal before they sold it to the Gannett newpaper chain in 1965, decided Oregon needed a really good business magazine.
Iseli, a former investment banker and former owner of Iseli Nursery, came aboard shortly thereafter. “The magazine was my way to give back to the people of Oregon,” Iseli says, “for what they’ve allowed me to do and to be.”
The three founded M.I.F. Publications (later to become MEDIAmerica) in November 1980 and in February 1981 launched Oregon Business. McCormack joined the band a few years later when he merged his Oregon Magazine with OB. McCormack, a noted writer and author, also founded the literary magazine Tin House and helped create Mother Jones magazine. A journalist couldn’t ask for three better people to have in her corner.
Iseli summed up the enduring partnership among our trio of owners: “I’ve been blessed beyond measure,” he says. “Apart from the Lord, the blessing has been my two wonderful partners in Bill Mainwaring and Win McCormack.”
As we were reminiscing about the founding of OB while putting this issue together, Mainwaring said it best about why this magazine is important to them. “It’s a public service as well as a business,” he said. “I like to think we made a real contribution to the state over the years.”
And they did. So in this issue we celebrate 30 years of Oregon business, past and future, in many pages and from many different perspectives. But on this page, I’d like to celebrate the men who had this great idea 30 years ago, and never lost the faith.