A Quintessential Entrepreneur—Mark Michelson
You may have noticed our tribute on this issue's cover to Irvin J. Borowsky, founder of Printing Impressions and a successful b-to-b publishing company, who passed away Nov. 25 at age 90. "Mr. B," as he was affectionately called by many employees, showed his entrepreneurial acumen early on in life. At age 12, he answered an ad in Popular Mechanics for a $5 printing press. And, by age 14, he had launched City Wide Press, printing business cards on the small, handfed press that he had set up in his bedroom.
In 1948, recognizing the potential of the emerging television industry, Mr. B had the foresight to launch a regional weekly television schedule magazine, which was printed on larger format presses that he had acquired. He was also the first to present movies on TV, and to market magazines at supermarket checkout counters. Mr. B sold his publication to Walter Annenberg—who would go on to create TV Guide—five years later and used the proceeds to launch Printing Impressions into what was then a highly crowded field of more than a dozen industry publications. More trade magazine titles followed, and North American Publishing Co. (NAPCO) became a well-established, thriving enterprise.
But not one to rest on his laurels, Mr. B decided to step away from the day-to-day operations of NAPCO in the 1980s to pursue his philanthropic and social interests. He founded the American Interfaith Institute in 1982 to help unite Jews and Christians. Even more remarkable, in 2000 he created the National Liberty Museum, which honors people throughout the ages who have stood up against persecution and bigotry, and who've promoted freedom, peace and civic duty. Philanthropic causes he generously supported reflected his personal interests in art, education and religion.
So, it seems quite fitting—as we mourn his passing—that North American Publishing Co. is now doing business as Napco Media to better reflect its evolution from a legacy publisher to a cross-media producer of content for multiple platforms—including print, digital, video and events. As a visionary, trendsetter and lifelong entrepreneur who thrived on change, Mr. B would have approved wholeheartedly.