Albert Manzi, president and CEO of Prairie Mountain Media, to retire – The Denver Post

Albert Manzi, president and CEO of Prairie Mountain Media, is retiring after 42 years in the newspaper industry and 17 years leading Prairie Mountain Media, including as the publisher of the Daily Camera, the Longmont Times-Call, Loveland Reporter-Herald and the Greeley Tribune.

His last day is July 4.

“It’s been a great run,” Manzi said. “It’s been a lot of fun, and I have seen a lot of changes. I’m leaving the industry, but nothing will ever change my feeling about how important it is for newspapers to be committed to serving and covering our communities.”

Taking over as general manager and publisher is Jill Stravolemos, who is the current vice president of marketing and advertising at Prairie Mountain Media.

“I’m committed to supporting local community journalism, and that includes not only ensuring we have the advertising revenue to support the production of our news products, but also partnering with local nonprofits and working with business owners to grow their revenue and customer base,” she said.

Manzi, who is 65, got his start in the newspaper business at age 10 in 1968 with a newspaper route delivering his hometown paper, the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader in Pennsylvania — the same paper where he ended up working for 18 years.

His first job at the Times Leader was as the circulation office manager, moving up to circulation director after four years and later adding the production and advertising departments to his responsibilities. He also was the leader of the team that installed the first Man Roland Geo-Man press in the United States.

He next worked for seven years for Pulitzer Inc. at the Daily Herald in Provo, Utah, first as general manager and then as president and publisher. During his tenure there, he added several weeklies and a real estate magazine.

He was hired as president of Prairie Mountain Media in June 2006, shortly after the newspaper management and operating partnership was created by the E.W. Scripps Company and MediaNews Group.

Bill Reynolds, general manager and senior vice president of circulation and production at The Denver Post and Prairie Mountain Media, said he wishes Manzi and his wife, Ann Marie Manzi, “much happiness in their retirement years.”

“Al has been a tremendous leader and innovator at Prairie Mountain Media,” he said. “He is certainly going to be missed in the community that he serves.”

Prairie Mountain Media steadily expanded under Manzi’s tenure, including adding The Cañon City Shopper and the South Platte Sentinel. In 2011, the company purchased the Lehman Group newspapers, which includes the Longmont Times-Call, Loveland Reporter-Herald and Cañon City Daily Record, plus a large commercial and newspaper printing plant in Berthoud. Most recently, in 2020, the company purchased the Greeley Tribune in March 2020.

The company also includes the Broomfield Enterprise, the Colorado Hometown Weekly, the Estes Park Trail-Gazette and a group of papers from eastern Colorado: Brush, Fort Morgan, Sterling, Akron, Lamar, Julesburg and Burlington.

Manzi said points of pride include the growth of Prairie Mountain Media in an environment of shrinking media companies, with the company more than doubling in size over the past 17 years. The company also partnered with The Denver Post as a sister paper to find synergies in circulation, advertising, editorial and production.

He said he’s also proud of the Prairie Mountain Media team.

“Something I learned long ago was to get out of the way and let the team do its job,” he said.

He noted Prairie Mountain Media was one of the first newspaper groups to create a centralized page production hub, which has become an industry norm. Another highlight, he said, was the advertising department’s idea to produce a commemorative book on Boulder County’s 2013 floods. The book sold 15,000 copies, with part of the proceeds donated to the Community Foundation’s flood relief efforts.

One of the big challenges during his tenure was managing what’s become “a very difficult revenue model” for newspapers as digital platforms proliferated.

“It’s a much more complicated business now,” he said. “I’m very proud of the work of our company to develop digital products that effectively served our advertisers. Our digital circulation is growing so rapidly. We reach more people than we ever have in the past.”

He added that he’s proud of his work with area chambers of commerce and nonprofit boards, including serving as a board member for the “I Have Dream” Foundation of Boulder County.

John Tayer, president and CEO of the Boulder Chamber, praised Manzi for his dedication to serving his community.

“Having had the chance to work with Al in a variety of professional and volunteer roles, I can attest to his commitment to meeting the journalistic needs of our intellectually challenging and deeply engaged community amidst an increasingly difficult period for the news media industry,” Tayer said in a written statement. “In service to that cause, I am thankful that Al’s business acumen helped to sustain the Daily Camera as a vital news resource for the Boulder region. I also appreciate the investment of volunteer time and resources Al made in addressing critical human service needs and economic vitality challenges throughout his career in Boulder.”

Lori Canova, the chief growth officer for the National “I Have A Dream” Foundation, worked with Manzi during his nine years as a board member while she served as the CEO at Boulder County’s “I Have A Dream.”

“He was an amazing advocate and ambassador helping promote our mission to expand our program to reach more children and their families throughout Boulder County,” she said in a written statement. “Al volunteered to support us in every way possible, recruiting dedicated volunteer mentors and learning partners, chairing our annual luncheon and golf tournament, and hosting several events at his home.”

She added that his passion for supporting the Boulder County community as a publisher will be missed.

“However, I have no doubt he’ll continue to do even more during his retirement, that’s just the person he is,” she wrote.

While he will miss the newspaper industry, Manzi said, he’s ready to travel and spend more time with his wife, grandchildren, family and friends. He added he’s confident he’s leaving the company in good hands with Stravolemos as publisher.

“Jill has been instrumental throughout the years in driving revenue programs and coming up with creative ideas to generate revenue in a difficult and competitive environment,” he said. “She is completely ready to take on the company. She will do a fantastic job.”

Stravolemos, who lives in Erie with her husband, Geoff Spakes, and their four beagles, started her career with Gannett by working at her hometown newspaper in Shreveport, Louisiana, as a special events coordinator. She was promoted to Gannett’s Fort Myers newspaper as marketing communications manager in 1994.

After relocating to Colorado, she was hired by the Daily Camera as a marketing manager in 1997. She stayed with the company through several ownership changes, from Knight-Ridder to Scripps Howard to MediaNews Group.

Through promotions, her responsibilities expanded to include circulation, digital and advertising. She also took part in the acquisitions of the Lehman Group and the Greeley Tribune. As the vice president of marketing and advertising, she’s currently responsible for advertising revenue growth for 20-plus news and niche brands, expos and events.

“I’m fortunate and blessed to work alongside the best of the best, including former co-workers of whom many are my mentors,” she said. “Filling Al’s shoes will not be easy, but he’s taught me well and leaves behind an incredibly strong team that will ensure community journalism throughout Prairie Mountain Media’s Colorado markets will continue to grow and thrive.”

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