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Each month, this space will highlight the unique career path and insights of an SSP member. We hope that these brief profiles provide guidance to our early career members and those site visitors interested in the broad spectrum of scholarly communications opportunities. Please contact Phil Wallas with any questions or suggestions for future profiles.

PROFESSIONAL PROFILES:

Michael Margotta

Maverick Outsource Services, Ltd.

Michael MargottaFirst, tell us a bit about yourself (hometown, current locale, family, hobbies, community involvement?).

I was born on a military base, Fort Dix, in central New Jersey just prior to my father being transferred to Germany where I spent my first four and a half years—including being in Berlin when the Wall went up. Growing up, I spent two or three years on or near various US Army bases in the eastern United States. These included postings in Georgia, North Carolina, Maryland and Pennsylvania. I spent my high school years in Chester County, PA outside of Philadelphia and attended an all-boys prep school in Wilmington, DE, The Salesianum school. I graduated from the University of South Carolina with a BS in Electrical Engineering and my first job out of college was as a flight test engineer for Lockheed in Marietta, GA. While with Lockheed, I attended Brenau College and earned a Masters in Business Administration.

After three and a half years flight testing airplanes, I realized that being involved in the defense industry made for sketchy career security so I accepted a position as Publisher, Computer Technology Division at Technomic Publishing – my start in the academic/professional publishing industry that I have been in ever since. In 1995, I became the CEO of Technomic Publishing and purchased the company from its founder. Shortly thereafter, I was honored by my alma mater as their Outstanding Young Alumnus Award recipient. In 2001, I sold the company and six months later, after a brief hiatus to confirm that my golf game would never become accomplished enough to earn my way onto the Senior Tour, I agreed with EBSCO to come to Birmingham to help them start their online hosting service, MetaPress. In 2011, I felt it was time to again get more directly involved in the professional publishing environment and decided to leave MetaPress to start a new career as an industry consultant. I am currently partnered with Martin Marlow in a fast growing publishing specialist form called Maverick Outsource Services.

I have lived the last ten years in Birmingham and am anxiously looking forward to reconnecting with my lovely wife of 28 years, Susie, as we edge towards becoming empty nesters. We have two sons; Mason is 20 years is and currently studying Environment Science at the University of British Columbia, and Brayden, who is currently a junior at the Altamont school.

Although I do not have near the free time I seemed to have in the past, I have always been a golf enthusiast. I still keep a (very old) list of the world’s top 100 golf courses and still manage to play on one or two new ones on the list each year. My last conquest off the list was Bandon Dunes in Oregon during an extended RV trip this past summer while taking Mason to Vancouver for school. Besides having three hole-in-ones, my greatest golf moment was chipping in off the 18th green at the Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island to win the 1997 Pro-Am with my partner, Payne Stewart.

Currently, what little free time I have, I have enjoyed experiencing the poker boom by playing tournament poker when I can. However, most of my time is involved with the Greater Birmingham Youth Lacrosse Association as a volunteer and general gofer for Susie, the current operations manager responsible for running a league with over 1,500 players on 74 teams.

Describe some of your responsibilities, and how you or your organization fit into the scholarly communications web.

Over the past 28 years I have been involved in editorial acquisition, managed a production facility (including printing which gives you an idea of how long ago that was), been involved in numerous acquisitions, run a publishing house with 100 employees, helped grow and develop an online hosting operation, and provided technology and marketing strategic services for many of the top publishing organizations in the world.

What career path led to your current position?

Probably the single most important factor in getting into publishing for me was earning my MBA and realizing I enjoyed the scholarly pursuits of science more than the operational aspects of engineering. That along with a newly found interest in business pursuits opened my eyes to the opportunities of the publishing industry.

Where do you see scholarly communications heading, and what new directions interest you most?

I see two major trends that will dramatically impact the scholarly communications market in the near term. The first is moving quickly, and that is the development of understandable business models with viable transfer of appropriate data for the commerce of eBooks. Once a viable flow of data between publishers, distributors, aggregators and institutional purchasers is standardized, the pathway to real eBook sales growth will benefit the entire marketplace, not just large publishers. The second evolving trend is a next generation shift in how content is produced and the inherent ability to provide a real multimedia experience to scholarly communications that fully take advantage of the online distribution stream.

What are some of the surprises/obstacles that you’ve encountered during your career?

Without a doubt, the largest obstacle I have encountered in my publishing career has been coming to the realization that as delivery of content moves to smaller, patron defined components and away from publisher defined packaging, the more difficult it is for all but the largest and best organized global publishing organizations to maintain their brand identity and competitive advantage.

What advice would you give to people interested in a career in scholarly communications? What new roles or opportunities do you see emerging in the field?

If a young professional were interested in entering into scholarly publishing, I would highly recommend that they gain a full understanding of the Open Access model and recognize that the “author” is the client that needs to be properly serviced. The growth of this business model is undeniable and there are real opportunities for growth in publishing for those that understand the dynamic change in these new operational models.

For more information, visit www.maverick-os.com.