Vice President, Publishing at American College of Physicians
Please tell us a bit about yourself (e.g. hometown, current locale, course of study).
I grew up in the Northern New Jersey suburban town of Paramus. When I was 17 I joined the United States Marine Corps for 6 years as part of the Marine Reserves. I was deployed for Desert Storm in 1991 and came back home 3 months later at the end of my enlistment. During the same 6 years I was working in a local printing company and also went to college for business administration and minored in art and design. At that time, printing was a very manual art and there was no digital process involved. That changed rapidly by the time I was just starting to love working in printing. I gravitated to the print pre-press process and learned how to do page layout, photo-offset stripping, and camera work. I also began working on an Apple Mac II to start creating text and some artwork. That was the beginning of a long career of new opportunities, an incredible change in the industry, and a love for publishing.
Describe some of your current responsibilities and what type of organization you belong to.
I am currently the Vice President of Publishing at the American College of Physicians (ACP). The mission of ACP is to enhance the quality and effectiveness of health care by fostering excellence and professionalism in the practice of medicine. I manage three teams that are responsible for electronic publishing, online delivery, print manufacturing, editorial production, sales, and circulation of the publications for ACP. This includes the Annals of Internal Medicine, Annals of Internal Medicine: Clinical Cases, ACP Internist, and ACP Hospitalist publications.
What was your first scholarly publishing role? How did you get that job? What path led to your current position?
After being in the print industry for about 6 years working for larger printing companies, I went through the beginning of the digital pre-press transition. We moved from Scitex systems and migrated to larger Macintosh computers. We started producing text layouts and artwork for print. We began scanning with desktop scanning devices, and I learned the art of digital image production for grayscale and color images. The moment that changed my career from working in printing to publishing was due to an accident on a printing press. While I was cleaning a press, my hand got crushed in a back cylinder. I decided I no longer wanted to run any mechanical equipment. Simon and Schuster Publishing was looking for people with print and pre-press experience to bring them into the new digital age. It was an exciting time for publishing and the beginning of great change. I was hired into the publishing group with two other pre-press people to change the complete publishing process. I was part of the big change of people working on manual page layout tables to moving them to computerized publishing and page composition. Since that time, I have worked in scholarly publishing for books and journals in both publishing companies and publishing vendors. I worked for Simon and Schuster, Pearson, McGraw Hill, IPC Communications, Sheridan Press, Innodata, Elsevier, Great Minds, and now the American College of Physicians. The amount of change I have seen in the industry has required the ability to manage and succeed in a continuously changing environment.
If there was a pivotal moment or key person in your career development, please describe briefly.
I was hired into Simon and Schuster by David Riccardi. He became my first real career
development mentor, as well as a friend. During the incredible amount of change, he was pivotal in guiding and pushing me further at each point of the changes we encountered. I learned from him that change is good—you need to embrace and use change to get to the next level.
What tools, websites, and organizations do you find most valuable for your career development?
The online LinkedIn app has been very helpful in keeping up with industry connections, job opportunities, and ongoing changes in the publishing industry. It helps to expand your reach to others you may not already know who are in the same roles and companies that are working with you during your career.
Industry organizations like SSP are integral in keeping the industry leaders in close contact and understanding of the changes and ongoing developments in the scholarly publishing world.
What are some of the surprises/obstacles that you’ve encountered during your career?
In the 30+ years I have been in publishing, the biggest change that impacted the industry was the move of work that had been done completely in the United States to a migration of publishing production and editorial work to non–U.S.-based companies. This change and the technology that enabled it in the 90s brought us all to a different level of working and a reorganization of how publishing editorial and production work was accomplished. I was very fortunate to engage in the migration as well as work with many companies that are now a standard in publishing. I traveled to India (many times), the Philippines, the UK, Netherlands, Germany, and China as part of that transition. I have become friends with many of my international colleagues and am very fortunate for their impact on my career and life.
What advice would you give to people interested in a career in scholarly communications?
Be ready for change. Embrace it and always look for how change will optimize every opportunity to make things better. Scholarly publishing is the industry that enables the most change across Science, Technology, Engineering, and Medicine. It is the base for all education and learning, and you can be a part of that.