1976 – Western Fulfillment Management Association (WFMA) is Established
"It is planned that this organization will be an educational media for all of us on the West Coast by providing a common meeting place and allowing us to get to know one another. Like the FMA in New York, this organization is intended to serve those involved in the fulfillment of customer services via the mails. This could be magazines, books, records, newspapers, merchandise or fundraising projects. I've been in magazine fulfillment for eight years. This is the first time I've had the opportunity to meet so many people in this industry, and it's been a very exciting experience." – from the transcript of the first WFMA meeting in 1976
The Western Fulfillment Management Association (WFMA) was founded in 1976 by a group of nine publishing professionals: Vern Ball, Fulfillment Manager, Petersen Publishing Co.; Dennis Neasi, Consultant; Alan Nelson, Fulfillment Manager, Architectural Digest; Carol Tarlton, Systems Analyst, Petersen Publishing Co.; Jack Thompson, Circulation Director, Petersen Publishing Co.; Tom Tomesky, Assistant Fulfillment Manager, Architectural Digest; Bob Warren, Operations Manager, Chuck Hume & Associates; Dan Whedon, Circulation Director, Challenge Publications; and Dagmar Smith, Fulfillment Manager, Trailer Life.
Southern California was home to some of the powerhouses of publishing in the 1970s and 1980s: Knapp Communications, which published the iconic Architectural Digest; Petersen Publishing, home to a diverse collection of consumer publications reflecting its owner's interests (cars, airplanes, guns and photography); Trailer Life, cradle of the 800,000-member Good Sam Club; and many other small consumer and business publications. The circulation and fulfillment professionals who worked at these publications nurtured the young association by volunteering their time and expertise.
The electronic age was ushered in by the folks who ran the mainframe at Petersen Publishing—one of the earliest WFMA meetings included a tour of that facility. “Test, test, test!” entered the lexicon of Southern California circulators by way of Rosemary Bruno, Jan Edwards, Bruce Miller and the other professionals at Knapp Communications, who taught the art and science of direct mail. Dagmar Smith shared her knowledge of customer service systems and best practices.
Controlled circulation practices were developed and taught by consummate professionals such as Norrma Samuels, with help from the circulation departments of Bobit Publishing, Brentwood Publishing, Canon Communications, Miramar Publications, Designers West and more. Glenn Hansen opened BPA's Western office in the late 1980s and immediately joined the WFMA Board of Directors, starting a tradition that continues today.
Rita Stanley of Canon Communications was an early advocate of telemarketing. Christine Oldenbrook introduced the use of fax as a requalification tool to the WFMA. Consultant and former copywriter Allen Greer, in a truly original presentation, discussed how to use editorial to sell renewals. Carl David and Mike Leonard debated the virtues of in-house fulfillment vs. service bureaus. Charlie Biles, the head of Mailing Classifications in Los Angeles, spoke annually on periodicals rules and regulations until his retirement.
1984 – CircDayLA is Established
1984 saw the birth of the progenitor of CircDayLA. A full day of education was put together at the Sportsman's Lodge in Studio City, covering the areas of fulfillment (speaker, Vern Ball), direct mail (speaker, Bruce Miller), postal (speaker, Bob Horton) and customer service (speaker, Dagmar Smith). No official record was kept of the attendance—but the conference room at the Lodge was full.
In the 1990s, Knapp Communications and Petersen Publishing were sold and moved to New York, and Los Angeles started to lose some of its vitality as a center of publishing. But new companies sprang up in San Francisco, including Mac World, PC World, Infoworld, Miller Freeman, Red Herring and countless others. These companies contributed new ideas to the WFMA.
Jerry Okabe lectured prophetically about the need to stay professionally flexible and able to move from job to job. John Rockwell and Peter Klehm introduced database marketing to the association, and later, with Christine Oldenbrook, the early fundamentals of internet marketing. CircDayLA was resurrected and improved, and continues to be a vital source of professional education and networking in Southern California.
2008 – Tragic Passing of Glen Giles
The WFMA lost a dear Board of Directors Member on February 25, 2008 with the tragic passing of Glen Giles. Glen was our longest standing Board Member, having served for 19 years. He was the WFMA President from 1993-1994. As a Board Member, Glen consistently guided us forward. He had an extreme sense of fairness, and used objectivity and impartiality to satisfy sometimes varying interests and conflicting ideas. He guided us gently and subtly for the most part, and knew just when and how to be forceful when he needed to. He used his exceptional personal skills and political savvy always for the greater good: to make sure the WFMA Board did the right thing, even if we hadn't yet decided on what that was. Glen always knew what was best for us because he was an industry icon from New York to Los Angeles. When we needed a laugh, Glen made us laugh and to say he'll be missed is a giant understatement.
Barbara Shepherd, Circulation Director
Creative Age Publications
CircDayLA Keynote Speakers (Current-1984)
2009 – John Loughlin, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Hearst Magazines
2008 – Neal Vitale, 1105 Media, Inc.
2007 – Tony Silber, Editor & Publisher of FOLIO: and Circulation Management
2006 – Bo Sacks, Publishing Consultant
2005 – Dan Capell, Consultant/Publisher, Capell & Associates/Capell's Circulation Report
2004 – Dr. Samir Husni "Mr. Magazine", Publishing Consultant & Professor
2003 – Lorelei Calvert, Vice President, Emmis Publishing
2002 – Michael Loeb, President/CEO, The Synapse Group
2001 – Jim Fischer, Group Circulation Director, Cahners Business Information
2000 – Karlene Lukovitz, Editorial Director, Circulation Management
1999 – Chip Block, President, Petersen Publishing
1997 – Jerry Okabe, Vice President, Circulation, Miller-Freeman, Inc.
1996 – John Klingle, Circulation Consultant
Western Fulfillment Management Association, Inc., P.O. Box 15281, North Hollywood, CA 91615, (818) 392-4358
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