Chuck Leishman, who helped guide this company for most of the last six years, is leaving the Journal, entering a well-deserved semi-retirement after more than 40 years in the business. Chuck will continue to be available as a private contractor for special projects for the Journal and other members of the Association of Alternative Newsmedia, an organization of media companies across the United States and Canada.
In January of 2013, Chuck joined the Journal as our first general manager in charge of sales, and later became general manager, helping us navigate the post-recession market. In January of this year, Chuck assumed the title of publisher.
In these past six years, the Journal team launched two new major magazines — the Humboldt Insider, a quarterly celebration of the joys and places of Humboldt for visitors and locals alike, and Humboldt Cannabis Magazine, a twice-a-year magazine founded to help the industry transition into legality. In addition, Chuck helped grow our graphics services into a full-service ad agency we call Latitude 40 — LAT40 for short. This moves us forward in being able to develop cost-effective strategies to brand, promote and market local businesses and organizations across all platforms. As a result, the Journal has successfully evolved into a modern media company.
Three years ago Chuck introduced SmartCard here in Humboldt. The NCJ SmartCard app offers deals for consumers from restaurants and retailers on a mobile platform. SmartCard has worked well for us as a company, our advertisers and our readers. Local restaurateurs, who often have trouble conjuring up much of an advertising budget, receive ads in exchange for trade. We resell that trade to our readers via an easy-to-use app on their smartphones. And SmartCard app users? Just ask them some time when you're sitting at the next table. They use those credits on their phone app to pay for food and drinks, and they receive a 15 to 40 percent discount.
As for the Journal's leadership going forward, in January, Melissa Sanderson, a fourth-generation Humboldt County native, assumed the title and job of general manager when Chuck was named publisher. Chuck's wife and business partner Lynn Leishman was named creative services director and publisher of all our special magazines, and Kyle Windham was promoted to sales manager. For the time being, I will re-assume the title and duties of publisher, a position I held for 29 years.
This announcement comes with my deepest appreciation and gratitude to Chuck for his contributions, and my best wishes to him and his family in the future.