Joe Petshow, executive vice president of Eagle Newspapers Inc.,has been named to replace retiring president Tom Lanctot in January. Board chairman Denny Smith had informed the board of directors at the August meeting of Tom’s intent to retire Jan. 1.
A board member since 1988, Tom had been president since January 2007. Tom joined Eagle in 1986, when the company’s weekly in Sunnyside, Wash., merged with his daily there. He remained publisher of the Daily Sun News until Oct 1, 2001, when he became publisher of Eagle’s flagship Hood River News.
“I couldn’t be happier for Joe, Eagle Newspapers and our employees to turn over the reins to such a quality person,” Tom said. “Joe is a quick study and his passion and love for the newspaper business will serve all employees well,” Tom predicted.
Looking back, Tom said “When I hired Joe to take over the publishing job in Hood River in 2007, I had in the back of my mind,that someday he would replace me as president. It seems that has worked out.”
During his more than four decades in the Yakima Valley, Tom led his newspaper on a path from a typewritten publication printed on a sheet-fed press in a 1,000 sq. ft. building to an award-winning newspaper published out of a building of more than 11,500sq. ft.
Moving to Hood River his leadership skills were exercised in the Columbia River Gorge at a time of rapid technological changes for the newspaper and rapid growth for Columbia Gorge Press.
“It was a great pleasure serving as publisher of the Hood River News and manager of Columbia Gorge Press,” Tom said. “When I took the job in 2001, it was time for Bonnie and me to move. It was a decision we have never regretted.”
“At the same time,” he continued, “my promotion gave Tim Graff the opportunity to lead the Sunnyside newspaper and press plant. I’m especially proud of the great people that have worked for me, not only in Hood River, but in Sunnyside as well.
“This 42-year trip I’ve made couldn’t have been done without them. I have such great respect for everyone who works at a newspaper. There are no jobs that are more important than anyone else’s. It takes a team to put out a quality newspaper, and it has been a privilege being a member of those teams.”
After serving seven years as president of Eagle Newspapers and 35 years of publishing, he thought it was time to spend more time with family. However, he will continue to work for the company and sit on the board of directors.
“This, hopefully, will help make a smoother transition for Joe Petshow and Eagle Newspapers,” he said. “I don’t want to be in Joe’s way, but, if he needs some assistance or specific work on a project, I will be available to him,” he explained.
Tom said he was excited for Joe and is confident he will lead Eagle Newspapers with passion and a vision for the constantly changing demands in the publishing world.
“Timely dissemination of quality information, delivered on multiple platforms, is our connection to readers. That will only be enhanced under Joe’s leadership.”
Tom’s newspaper career was divided with 15 years as an independent operator and the last 27 years working for Eagle Newspapers. He began in Sunnyside in 1971, writing stories, taking photographs, and yes, of course, selling ads. “When I was hired at the Daily News, I became the fifth employee. In an operation so small you do everything,” he said.
Tom purchased the Daily News in 1977. He worked in all areas of the operation, including running a press. “It has been a great career for me. My wife, Bonnie, has always been so supportive of my career. Many years Bonnie worked at the newspaper in Sunnyside as well. We have had a great time and both of us realize the importance of a community newspaper in the lives of people in our small towns. We have seen it up close and personal many many times over.
“Like anyone who has had the privilege of running a community newspaper, the highlights are many. Some of those moments can be long drawn out stories; some are just the smallest of moments. But, all are important to me,” he said.
Tom added, “I appreciate all the opportunities that I have been given by Denny Smith, Dick Nafsinger and Jim Smith. Some of my best memories are serving on the board of directors and working with publishers/managers in our company. I’m also very proud of our central office staff, their dedication to Eagle and the support they have given me.”
Tom and Bonnie have two children, Jeff and Marci. Jeff lives in Mercer Island with his family. Daughter, Marci, and her family live in Snoqualmie, WA.