From the Publisher

Lessons Learned for 2010 and Beyond

By Brian Rowland, Publisher

Listening to the news shows over the holiday season, I lost count of the number of times I heard the past decade referred to as the worst in many generations. I feel compelled to totally disagree with that sentiment. As I look back to the beginning of the new millennium, I feel that in many ways it was a decade of learning, maturation and growth.

There is no question that the past year has been one of the most difficult times for our world, our nation, our communities, and for many of the people we know and love. I have seen friends pass away and people I care about endure personal tragedies. Here at the Rowland offices, our staff continues to pull together each day while our sales representatives in the field double their efforts, all to meet the ever-changing market needs and shifts in the economy.

During periods like this, the best and worst parts of human nature tend to rise to the surface. I’ve seen people walk away from financial obligations with an unconscionable sense of contempt and disregard. At the same time, I’ve seen people I know put their lives on hold to care for a loved one while still balancing work and family. People have lost jobs and businesses. Others have embarked on new entrepreneurial endeavors or reinvented themselves to meet the demands of the changing economy. Many lessons were learned.

The individuals I have the privilege to work with, people who have committed their talent to this publishing company, have pulled together as a family this past year. Through their efforts, our bills have been paid, our publications have excelled, and our special projects have been completed on time and to the satisfaction of our most valued asset: our clients.

This team has also made contributions to society through the United Way campaign and, most impressively, to an adopted family in need over the holidays. This family captured the hearts of the Rowland team. The father of four lost his job 18 months ago, his wife has a part-time job, and the family struggles each month to pay the basic bills. I asked my team for some food donations, but when everything was gathered, the SUV was packed with presents, food, clothes and more than $200 in gift cards for gas and essentials. I had incredible pride in my staff for stretching their own personal reserves to help others.

Today, we all optimistically look forward to 2010 as being the year of recovery on so many levels. We at Rowland promise to maintain our commitment to excellence and work as a team for the betterment of all. And after learning the lessons of 2009 — and seeing economic hardships suffered by so many in our community — we will commit to give back when we can, again and again, in any big or small way we are able.

Please join us. With that kind of collective, year-round commitment, remembering the lessons of the past decade, we trust that 2010 and this new decade will be better for us all as individuals, businesses and society as a whole.