Mike Gugliotto recently completed a 33-year career in newspaper management, starting at the Fort Collins Coloradoan as Retail Advertising Manager and concluding as the President/CEO of the Seattle-based Pioneer News Group.
Pioneer was a family-owned company comprised of 24 small to medium-sized community newspapers (like the Coloradoan) with approximately 1,000 employees in five states. The company owned several metro commercial real estate properties that Mike also managed. Throughout his career, Mike served on the board of directors for many organizations including as President of the Inland Press Association, on the Board of Trustees for Washington State University and as Pacesetter and General Business Chairman for the United Way of Loveland/Berthoud.
Pioneer was sold at the end of 2017, which offered Mike and his wife Janet the opportunity to move back to CO. Mike and Janet are both CSU graduates (they met there as apartment neighbors on Prospect St.) and have two grown children. He enjoys competitive tennis, recreational golf, reading and traveling.
“Working with small businesses as a Loco Facilitator gives me a chance to use my career skills to work with and help smart entrepreneurs advance their professions.”
My Facilitator Strengths
Thinking fast and thinking ahead: Newspapers continue to face very challenging operating environments. I’ve learned to think fast on my feet and make time necessary for anticipating and reflecting ahead to identify future roadblocks and opportunities. Can’t be content where you are.
People drive the numbers: As a company leader/owner, you must know financial and operational numbers inside and out. Outside of pouring over spreadsheets and reports, I believe real company success is earned by spending more time getting to know the people who drive your business; your employees and customers.
Solution driven: There is always an answer and finding that answer is a challenge I’ve welcomed. It’s been my experience that mixing personal determination and resilience with smart resources gets you where you need to be.
Humor: Every business faces a few bumps along the way. Making time to smile and laugh has helped me keep everything in proper perspective, smooth out rough roads and think clearly to navigate difficulties with proper direction.
Mike's Professional Highlights
- Led and coordinated successful acquisitions of three commercial office buildings ( two in Seattle and one in SLC) and five newspapers.
- With the American Press Institute, developed a transformational new newspaper content strategy driven by in-depth consumer data analysis. Over 40 other newspaper groups participate in the program across the country.
- Developed a multi-media advertising program with an advertising agency for all Pioneer daily newspapers that ran over a two-year timeframe to dispel industry myths while promoting product strengths and benefits. Benefits measured by market surveys and circulation performance to industry averages.
- Internally centralized company accounting functions, circulation customer service, IT and editorial page design/production improving company efficiencies and saving over $1M in related expenses annually. Outsourced ad graphic design saving over $250,000 in expense annually with gains in ad quality.
- Developed, led and participated in shared training programs with three other newspaper companies in advertising, news and circulation. Over 600 people participated in the program.
- Successfully initiated and directed print publication frequency reductions at many Pioneer newspapers over several years to get ahead of changing reader habits and declining advertising revenue sources. With minimal circulation losses, saved over $1M annually in related expenses. Involved significant financial analysis, readership and circulation impact review, developing appropriate communication strategies, etc.
- With two other association Board members, was selected to lead effort to merge the American Press Institute and Newspaper Association of America.
- Initiated company employee retention program by key departments resulting in improved performance at most Pioneer properties.
- Directed and advanced key company diversified revenue initiatives to grow commercial printing and developing/hosting newspaper events ( incremental revenue growth of $2.5M and $1M over three years respectively).
- Oversaw and was responsible for annual company revenue budget of $75M (media divisions and commercial real estate). Heavily involved and responsible for associated annual company budgeting and related performance. Led quarterly financial and operational reviews with all newspaper publishers and department heads. Approximately 1,000 employees in multiple LLC’s in five states. Directly managed corporate office in Seattle.
- I’ve served on over a dozen Boards of Directors during my career.
- In addition to my “day” job overseeing Pioneer’s media division, I also worked with property management companies to oversee performance of four commercial buildings with approximately 50 tenants ( three in Seattle and one in SLC). Budgets, lease review, capital improvements, etc.
- Developed a digital tablet readership program with Microsoft ( new subscribers received “tablets with enhanced newspaper websites with annual subscriptions).
- Pioneer initiated and coordinated a quarterly financial “benchmark” program with eight other comparable newspaper companies across the country ( EBITDA, payroll, other expenses, ad revenue growth, digital revenue growth, etc.). Generally, Pioneer’s performance was favorable to most other companies in the program.
- Developed an annual market share analysis by daily newspaper market using multiple reference points including detailed competitive analysis, market surveys, business counts, etc. that enabled newspapers to budget and measure performance to respective market potential with consistent, objective analysis.
About the Thinkers Chapter
Designed for the owners of stage II companies, generally between 5 and 25 employees and between $500,000 and $5,000,000 in gross revenues.
✔ 5-25 employees
✔ Revenue between $500K - $5MM
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on The LoCo Experience Podcast
Mike Gugliotto was a gifted writer since his youth, and attended Colorado State University as a Journalism major. Constant curiosity and an intrinsic love for people and business carried him to greater and greater responsibilities, culminating as the President and CEO of Pioneer News Group in Seattle, WA - a group with at one point more than 1,000 employees and operations in 24 communities! Mike shares stories of navigating the intrinsic challenges of business while facing declining revenues and the urgent need for innovation faced by the newspaper industry in that period, and gives interesting clarity to leading a company through a sale. Mike's journey led him back to Northern Colorado, where he lives with his wife Janet and now serves as LoCo Facilitator for two Thinkers chapters.