History of Woodward Communications
Woodward Communications Incorporated traces its heritage back to the first newspaper in Iowa. The Dubuque Visitor, founded in 1836, evolved into the Telegraph Herald in 1901. The original name of the corporation was Telegraph Herald adopted in 1901. The name was changed to Woodward Communications Incorporated (WCI) in 1981 to recognize the commitment to family ownership and growth of WCI in areas other than the Telegraph Herald newspaper.
The Woodward family has been involved in the organization since 1898, when Fred W. Woodward (1888-1975), at age 10, joined the staff as a newspaper carrier. He became a full-time distribution employee in 1903, progressing to circulation manager and then secretary of the corporation. He began acquiring stock in the company in 1915 from the owners, P.J. Quigley and W.C. Luther. Upon the death of publisher P.J. Quigley in 1917, Woodward acquired additional shares giving him controlling interest in the newspaper. Fred W. Woodward, who didn't have a middle name, added the “W” because he admired the business acumen and business practices of entrepreneur F.W. Woolworth of five-and-dime fame. Fred W. Woodward was involved in the company until his death in 1975.
Fred's son, F. Robert (Bob) Woodward, Sr. (1911-1993) joined the company in 1934 as treasurer. Bob became Chairman of the Board and President in 1975. After the office of President was separated from the Chairman, he continued serving as Chairman of the Board until his death.
Bob Sr.'s two sons, F. Robert Woodward Jr. (Bob) and William P. Woodward (Bill) (1938-1995) joined the company in the 1960s. Following Bob Sr.'s death in 1993, Bill served as Chairman and Secretary and Bob as Executive Vice President and Chairman of the Executive Committee until Bill's death in August of 1995. Bob Jr. was elected Chairman and Chief Executive Officer after Bill's death. He resigned as CEO at the end of 2002.
Tom Woodward (Bill's son) and Bob Woodward III (Bob Jr.'s son), fourth generation Woodward family members, are members of the Board of Directors.
Under the leadership of CEO and presidents, Fred, Bob Sr., Bill, Bob Jr. (Woodward), Norm McMullin, Bill Skemp, Craig Trongaard and Tom Yunt, and with the help of many, many others, WCI has grown and expanded to become the present corporation of six operating divisions (newspaper, radio, weekly publications, commercial printing, niche magazines and an advertising agency) and corporate staff with nearly 550 full- and part-time employee owners located in three states – Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois.