Publishing Executive Hall of Fame: Bob Wiemers: Scouting Out Innovation and Efficiencies
As Bob Wiemers likes to say, there's no merit badge for publishing. But that's OK with him. As operations director for the magazine division of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), he's happy to let the organization concentrate on shaping boys into responsible young men while he puts his efforts into making sure Boys' Life and Scouting get into the hands of more than 1 million readers each month—on time, on budget and as efficiently as possible, all while maintaining the highest standards for quality. It's something Wiemers has done so well, in fact, that although he needs no merit badge for his hard work, he has earned some pretty significant recognition—including induction this year into the Publishing Executive Hall of Fame.
Wiemers-a frequent speaker at the Publishing Business Conference & Expo and a member of the Publishing Executive editorial advisory board-got his start in publishing as an editor at the Daily Texan while attending the University of Texas in Austin.
"I was always late on deadlines as editor, so I ended up learning how to typeset so I could [help] make the paper," he says. "It just was more fun to be in the back [of the] shop than in the front."
After college, he worked as a typesetter and stat camera operator for Harte-Hanks in Austin, switched to community newspapers for a few years and, in 1993, helped to launch a trade magazine group for the computer and telecommunications industries. He decided to take a job with the Boy Scouts to spend more time with his young son and work with a magazine he "could relate to."
Pioneering New Processes
From the beginning, Wiemers relished the challenge of helping the publications become more efficient. "When I started here, the budget was $7 million a year for the two publications," Wiemers says. "We [spend] just over $4 million dollars a year now, and the price of milk has certainly gone up since then."