Colorado Publishing House, the company that owns the Colorado Springs Business Journal and the Colorado Springs Independent, is promoting Jenifer Furda to publisher for the CSBJ and Carrie Simison to publisher of the Independent, effective Sept. 17.
The changes at the upper levels of management include majority owner John Weiss, co-founder and publisher of the Independent since its beginning in 1993, who will become chairman of the company. Ralph Routon will serve as executive editor of the Colorado Publishing House and its newspapers, which also include three military publications and The Transcript.
Fran Zankowski, who co-owns the CPH with Weiss, will continue as president of the company.
Furda started at CSBJ in August 2012 as associate publisher, after the newspaper was purchased by Weiss from The Dolan Co. Before that, she spent 13 years at the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce, where she served as director of special events, vice president of special events and senior vice president of member services. A Colorado Springs native, she graduated from Coronado High School, the University of Northern Colorado and later earned a master’s degree in sports administration at UNC.
Furda initiated several new events in the business community, designed to celebrate local businesses — from the fastest-growing companies awards held for the first time this year to reinstating a local favorite, the CSBJ’s annual Best in Business. She also has overseen events that have brought area mayors together to discuss ways to collaborate and share their challenges; honored the top women in the community and recognized companies and executives who encourage healthy workplaces.
“I believe in this paper; I believe in this team and more importantly, I believe in this community,” Furda said. “I am so excited for what the future holds and all of the opportunities for the Business Journal to do what we do best — and that is to be the best business source and resource in our region, whether that is through our world-class reporting or our top-notch events and programs.”
Simison started at the Colorado Springs Independent as a production manager 17 years ago and rose through the ranks to become publisher of the alternative weekly newspaper. She became associate publisher and COO about a year ago, after more than two years as general manager and associate publisher. She has a bachelor’s degree in graphic design and a master’s degree in creative writing from Minnesota State University.
“After 17 years with the Independent, it’s still clear to me that we get a chance to change the world every day starting in our back yard,” Simison said. “I’m grateful that as the second ever publisher here, I’ll have the chance to do that with our visionary new editor Vanessa Martinez and the entire staff of this paper.
“Not everyone gets to work — and lead — a group of people who truly make it their mission to improve their community. I can’t tell you how lucky I feel to get up every day and have the opportunity to come to work here, with this staff.
“I love what we do and I love that at the end of the day that the impact is positive and sometimes transformative.”
Weiss, who launched the Independent more than two decades ago, plans to remain active with all of the company’s newspapers and the Indy Give! project that raises money for local nonprofits. He also owns the weekly Pikes Peak Bulletin, based in Manitou Springs.
“It is time (or perhaps past time) for me to let our talented, sophisticated and dedicated team take our growing operations to the next levels,” he said. “I will remain active … but day-to-day, as well as month-to-month, leadership will be turned over to two dynamic women who are ready, able and ever-so-willing to lead our organization. Carrie and Jen both are brilliant, hard-working, community-focused media professionals who will lead our papers, digital operations and community initiatives for years to come.”
Weiss says he will remain involved in local initiatives.
“It’s been a wonderful and crazily wild ride,” Weiss said in making the announcement in the Independent. “I have had the best job in the world. And the best news is that with our new leadership in place, the very best is yet to come, for our newspapers, our community-building initiatives and for me.”