LINCOLNSHIRE, IL - Harry Urban, senior vice president of Vance Publishing Corp. and Vance Communications Canada, announced that he will be accepting a voluntary early retirement package after a transition plan has been completed.

Urban, a 28-year veteran of Vance, was a long-time fixture of Wood & Wood Products and its related family of publications, Web sites and events. He joined Vance in 1980 as an associate editor of Logging Management and was soon promoted to editor in chief of W&WP. In 1985 he took on the added title and responsibilities of associate publisher and became publisher of W&WP in 1988.

In 1991, Urban led the launch of Custom Woodworking Business,  which spawned a series of trade events, including the Texas Woodworking Show and National Cabinet Conference. He was promoted to vice president and publishing director in 1996, the same year that iswonline.com was launched, one of Vance’s first B2B Web sites. He played a supervisory role in the launch of CLOSETS in 2003 and took the helm in the development of the annual Closets and Home Organization Conference & Expo.

Urban also led the creation of the Interiors Media Network in 2005, which brought Vance’s Industrial Division titles, including W&WP, CWB and CLOSETS, under the same unifying umbrella as publications in Vance’s Décor Division, including Furniture Style and Residential Lighting.

He was promoted to senior vice president of Vance in 2006 and put in charge of Vance Communications Canada later that year after Vance completed its acquisition of the Woodworking Machinery Supply Expo (WMS) and Salon Industriel du Bois Ouvre (SIBO).

“I am thankful for the great opportunities that Vance has afforded me since I started here in 1980,” Urban said. “As B2B media has evolved so has Vance. The company’s ability to adapt has and will continue to be the reason for the company’s success.

“I will be leaving the company with pride in what I have accomplished and confidence in the team that will be working on Vance Interior Media Network publications, Web sites and events going forward,” he added. “Though I will be retiring from Vance, I plan to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities that the Web has to offer.”

Laurel Didier, vice president and group publisher, who has worked along side Urban for 25 years, said, “Harry was a pioneer of the industry, first as an editor and then as a publisher. As an editor he accomplished many firsts, including filing first-hand reports on the woodworking industries of Yugoslavia, Taiwan and China. He also recognized the need for industry education and was instrumental in developing programs for the cabinet industry and particleboard and MDF users with Purdue University.

“He was quick to recognize the potential of the Internet for communicating information and spearheaded RedBookOnline, the secondary woodworking industry’s first searchable database of supplies and equipment. He was a great mentor to me and everyone else who had the privilege of working for him.”

“For most of his nearly three decades with Vance, Harry was the most recognizable face of Wood & Wood Products among our advertisers and readers,” said Rich Christianson, associate publisher. “As editor, he constantly preached the need to ‘walk the reader’ through each issue and deliver information that was both timely and vital.

“He led us through a long period of tremendous growth and was the guiding hand in the development of multiple new products,” Christianson said. “His lasting legacies to his company and industry are innovation and leadership.”

Harry Urban

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