A b-to-b publisher that was launched when its founder defected from another trade publisher is now facing a similar situation. Six staffers from Milo Media, including several publishers, resigned Friday with plans to launch a competing magazine publishing business.
The employees who resigned include Bob Stange, director of custom publishing; Chris McClimon, publisher of Construction Supply magazine; Construction Supply editorial director Tom Hammel; Rich Vurva, editor and publisher of Progressive Distributor; business manager Linda Scott-McCabe; and production assistant Deb Pierce. Also making the jump is Patty O’Mera, who served as a sales consultant at Milo’s Progressive Distributor.
Today, Stange, McClimon, Vurva, Scott-McCabe and Hammel announced the launch of Direct Business Media. The group—all of whom have ownership stakes in the new company—expects to launch a pair of bi-monthly magazines—Contractor Supply and Industrial Supply—by the middle of the year. Industrial Supply will carry a 30,000 circulation while Contractor Supply will have 18,000. The new magazines will compete with a number of Milo titles, as well as RBI’s Industrial Distribution and Cygnus Business Media’s Construction Distribution.
Circumstances surrounding their departures were not immediately clear. When reached by FOLIO:, Stange and Scott-McCabe declined to comment. Milo Media president Mike Domke did not immediately return requests for comment.
It also was not clear what portion of Milo’s overall workforce this loss represents. Although Milo reported a 37 percent revenue spike last year, the company was forced to reduce its staff in recent weeks. At the time, Domke declined to comment on specific layoffs. Eleven staffers remain listed on the company’s phone directory.
From Defector to Competitor
Milo Media—which serves the construction, industrial, power, lifting and utility markets—was launched in 2005 when Domke left Cygnus as publisher of OEM Off-Highway magazine. He hired away a number of former Cygnus staffers, including Wolfgang Neuwirth and Greg Gerber, who served as publisher and editor of Cygnus’ RV Trade Digest.
Domke wasn’t the only ex-Cygnus employee to launch a competing product. Last May, Paul Bowers, who was laid off as group vice president in July 2007 as part of a restructuring, launched Airport Improvement magazine.
A few weeks earlier, former group publisher Greg Napert and three of his colleagues left Cygnus’ Aircraft Maintenance Technology magazine to launch Director of Maintenance magazine, which targets aircraft maintenance business leaders.
Not long after, Cygnus filed a lawsuit against Napert and his company, Impact Business Media, alleging that Napert and his colleagues broke confidentiality and non-solicitation agreements and disclosed Cygnus “trade secrets” by taking list information. The case is ongoing.