Joe Bednar, long-time senior writer at BusinessWest magazine, has been named editor of the publication, succeeding long-time Editor George O’Brien, who is retiring after nearly 30 years in that role.
Bednar, who joined BusinessWest 22 years ago, said he is looking forward to continuing its long history of being the region’s go-to source for business news and information and building on a solid foundation of excellence.
“BusinessWest has established itself as the clear leader when it comes to being a voice for the region’s business community and keeping it informed of the latest news, trends, challenges, and opportunities,” Bednar said. “I’m excited about the challenge of continuing this track record of excellence and building on everything we’ve accomplished since 1984.
“As the magazine prepares to celebrate 40 years of carrying out its important mission,” he went on, “I want to raise the bar higher and then clear that bar when it comes to the quality of what we do and how we meet the changing needs of the region’s business community.”
Bednar has been a journalist in the region for almost 30 years. A 1991 graduate of Evangel College in Springfield, Mo., where he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and English, he broke into the newspaper business with the Waterbury Republican-American in Connecticut, and later worked as a reporter for the Westfield Evening News.
He was recruited to BusinessWest in 2001 and used his writing and editing skills to help the magazine expand its coverage of area businesses, trends, and issues. He played key roles in the growth and development of BusinessWest’s sister publication, the Healthcare News, and the expansion of BusinessWest from a monthly to a twice-monthly publication in 2005.
Later, as BusinessWest expanded into events, such as Forty Under 40, Difference Makers, Healthcare Heroes, and Women of Impact, he became known for his poignant profiles of honorees and his work behind the microphone at events, especially as one of the emcees for Forty Under 40 each June.
“I grew up believing I’d one day write the great American novel, but eventually accepted that wasn’t in the cards,” Bednar said. “Instead, I’ve developed a passion for telling other people’s stories — several thousand of them, in fact, over the past three decades. I’m so grateful that so many people have taken the time to share their stories with me — how they got into business, their struggles and victories, how they contend with the challenges facing all businesses today.
“And I enjoy going beyond what they do for a living, writing about who they are, what they value, and what their passions are, both at work and outside of it,” he went on. “Their stories inspire me, and I’m beyond proud to keep bringing them to our readers in this new role.”
Kate Campiti, associate publisher of BusinessWest, said that, given his vast experience with the publication, knowledge of the area and its business community, and commitment to taking BusinessWest to the next level, Bednar was the logical choice to become its next editor.
“Joe isn’t just a writer and editor — he’s a trusted source,” she said. “He’s a resource for this region and its business community.”
When he’s not working, Bednar enjoys live music, cryptic crosswords, and spending time with his wife, Jennifer, compliance director at Appleton Corp. in Holyoke; his college-bound son, Nathan; and their three dogs.
He added, “I want to thank George O’Brien, who has been a mentor, example, and constant support in my career for more than two decades. I appreciate him more than he knows. And I told him I’ll start wearing ties, but we’ll see.”