PennWell Corp., the publisher of WaterWorld Magazine, is celebrating its 100th' anniversary. The company has grown and prospered over the past century, with a significant portion of that growth coming during my brief tenure here over the past 15 years.
Water is a relatively new addition to PennWell, which is deeply rooted in the oil business. The company's founder, P.C. Boyle, was a former oil field scout for John D. Rockefeller in the Pennsylvania oil fields. Boyle formed the Petroleum Publishing Company, predecessor to the PennWell Corporation, in 1910 when he acquired The Oil Investors' Journal. He renamed the semimonthly publication Oil & Gas Journal and increased its frequency to weekly. He also moved its main office to Tulsa, Okla., which is still the company's headquarters today.
The name "PennWell" is actually a combination of Pennsylvania and Well -- the first oil well in the United States was drilled in Pennsylvania in the late 1850s. Oil remained a strong base for PennWell through the first 60 years of its existence. However, after the Oil Embargo of the 1970s and the resulting turmoil in the oil business, the company began to expand into other markets.
Today PennWell is a diversified business-to-business media and information company that provides content and integrated marketing solutions for professionals in the oil and gas, electric power, renewable energy, electronics, semiconductor, information technology, fire, emergency services and dental markets. PennWell publishes 75 print and online magazines and newsletters and conducts 60 conferences and exhibitions on six continents. In addition to PennWell's headquarters in Tulsa, the company has major offices in Nashua, New Hampshire; Houston, Texas; London; Moscow, Russia; and Hong Kong.
PennWell made its first acquisition in the water market in 1991, when it purchased WaterWorld News from the American Water Works Association. Originally established by the AWWA in 1985, WaterWorld was designed to reach executive, engineering and technical personnel responsible for the operation of North America's municipal water and wastewater systems, both public and private, as well as industrial wastewater systems. Approximately 50 percent of the readers were members of the AWWA.
PennWell moved WaterWorld to Tulsa in 1994, which was when I came on board. My first job was to redesign the magazine and focus coverage exclusively on the municipal water market in North America.
The move was a good one -- the magazine grew dramatically over the next several years, expanding in frequency from six, to eight, 10 and then 12 issues per year.
The company's interest in water also grew. PennWell acquired Water & Wastewater International in 1998 and established Industrial WaterWorld three years later. The company also developed an active web presence that today includes the WaterWorld website, www.waterworld.com, and a variety of E-Newsletters targeting various aspects of the water market.
Our most recent endeavor was the water industry's first Virtual Tradeshow and Conference. The on-line only Virtual H20, www.virtualh2oevent.com, drew 1375 attendees, who attended webcast paper presentations and visited "booths" on the virtual tradeshow floor.
PennWell continues to be one of the largest and most profitable privately-owned publishing companies in the United States. As the publishing industry evolves into the digital age, PennWell is well-positioned to continue growing for the next 100 years and beyond.