Tag Archives: mike atkinson

Bradley Nynalek of Quarles & Brady; Paul Hickman, president and CEO of Arizona Bankers Association; Elizabeth Reich, CEO of Make-A-Wish Arizona; AZ Big Media Editor in Chief Michael Gossie; and AZ Big Media CEO Mike Atkinson.

AZ Big Media gives almost $17K to Make-A-Wish

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AZ Big Media and the Arizona Bankers Association have teamed up to make wishes come true.

The media company, which publishes Az Business magazine, AZRE, Ranking Arizona and five other Arizona-based publications, created Bankers Care, in which it donated a portion of all bank-related advertising revenue to Make-A-Wish Arizona. The Arizona Bankers Association is featured in supplement that is published annually in the November issue of Az Business magazine.

“We realize how much the banking industry gives back to the communities they serve in Arizona,” said AZ Big Media CEO Mike Atkinson. “We saw this as a way to show the banking industry that we appreciate the support they give to the business community that we cover. We also wanted to do our part to impact the community in a positive way.”

On Tuesday, Atkinson presented a check for $16,824 to Make-A-Wish Arizona CEO Elizabeth Reich, which was the result of the Bankers Care partnership between AZ Big Media and the Arizona Bankers Association.

“The fact that we were able to do this for Make-A-Wish meant a lot to me personally,” said said AZ Big Media Editor in Chief Michael Gossie. “I have two sisters who both had life-threatening medical conditions and both were beneficiaries of the amazing work that Make-A-Wish accomplishes. The joy that Make-A-Wish brought to my sister Lisa’s final days when they arranged for the Buffalo Bills to visit her is something that brought my family comfort in a time of great despair. And the strength that my sister Kristina’s Make-A-Wish trip to Disneyland gave her allowed her to weather her medical crisis and live a full life. I am proud that AZ Big Media’s contribution will help Make-A-Wish impact the lives of other families like it enriched my family.”

AZ Big Media 25 years

Arizona Business Magazine Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary

An important lesson in the launch of any business or new product is to learn everything you can about your target consumer, and that’s exactly what Mike Atkinson did when he bought the Office Guide to Phoenix 25 years ago. He approached leaders in the community in such industries as health care and law, and asked them what they wanted and needed from a local business magazine.

“I took reams of notes and what came out of it was Arizona Business Magazine,” Atkinson says. “The research led me down a path of this is how it should look and read.”

Atkinson was inspired to enter the publishing arena because it presented the chance to exercise his artistic abilities. He wanted to create “a product that was fundamentally art-related and a product that could help inspire, excite and help educate,” he explains. “I’m an artist at heart, so the magazine’s pages were like my mini-canvases.”

Initially, Atkinson was the sole employee of the publication — he wrote the stories, shot the photos and sold the ads. Today, however, the company has increased to nearly 30 employees and publishes an additional six titles, including AZRE: Arizona Commercial Real Estate, Ranking Arizona, Experience AZ, People to Know, Creative Designer and Scottsdale Home & Design. The flagship publication has also undergone many changes over the years, including its frequency, which has gone from quarterly to bimonthly, and in February 2008, to monthly. The company has evolved as well, and last year was re-named AZ Big Media.

Atkinson didn’t limit his creativity to the magazines, however. In 1991, the company launched its first Arizona Home & Building Expo, which is now in its 18th year. AZ Big Media also hosts a series of awards and events that honor various segments of the business community, from health care to finance. In March 2009, the company held its inaugural Southwest Build-it-Green Expo & Conference. AZ Big Media’s newest venture, the Home & Design Idea Center, opens this summer. The company is also building a strong presence online with its new Web site, www.azbigmedia.com, where readers can find many of the stories featured in each magazine.

“If you go to our Web site, you’ll see ‘online’ is where we’re heading in the future,” Atkinson says. He adds that the future will include more home shows when the market is ready for them. He also hints of possibly even adding a radio station.

If he could go back in time and change one thing, Atkinson says, it would involve the company’s interaction with its audience online.

“At the time, we were just learning about the Internet, and I remember one of my editors came in my office and said ‘Guess where I was today? I was on the computer and I was talking to people all the way in Italy!’ and he began to describe how it took him to different places,” he says. “I thought that was pretty cool, but I didn’t have the foresight to say, ‘This computer Web thing just might turn out to be something really big!’ ”

Looking back on the past 25 years, Atkinson says his success is due to two key things: “Hard work and surrounding myself with the right people.”

Here’s to one day cashing in this 25-year silver achievement for gold.