Mark Mikolajczyk, president and publisher of FLORIDA TODAY, is the recipient of the 2010 RIT Isaiah Thomas Award in Publishing. He will receive the award-presented by Rochester Institute of Technology-on April 21.
The Isaiah Thomas Award in Publishing, named for one of America's great patriot printers, recognizes outstanding contributions made to the publishing industry. Mikolajczyk is the 26th recipient of the award.
In 2006, Mikolajczyk was named president and publisher of FLORIDA TODAY, which is part of the U.S. Community Publishing Division of Gannett Co. Inc. In November 2009, he was named South Group vice president and oversees Gannett's Florida newspapers in Fort Myers, Tallahassee and Pensacola. A native of Cleveland, Mikolajczyk graduated from RIT in 1983 with a B.S. in printing management and technology.
"RIT is proud to honor Mark Mikolajczyk with the 2010 Isaiah Thomas Award," says Bill Destler, RIT President. "He is not only a leader of innovation in the publishing industry, but a shining example of an RIT graduate who has shown that hard work, commitment and leadership can lead to tremendous success."
"One of the many criterions for this award is someone who has demonstrated career achievements and been a role model for students pursuing careers in the fields of printing, publishing and media," says Twyla Cummings, Paul and Louise Miller Distinguished Professor at RIT. "Mark Mikolajczyk has clearly demonstrated these attributes in his more than 25 years in the news media industry. As an alumnus of RIT's School of Print Media, he is someone that our students can look to as a true success story. We are proud to welcome Mark to a select group of award recipients."
Mikolajczyk's career in the newspaper industry began at Newsday, where he served as a summer production intern. He then went on to work as a production coordinator and night operations manager at USA Today. His career path included jobs at the Cincinnati Enquirer and Times Herald in Port Huron, Mich. In 1996, he joined Gannett's corporate staff in Arlington, Va., as director of production for the newspaper division. He moved up the ranks to hold positions as vice president of production and senior vice president of operations for the newspaper division. Prior to his current position, Mikolajczyk served as president and CEO of the Detroit Newspaper Partnership from 2005 to 2006.
"While a student at RIT, Mark was a leader and an innovator," says Brian Ambor, vice president of operations, Democrat and Chronicle, and a 1985 graduate of RIT. "As a graduate, he continued to demonstrate these characteristics at Gannett. Over the years, he has worked his way up the ladder to his current position as president and publisher of FLORIDA TODAY and a regional vice president for the South Group of the U.S. Community Publishing. Mark has been successful in his career for many reasons. Overall, he is a leader, communicator and innovator in our industry."
Past recipients of the Isaiah Thomas Award include Tom Curley, president and CEO of the Associated Press, and Arthur Sulzberger Jr., chairman of the New York Times Co. and publisher of The New York Times.
RIT established the Isaiah Thomas Award in 1979 to honor leaders in the newspaper industry. The award is named in tribute to an early leader of the American printing industry. In 1779, Isaiah Thomas created The Massachusetts Spy at a print shop known as the "sedition factory" by the British colonial government. Additionally, in 1810, Thomas wrote The History of Printing in America, which was regarded as the basic source of information on early American printing and publishing.