Lloyd Case was a CPA and CFO with a Fargo, N.D., plumbing supplies manufacturer in 1982 when he noticed an ad in the local daily The Forum. The Marcil family’s newspaper and broadcast company was looking for a controller.
It was, he says now the best thing that happened in his career, working for a newspaper owning family. He would spend the next 31 years at Forum Communications, retiring as president and CEO, and to this day remaining on its board of directors.
On Monday, Oct. 24 during the 131st Annual Meeting, Lloyd Case will be honored with the Ray Carlsen Distinguished Service Award. The award, named after the former executive director who retired in 2009, is, according to its criteria, for “members who have distinguished themselves in service to the association and its affiliated foundation, who have been exemplary in service to their communities and their companies, and who deserve the recognition of their peers and colleagues.”
“I was very surprised when Tom (Slaughter, Inland’s executive director) let me know—not only surprised but very honored,” Case said. “And it’s kind of funny that it was named after Ray, because it was Ray who was responsible for getting me involved in Inland. He not only encouraged me to get involved, but helped me in my career path in the newspaper business.”
Case says he benefited greatly from the tremendous amount of training, as a newcomer to the industry, from Inland—not to mention the friendships and associations he made at its meetings.
“It was a great time, a lot of great experience going through the (committee) chairs and being on the board,” Case said. Carlsen and his successor Tom Slaughter, along with Inland’s small but effective staff, “makes the job of board of directors easier—and a lot of fun.”
After serving on Inland’s association and foundation boards, Case was elected association president for the 2012-2013 term, followed by a one-year term as chairman.
At Forum, the North Dakota native and University of North Dakota graduate, took that controller job in 1982 and within 10 years was its vice president and CFO. Forum’s board of directors elected him president in 2006, and CEO in 2010.
Asked about the current environment for newspapers and legacy broadcast, Case looks beyond the challenge of creating new revenue streams to the challenge of attracting young readers and employees.
“The biggest challenge in my mind is trying to attract the young readers,” he said, “and we’re concerned about and we’re working on attracting new employees.” Forum, he added, is working with local colleges and universities to attract more young people to the industry.
Under Case’s leadership, Forum also created “Forum Forward,” a program that cultivates next generations of leaders through a combination of formal training, mentoring, exposure to the wide range of Forum businesses and teamwork on new innovations. (See January 2014 edition of The Inlander.)
“There are challenges,” Case said, “but it’s still a great business.”