Senior management changes at Lawrence's 112-year-old World Company put the family-owned corporation in the hands of its fourth generation.
Dolph C. Simons III is new president of the company's Newspapers Division, and Dan C. Simons is new president of the Electronics Division. Dolph C. Simons Jr., who has been chairman, company president, and editor and publisher of the Journal-World, will continue as chairman and editor.
The World Company publishes the Journal-World and several weekly newspapers, and operates Sunflower Broadband's cable television, telephone and Internet services.
Beginning immediately, Dan Simons and Dolph Simons III will be responsible for company operations in their respective divisions and share responsibility for the overall direction, growth and vision of the company.
The World Company traces its roots to Dec. 14, 1891, when W.C. Simons, L.A. Simons and his brother-in-law J.A. Brady came to Lawrence to begin careers in the newspaper business. When they started their paper, there were seven others being published in Lawrence.
Since then, the company has been led by Dolph Simons, who succeeded his father, W.C. Simons, and by Dolph C. Simons Jr., who followed his father as publisher in 1962.
In addition to the Journal-World, the company has weekly newspapers in Baldwin, De Soto, Eudora, Tonganoxie, Shawnee, Bonner Springs-Edwardsville and Basehor. Sunflower Broadband provides services in Lawrence, Eudora, Tonganoxie, Basehor, Linwood and elsewhere in Douglas and Leavenworth counties.
In addition to those operations, Dolph Simons III and Dan Simons are co-managers of WorldWest Limited Liability Company, which owns newspapers in Steamboat Springs, Craig, and Hayden, Colo., and Payson, Ariz.
"I have been extremely fortunate to have had a grandfather and dad who helped give me a head start in the newspaper business, and I also have been extremely fortunate to have two sons in the business," said Dolph C. Simons Jr. "I am confident they will do a superior job in leading their divisions and the overall company in the years to come.
"We are fortunate to live in Lawrence, and our goal is to publish as good a paper as we can for Lawrence and the nearby communities and to have the best possible cable television, telephone and Internet in Lawrence and nearby communities.
"There is no room for complacency," he continued, "either in our businesses or by citizens of the communities we serve if we are to reach our potential."
At a meeting Friday with The World Company's department leaders, Dolph Simons III said:
"I'm complimented to have my father's vote of confidence in assuming this new role of leadership. I hope from this day forward I gain your respect as president of The World Company's Newspapers Division.
"I pledge to you that I will continuously work hard to make this company the best it can be for you and your loved ones at home, our customers, our readers, our suppliers.
"I expect, every day, that you will continue to fine-tune this company. It is critical that you stay focused on maximizing your responsibilities for the betterment of our fellow co-workers and for those whom we serve.
"Thank you for all that you are doing for The World Company."
Dan Simons, speaking to department leaders after the meeting, said:
"I can't tell you how proud I am to be allowed to work with my brother, Dolph.
"You shouldn't expect drastic changes on Monday; this acorn hasn't fallen far from the tree and my father's vision is as true today and tomorrow as it has been in the past.
"We can never be complacent. We must strive for excellence in everything we do and always look for ways to take care of the customers' needs.
"Times are changing and I'm sure we will evolve with our business. Our products must stay relevant to our customers. I look forward to working with you and to an exciting future."
Other personnel realignments intended to focus the company on current operations and future opportunities also were announced Friday.
Patrick Knorr, who has been general manager of Sunflower Broadband, leading it from cable television into telephony and broadband operations, and supervising as the company was named 2003 cable system of the year by CableWorld magazine, will take on additional duties as director of strategic planning for The World Company. Joe Ryan becomes director of operations at Sunflower, and Steven Schneider becomes director of engineering for the broadband operation.
Rob Curley, who as general manager of World Online led the company's Web-based operations to national and international prominence as the most-honored newspaper Web sites in the nation, becomes director of new media. He will lead convergence operations for the combined news gathering staffs located in The News Center, 645 N.H.
Ralph Gage, general manager of the Journal-World and The World Company, was named chief operating officer of The World Company. He will oversee the daily operations and direction of the newspapers and electronic operations. In announcing the new management positions, Dolph Simons Jr. made specific mention of the many contributions Gage has made to the company.