Addition of 11 partners launches Optimus’ ‘new era’

Back in July, 1996, Optimus, then a post house of 30 years, was purchased by a partnership of employees from Anheuser-Busch, its unlikely owner for the previous decade. 

Fast forward to the present, as a new partnership of 11 Optimus employees has been announced for the company’s “new era” ahead.

The new expanded senior management team was named in advance of the company’s impending move in August to two customized floors in the Wrigley Building at 410 N. Michigan.   

“This new lineup is the perfect partnership to take us into a new era,” says president Tom Duff, who with editors Glen Noren and Randy Palmer and finish artist Scott Yurks had become its owners. (Colorist Craig Leffel became a partner the following year.) 

Optimus president Tom DuffThe 11 newly anointed partners are Donnie Bauer, creative director; Nate Cali, editor; Mike Ciacciarelli, ECD; Jim Cowhey, CFO; Brian Hrastar, EP; Therese Hunsberger, EP/managing director; Lisa Masseur, EP/managing director; Knox McCormac, director of operations; Gretchen Praeger, EP/managing director; Deb Schimmel, editor and Ken Winke, technical director.

“They will help guide overall company strategy, from marketing to branding to workflow to personnel, and will have input on the focus of Optimus resources,” says Duff, calling the announcement “an exciting red letter day for Optimus.” 

Optimus famous Block Party that began as a celebration of the the original partners’ acquisition, will be held Friday, Aug. 7 for the 19th and last time at the 161 E. Grand building that has housed the company since it was founded in the 1960s by editor Jimmy Smyth.

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