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In Memoriam: Sydney Russell , March 28, 1919 – March 14, 2020, Founder and Publisher

On March 14th Area Development lost Syd Russell, the company’s Founder and first Publisher & President. He was two weeks shy of his 101st birthday.

Q2 2020
Today most economic developers would not recognize his name, but Syd created Area Development, which was launched in June 1965. As the first monthly magazine serving the economic development field, it became for EDOs an affordable and highly effective marketing channel (as we call it today) to promote their locations to an executive prospect audience. By the time he retired in 1986, Area Development was the leading publication of its kind.

His editorial policy of “serve the reader first” was paramount. High-quality editorial pages allowed the magazine to attract personally bylined articles from CEOs at IBM, GM, General Foods, Xerox, Boeing, Rockwell, and dozens of other Fortune 500 companies. Equally as impressive were the U.S. Cabinet members like Malcolm Baldrige, Donald Regan, and Paul Volcker who contributed articles to the magazine. However, its monthly stream of insightful editorial that helped expanding companies understand the “site selection process” made Area Development a thought leader that still continues to this day.

Syd did not set out to create a successful three-generation legacy business. After his retirement, his son and son-in-law continued the family business. More than a half century after he founded the company, his two grandsons are prominent partners today. Fortunately, he was happily aware of this three-generation legacy up to his last days.

Syd was a proud member of the Greatest Generation — a WWII veteran who served four years in North Africa and Italy as a medic and an unabashed patriot thereafter.

More importantly, he was a much beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and my father-in-law and mentor.

- Dennis Shea, Publisher and President, Area Development

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