Beth Lewis Elected to Lead Augsburg Fortress Publishers

8/20/2002 12:00:00 AM

     ROSEMONT, Ill. (ELCA) -- The board of trustees of Augsburg Fortress, the publishing house of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), elected Beth A. Lewis to a four-year term as president and chief executive officer of the Minneapolis-based publisher.  Lewis, 48, was elected here Aug. 17 at a special meeting of the trustees.
     Lewis, who has management experience in the publishing industry, will assume her new role at Augsburg Fortress Sept. 3, succeeding the Rev. Marvin L. Roloff.  He announced last October he would not seek a third term as Augsburg Fortress president and chief executive officer.
     She told the board following her election that she was honored to be elected and felt a "strong call" to her new role.  She invited the board to join her in a "campaign of prayer" for Augsburg Fortress. Her first order of business is to get to know the people of Augsburg Fortress, she said, including meeting individually with every employee. Meetings with church leaders, focusing on the publisher's financial health and assessing strengths and weaknesses of publishing competitors are other early priorities, she said.
     "I want to make Augusburg Fortress a place of great joy," Lewis said.
     "Beth Lewis brings to Augsburg Fortress a unique combination of gifts, experiences and commitments," said the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, ELCA presiding bishop, who nominated Lewis for consideration by the trustees. "She knows the church as an active ELCA lay person.  She understands publishing as an executive, entrepreneur and marketing strategist.  Beth has a deep commitment to building relationships with the Augsburg Fortress staff and deepening partnerships with congregations, synods and the churchwide organization."
     "Above all, she wants to build upon Augsburg Fortress' strong foundation of serving the church for the sake of the gospel and God's mission in the world," Hanson added.
     "Beth's qualities, her publishing experience and her passionate Christian faith collectively matched what the search committee sensed were the skills needed to lead the publishing house," said Timothy I. Maudlin, board of trustees chair, Eden Prairie, Minn.
      Since 1998 Lewis has been president and owner of Computer Coach, Inc., Boca Raton, Fla., a computer and technical school offering software applications and technical training for individuals and organizations.  She also hosts a local weekly radio program, "The Computer Coach Show."
     From 1996 to 1998, Lewis was president of MarketSource International, Inc., Boca Raton, a company that provided consulting and training services in sales, marketing and customer service.  During that time she was adjunct instructor in marketing, public relations and business communications, Plantation Christian University, Lauderhill, Fla. MarketSource acquired the assets of Computer Coach Inc., in 1998.
     From 1983 to 1997, Lewis held several positions with the Times Mirror Book Group based in Los Angeles.  Her roles included senior vice president, sales and marketing, CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton, a $50 million company whose products focused on science, mathematics and engineering.  In that role, she led sales, marketing, advertising, conventions, inventory control and customer service departments for books, journals and electronic reference products for domestic and international markets.
     Her other roles with the Times Mirror Co. were director, new business development, Chicago; senior vice president and general manager, Irwin Professional Publishing, Burr Ridge, Ill.; vice president, college marketing, Richard D. Irwin, Inc., Burr Ridge; and director of marketing, college, nursing and allied health senior editor, and senior marketing manager, Mosby, St. Louis.
     From 1978 to 1983, she was an editor, sales representative and district sales manager, for McGraw Hill, Inc., based in New York. Before that, she held a sales position with Little Brown and Co., Minneapolis, and was retail bookstore manager Gateway Books, Lexington, Ky.
     Lewis was born in Cincinnati, and grew up in Lexington, Ky.  From 1972 to 1976, she studied English literature at the University of Kentucky, Lexington. In 1981 she earned a bachelor of science degree in marketing, Maryville University, St. Louis.  In 1994 Lewis completed the Advanced Management Program, Harvard University Business School, Cambridge, Mass.
     Lewis is a member of Advent Lutheran Church, Boca Raton, and is active in the local community.  She is a member of the board of directors for the InternetCoast; a trustee for the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce and co-chair of the technology business interest group; a member of the board of directors, Boca Raton Round Table; member of the Palm Beach County Business Development Board; and advisor and speaker for the U.S. Small Business Association's Small Business Development Center.
     Lewis is a volunteer for Junior Achievement; chair, American Cancer Society Relay for Life Team; and member of board of directors and volunteer, The Family Literacy Program.
     Lewis' professional and community work has been widely recognized. In 2002, she was Small Business Leader of the Year by the Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce; Small Business Association Entrepreneur of the Year South Florida Award, 2001; and Crystal Slipper Award winner, Palm Beach County Woman Entrepreneur of the Year for Community Advocacy, 2000.

For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or NEWS@ELCA.ORG


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