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CEO, COO, VP, Director, Senior Director

Tupelo, Mississippi, United States
October 28, 2018

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Clay Foster



Media, communications and commercial real estate / logistics professional with a background that spans over twenty-six years. Experience includes CEO, President, Publisher, Chief Operating Officer, Director of Operations, Production Director and Systems Engineer responsibilities for a newspaper publishing and online services group that also owns and operates four printing plants and a commercial real estate and logistics business, and System Engineer responsibilities for a leading global technology services company. Recognized for strategic planning, operational planning, and execution abilities. PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND

Chairman, President, Publisher and CEO 2011 – 2018 Journal Inc. Tupelo, Mississippi

Responsible for strategic management, resource allocation, performance evaluation, organizational structure, and operations management of newspaper operations, magazine operations, printing services, online services, over one million square feet of commercial / industrial leased space and a third party logistics business. Served on Journal Inc. Board of Directors since 2001. Other positions held at Journal Inc., during my 26-year tenure include the following. President, Publisher and COO 2006 – 2010

COO, Executive Vice-President, and Treasurer 2000 - 2005 Director of Operations 1997 - 2000

Production Director 1994 - 1997

Information Systems Manager 1992 - 1994

Intelligence Officer 2003 - 2005

U.S. Army Iraq

Responsible for force generation and rotation/redeployment of troops in OIF 2-4, assisted in the establishment of the Multi- National Force - Iraq headquarters in Baghdad, lead planner for developing the order and plan to bring high value Iraqi prisoners to trial, and served the final four months of my tour as the top intelligence officer at the Abu Ghraib prison. Systems Engineer 1990 - 1992

Electronic Data Systems Southfield, Michigan

Responsible for working with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan employees in the development of programming code necessary to administer health benefit payments to customers, and working with General Motors on the launch of the new Saturn car. Platoon Leader, Company Commander, Battalion, Brigade and Army Liaison 1985 - 2007 Team S2

Army National Guard Michigan & Mississippi


M.B.A., Business 2000

University of Phoenix Phoenix, Arizona

GPA: 4.0

B.S., Mathematics 1990

University of Mississippi Oxford, Mississippi

GPA: 3.9

A.S., Pre-Engineering 1987

Northeast Community College Booneville, Mississippi PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT TRAINING

Mississippi Economic Council Leadership Mississippi Class – Jackson, Mississippi, 2007 Community Development Foundation Community Leadership Institute – Tupelo, Mississippi, 2005 - 2006 Command & General Staff College - U.S. Army, Ft. Dix, New Jersey, 2002 - 2003 Combined Arms Services & Support School - U.S. Army, Camp McCain, Mississippi, 1999 - 1999 Military Intelligence Officers Advanced Course - U.S. Army, Ft. Huachuca, Arizona, 1995 - 1996 Military Intelligence Officers Basic Course - U.S. Army, Ft. Huachuca, Arizona, 1994 - 1995 Military Police Officer Basic Course - U.S. Army, 1990 - 1990 Executive Development Program - American Press Institute, Restin, VA, 2003 Leadership Pontotoc Class - Pontotoc County Chamber of Commerce, Pontotoc, MS, 1998 VOLUNTEER

Salvation Army Advisory Board, Tupelo, MS

Board Member, 2010 - Present

Pontotoc County Chamber of Commerce, Pontotoc, MS

Executive Committee Member, 2005 - 2008

Pontotoc County Chamber of Commerce, Pontotoc, Mississippi President, 2002 - 2003

Pontotoc County Chamber of Commerce, Pontotoc, Mississippi Vice-President, 2000 - 2002

Pontotoc County Chamber of Commerce, Pontotoc, Mississippi Board Member, 1997 - 2008

Itawamba Community College, Tupelo, MS

Workforce Advisory Council, 1998 - 2012

Community Development Foundation, Tupelo, MS

Member, 2002 – Present; Board Member 2010-2015

Crime Stoppers of Northeast Mississippi, Tupelo, MS Board Member, 2003 - Present

Clay Foster – A Few Career Highlights

1. After a brief time on active duty in the Army, began as a Systems Engineer in Southfield, MI with Electronic Data Systems responsible for writing the code necessary for Blue Cross Blue Shield of MI to implement new Medicare requirements. Later moved to Troy, MI to work remotely writing code for the launch of the new Saturn car in Franklin, TN.

2. Hired by Journal Inc., in 1992 to automate the process of producing a newspaper. One of the first daily newspapers in the U.S. to achieve completely automated pagination and production of a newspaper in 1994. 3. Create and manufacture a new product from scratch every day that is delivered to 30,000 households before 6:00 AM each morning 7 days per week, 52 weeks per year. On call 24/7 with normal workweek rarely less than 60 hours and generally averaging 75 hours per week. 4. Held every leadership position in the company except Editor. 5. Developed the company’s first 5-year strategic plan. Shared a vision for a new business model soon after being named CEO that doubled the company’s revenues.

6. Grew a single daily newspaper with approximately 300,000 SF of commercial / industrial space in 1992 to the largest privately owned daily newspaper in the state and one of the largest commercial / industrial real estate developers in North MS with 1.0 million SF of space.

• Developed a commercial real estate business model that evolved from only leasing static space to include options from static space leases all the way to third party logistics services whereby we manage a client’s inventory and provide delivery services to their business or their customer’s business, resulting in more profitable use of space.

• Acquired 15 community weekly newspapers and the statewide MS Business Journal forming a cluster around daily operations in Tupelo allowing for greater efficiency by providing all services for the weeklies from Tupelo except selling advertising and reporting the news.

• Led the development of digital assets for all newspapers – websites, social media, apps, etc. – and the development of vertical niches in the automotive, employment and real estate categories. 7. Led the research, selection, acquisition and implementation of a new printing press in Tupelo, MS in 2013 with automated register and automated inking systems capable of producing color on every page. This occurred while continuing to produce products daily without any missed publication windows. 8. Acquired 4 new printing plants in Olive Branch, MS, Hattiesburg, MS, Denver, CO and Phoenix, AZ. Within months closed the Olive Branch facility and moved all production to Tupelo without any loss of business or missed deadlines while simultaneously improving quality and increasing the profit margin. 9. Started a magazine division most known for the Mud & Magnolias magazine focused on all things southern. 10. Began a digital marketing agency to provide web and social media support for internal operations and to provide similar services for small-to-medium sized businesses lacking the technical expertise in-house.

• Led the development and implementation of various digital initiatives such as podcasts, email newsletters, and video story packages.

11. Launched a bi-weekly newspaper in a 2-week period in the Oxford-Lafayette County market area when a competitor acquired the family owned local paper. The newly developed product is now the market leader. Outlined the concept, developed the plan, recruited/hired the staff and was hands-on for launch and post-launch follow-up to tweak the areas that needing improving. 12. Strong believer in using data to manage and drive continuous improvement. Examples include –

• Daily grading of papers and tracking of the results to highlight good works and to identify problem areas with key leaders and the production team

• Measured waste daily compared to goals to ensure top-of-mind awareness and to identify possible trends that indicate equipment problems or operator training needs.

• Daily tracking of paid/unpaid lineage, advertising revenue, audience metrics and customer service issues. 13. Worked with press leaders and maintenance leaders to develop a rewinding system that allows for the reuse of end rolls of paper that would otherwise be discarded resulting in significant expense savings and more environmentally friendly use of newsprint.

14. Developed a new health plan focused on employee wellness and allowing employees to choose the premium/deductible mix they’re most comfortable with based on their risk tolerance. 15. Moved the company away from a defined benefit pension plan to a more affordable 401(K) option. 16. Successful tour of duty in the Iraq War from 2003-2005 to include unit mobilization and demobilization without any loss of personnel.

• Received the Bronze Star for writing the operations plan and leading the execution of the same to bring Saddam Hussein out of captivity to trial in Baghdad.

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