The North Bay Business Journal has named Norma Kostecka as publisher, succeeding Brad Bollinger, who will retire Dec. 31.
Kostecka begins her new role on Monday, Oct. 26.
She joins NBBJ after serving as advertising director for 22 years at the Napa Valley Register, where she was responsible for sales, promotional and strategic functions of the advertising and marketing departments.
Prior to the Napa Valley Register, she served as retail advertising manager for the Arizona Daily Sun. Kostecka started her career in publishing in 1984 as an automotive sales representative at The Times Advocate in Escondido in San Diego County, where she is originally from.
Kostecka said she initially planned to become a retail buyer in the fashion industry. But after graduating from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in downtown Los Angeles, she and her husband, Scott, decided to move back to Escondido. Once there, she joined The Times Advocate and never looked back.
Joining NBBJ is something Kostecka said she’s excited about, even in these challenging times for business that began in mid-March with shelter-in-place and other restrictions imposed as a result of COVID-19, triggering an economic downturn that includes the publishing industry.
“The pandemic is a tragedy and it’s certainly a step back for our businesses,” she said. “But if we’re playing our cards right and if we’re taking advantage of the down time, we have an opportunity here to come back stronger … so that when everyone starts opening up again, we will be ready for all that.”
Steve Falk, CEO of Sonoma Media Investments, which publishes the Business Journal, as well as The Press Democrat and other publications, said after searching long and hard over the last year for the right person to take on the role of publisher at the Business Journal, Kostecka “checked all of our boxes.”
“She brings an innovative mindset, extensive experience in the media business and a passion for helping our North Bay business community succeed. Her track record is outstanding in leading both digital and print efforts at the Napa Valley Register as director of advertising for nearly two decades,” Falk said. “Familiar with our North Bay communities, she will be deeply focused on enriching the business-to-business value the Business Journal provides and to carry on Brad Bollinger’s legacy of leadership and commitment.”
Kostecka said she’s already identified one of her top priorities.
“Sales is probably going to be where the immediate change will be and that’s because of the effect the pandemic has had on our business, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m going to come in and change everything,” she said. “It’s more so that if there’s one department in the publishing business right now that has been affected, it would be on the sales side.”
In addition to publishing a weekly newspaper and operating an active website, the Journal stages a number of events throughout the year, including conferences on business topics and recognizing area business leaders with awards programs. Kostecka noted how impressed she is that NBBJ was able to successfully pivot from staging live events to doing so on a virtual platform like Zoom, a move led by Bollinger and his sales and marketing team.
“Norma is an experienced and energetic leader,” said Bollinger, who has worked in the newspaper industry for more than 44 years. He started at The Press Democrat in March 1984, then moved over to the Business Journal in 2005, where he served as editor until 2007, when he transitioned to associate publisher, then publisher in 2012. “She brings a deep media skill set with which to lead the Journal into the future.”
Kostecka and her husband have two grown children, Ryan and Megan. She has backpacked the Grand Canyon twice and is an avid jogger, having run five half-marathons.