Kurt Peters , Senior Executive Editor
Pioneering Direct Marketing Entrepreneur Steps Down After 34 Years at the Helm of Leading Multi-Channel Direct Response Fulfillment Company
McLEAN, Va., June 13, 2006 – Michael O’Hara, Ph.D., founder, Chairman, and CEO of the AB&C; Group for more than 34 years, recently announced his retirement from the company he built from a one-man printing and computer supplies operation into one of America’s largest and most successful providers of outsourced direct response processing and fulfillment services to multi-channel marketers.
“It has been my great privilege and honor to create and build this remarkable company in partnership with an absolutely wonderful team of staff members, clients, advisors, and friends,” stated O’Hara. “With the transition of the company to stewardship by BlueSky Brands, Inc., AB&C; is poised for exceptional growth and an outstanding future. Now is the right time for me to focus on spending more time with my family, though I will continue to serve AB&C; as a strategic advisor and will always be there to support the company.”
O’Hara will remain as Chairman Emeritus of the company and continue to consult with and advise the company on strategic and operational matters.
AB&C; traces its roots to St. Patrick’s Day 1972, when O’Hara founded Advanced Business and Computer Supplies and Services, Inc. in a spare bedroom of his apartment. The following year, AB&C; made the first of several moves to larger facilities as it aggressively expanded its breadth of services and number of clients. The company now employs more than 600 staff members at five locations throughout the mid-Atlantic region. In addition to its McLean offices, the company operates facilities in Orange and Winchester, Virginia, and Charles Town, West Virginia.
Under O’Hara’s leadership, AB&C; has helped clients capitalize on new marketing channels, solve their unique customer service and fulfillment challenges, and boost the bottom-line impact of their direct marketing.
O’Hara has been frequently recognized for his leadership and his many contributions to the direct marketing industry. He was named 1998 Professional of the Year by the Direct Marketing Association of Washington (DMAW) and was awarded the 2004 President’s Award by the Document Management Industries Association (DMIA). In 1997, he was elected into the “Hall of Fame” of Business Forms, Labels & Systems.
He is past President and a long-time Board member of both DMAW and DMIA, and a current member of the Board of Directors of the DMAW Education Foundation. With 27 years of active involvement in professional association and nonprofit organization boards, including serving on dozens of committees and task forces, O’Hara gained an in-depth understanding of the needs of associations and nonprofits, which enabled him to guide AB&C; in developing services for association and nonprofit clients.
In 2000, O’Hara received an honorary Ph.D. from Shepherd College for his remarkable commitment to education, as evidenced AB&C; Group’s investment of more than $250,000 in staff education and development. The company’s efforts to promote a healthy lifestyle for employees earned front-page coverage in The Wall Street Journal. Forbes magazine publisher Steve Forbes called O’Hara “an example of the American dream.”
“The BlueSky Brands and AB&C; Group teams join me in expressing our deep and heartfelt gratitude to Mike for both his commitment to and support of all AB&C; constituencies over the years, as well as the grace with which he has ‘passed the baton’ of leadership to BlueSky Brands,” said Rich Hebert, Chief Executive Officer, BlueSky Brands, Inc. “AB&C; will continue to deliver superior service to its clients, which has been the hallmark of the company since its inception, while it grows its capacity, capabilities, and core client roster with support from its new corporate parent.”
About AB&C; Group
The AB&C; Group specializes in multi-channel direct response fulfillment solutions. Headquartered in McLean, VA, the company processes millions of orders and responses each year for leading catalog companies, fundraisers, and associations. Among the company’s clients are Healthy Directions, The Paragon, The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Golf Association, Junonia, Bra Smyth, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, National Geographic Society, National Rifle Association, The Heritage Foundation, Heifer International, and many other prominent companies and organizations.
AB&C;’s services include “Relationship”™ Call Centers, order management, contribution and membership processing, donor edit and “comment” mail handling, product and premium fulfillment, e-commerce fulfillment and customer service, inventory management, printing, and mailing. The superior customer service provided by AB&C;’s “Relationship”™ Call Centers earned the company the prestigious Center of Excellence Certification from BenchmarkPortal and the Center for Customer-Driven Quality, based at Purdue University. AB&C; is the first to achieve this designation among providers of outsourced call center solutions.
For more information about the AB&C; Group, call Steve Gregg at (888) 222-1972 or visit the company’s web site at www.abcgroup.com.