A new editor

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Print this page by Bernie Niemeier
Article image
Photo by Mark Rhodes
Foster photo by Caroline Martin

In its thirty-three years of existence, Virginia Business has had only a handful of top editors.  Some opportunities just don’t come along that often. 

Richard Foster takes on a new role heading our editorial staff this month.  But first, let me share some thoughts about our departing editor, Robert Powell.

Robert and I first met in graduate business school in the 1980s.  Both of us were taking night classes and working day jobs at what was then known as Richmond Newspapers.  Robert worked in the newsroom and I was in circulation marketing.  Years later, Robert became editor of this magazine, and I had moved on to the corporate world of media.

In this role for nearly 15 years, Robert has served longer than any previous editor of Virginia Business.  Founding editor Jim Bacon moved on to associate publisher and then publisher when the magazine had not quite reached its teenage years. Karl Rhodes and Peter Galuszka both served stints in the years between Bacon and Powell.

Since I joined the magazine as publisher in 2007, Robert has kept a steady hand on the content of the magazine.  Trust me, a publisher sleeps best at night knowing he’s backed up by a capable editor.

Among Robert’s many accomplishments, one that stands out was the transformation of the magazine’s list of wealthiest Virginians, the Virginia 100, into The Generous Virginians Project, which focuses not just on wealth, but on the good works that are accomplished by individual donations, foundations and corporate philanthropy.

Virginia Business has also garnered dozens of statewide and national editorial awards under his leadership.  Fortunately, Robert will be staying on for a transition period as our new editor takes the helm.

Richard Foster is no stranger to these pages.  He has been a freelance writer for Virginia Business for 13 years.  Among his recent credits was the cover story of March’s Big Book on the disparities of rural employment numbers in Virginia.

A native of Chesterfield County and a career-long journalist, Foster was a staff writer at the Richmond Times-Dispatch and later at The Roanoke Times. He was assistant editor at Style Weekly, founding editor of Richmond.com and executive editor at Richmond Magazine. 

More recently, he has served as public affairs manager at the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth in addition to being a freelance writer.

That sums it up pretty nicely.  A passion for storytelling, statewide reporting experience, a seasoned editor, significant magazine experience and practically a digital native.  (Richmond.com was founded in 1999, just a few short years after the earliest days of electronic publishing.)

You can look forward to getting to know Richard better in future issues of this magazine, including some new column writing on this page.

Still, he has big shoes to fill.  Come next winter, we will certainly miss and reminisce a bit on the warm and reliable presence of Robert Powell, rising from his desk in the winter cold, Mr. Rogers-like, in his blue cardigan sweater. Any bets on whether Richard has one too, who knows?

Nevertheless, we celebrate both of these distinct personalities and their coming and going.  You can rest assured that Virginia Business is in good hands and will continue to be the leading source of business intelligence in the commonwealth.  As always, it is an honor for us to serve our readers.  They are, after all, Virginia’s leaders.

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