Joyce frerick 2
I have been blessed to have great people in my life.

In July, I wrote about my dad being a great man and how I wanted to be like him. In business, I was also blessed with a great mentor. Dave Simpkins hired me a long time ago and saw things in me that I didn’t see. Some (truthfully most) of that potential he dragged out of me kicking and screaming.

Early in 2007, Dave stopped in my office and said “You’re going to buy into the Herald with me.” My response, “No, I’m not.” You see, my husband and I had four kids, and we already had a business in town. The kids were in sports, I did the bookkeeping for my husband’s business, and I just didn’t think I could add one more thing. I’m pretty sure he told me to think about it and he’d get me numbers. I’m not even sure he heard my reply.

It didn’t take long for Dave to convince me to come up with the down payment, and along with another employee, we became partners. Shortly after our partnership started, Dave talked about purchasing neighboring newspapers. Again, I went into this idea kicking and screaming. We were not going to buy more papers. Eventually, we merged two separate partnerships that Dave was in to form Star Publications, and we did buy those papers. And then, a couple more. 

One of the most important things Dave taught me was to make a plan and budget for it. Dave was a forward-thinking man. He was one of the first to publish a newspaper in Minnesota with a computer. When the local telephone company wouldn’t invest in internet in our small town, he took out a loan, bought the equipment and trained someone how to run it. We became the first public internet provider in our town.

Dave passed away in February 2018. Our last discussion was about budgeting. We ran A LOT of budgets.  I admit I wasn’t always the most willing participant in these planning and budgeting sessions. They were time consuming and always ended up with more work for me. I didn’t realize what Dave knew very well — strategic planning and budgeting are pivotal to success. Some of his ideas were not feasible, but we were spared from imminent failure by budgeting them before plunging in. Many other ideas made us who we are today.

MFCP meets for a strategic planning session once a year. We discuss where we are, where we want to be and how we’re going to accomplish that. We review each committee’s accomplishments for the year and set our goals for the next. We also try to figure out what our member’s priorities are and what member benefits are most important to continue.

This is where you come into play. We would like to hear from you on how to make MFCP even better than it already is.

MFCP member benefits include a free readership audit, ad networks, training, conferences, awards and more. Do you have ideas for other benefits? Do you have ideas to increase revenue? If so, please email them to Lee at or myself at 

Like Dave’s ideas, some of them are sure to be great and lead us into the future.