I owe a great deal to Richard D. Bay, the late ophthalmic publishing leader, who took me under his wing in the early 1990s and taught me the business of medical publishing at Chilton Company. Rick had a huge personality. He was a great guy with a West Philly swagger and a cool “hey, babe” Sinatra vibe. Rick gave me my shot when he offered me the job of publisher at EyeWear magazine early in my career and again when he moved me to the position of publisher of Review of Optometry and Review of Ophthalmology. Under his guidance, I played a key role in launching the latter trade publication.
These early professional experiences gave me the knowledge and confidence to take a leap of faith and leave my mentor and a very good job to start Bryn Mawr Communications (BMC) with my friend Adam Krafczek Jr, Esq, in April 2001. We published our first issue of CRST (Figure 1) 5 months later, at the same time as the tragic 9/11 terrorist attacks. Suddenly, ophthalmology and BMC didn’t seem that important. We did what we could, however, to play a small part in the community’s efforts to deal with the shock and to begin healing. Our second issue of CRST focused on the stories of those in our field who were personally affected by the terrorist attacks and those who had military experience.
We launched CRST with a unique vision. One of our goals was to build an editorial board composed of both respected, big-name leaders in the field and surgeons who represented the next generation and who had different perspectives on where the field was headed. At 37 years old, John F. Doane, MD, FACS, became CRST’s first chief medical editor, and the “young crew” included his contemporaries such as Steven J. Dell, MD; Louis E. Probst, MD; Y. Ralph Chu, MD; Stephen C. Coleman, MD; Tal Raviv, MD; Sheri Rowen, MD, FACS; Sheraz M. Daya, MD, FACP, FACS, FRCS(Ed), FRCOphth; Steven H. Dewey, MD; A. John Kanellopous, MD; John A. Vukick, MD; R. Bruce Grene, MD; Scott M. MacRae, MD; Warren E. Hill, MD; and Mitchell C. Shultz, MD. Combine this group with superstars Robert H. Osher, MD; Robert Kellan, MD; Paul S. Koch, MD; R. Bruce Wallace, MD; Jack T. Holladay, MD; and I. Howard Fine, MD, how could we fail? There was also Lee T. Nordan, MD, who was unquestionably our spiritual leader but also an outspoken, sometimes controversial personality who contributed a plethora of content ideas for CRST in its early years.
In addition to Dr. Doane, CRST has been blessed with tremendous chief medical editors. David F. Chang, MD, helped us to provide unparalleled cataract content. Stephen G. Slade, MD, FACS, is one of the most respected innovators in refractive surgery. Eric D. Donnenfeld, MD, is an innovator in both the surgical and therapeutic sides of ophthalmology. Currently, CRST is led by Steven Dell; Robert J. Weinstock, MD; and William F. Wiley, MD. Steven is one of the most intelligent big thinkers in our field. Rob and Bill are progressive surgeons who run large practices and offer their insights at a time when the ophthalmology landscape is evolving quickly.
I could list many more individuals—both physicians and industry members—who trusted our vision and helped BMC grow into a foundation that now supports successful franchises in the fields of ophthalmology, optometry, cardiology, dermatology, aesthetics, and neurology (see “The Evolution of BMC”). When Adam and I began this journey 20 years ago with a team of five people (Figure 2) in an office above a Mattress Giant in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, we were confident in our plan. Even I, however, am in awe of the growth and innovative spirit represented by BMC today. This company has exceeded my own lofty expectations, and it could never have succeeded without the dedication of nearly 100 team members and the many other amazing people who have helped us along the way.