The Hagadone Corporation announced Thursday that Rick Weaver has been named the next publisher of the Daily Inter Lake.
Weaver will follow current publisher Tom Kurdy, who said in February that he will retire this spring.
The announcement was made by Brad Hagadone, president of the Hagadone Communications Division. Weaver will also take the helm of the Hungry Horse News, Whitefish Pilot and Bigfork Eagle, which are part of the Hagadone Newspapers group.
Hagadone said the company had "opened up a national search process and had some excellent candidates surface, but no one came close to fitting as well as Rick Weaver did. We are bringing a native Montanan back to his hometown."
Weaver's start date is anticipated to be approximately May 1.
Weaver actually began his newspaper career at the Inter Lake as a newspaper delivery boy in the mid-1960s when he was in elementary school. Over the years he worked at almost every department in the newspaper before moving on to a career as publisher.
"For him to do the full cycle in his career and wind up back at the Daily Inter Lake, he couldn't be happier and we couldn't," Hagadone said. "Mr. Kurdy is leaving us with big shoes to fill, but out of all the candidates, Rick Weaver was the clear choice."
Weaver said he was "extremely excited to get the opportunity to return to the Flathead Valley. My wife Karen and I were both born in Kalispell, so it's kind of a homecoming. We love the area and have a lot of friends and family still there. Both my mother and Karen's mother are still there."
Although born in Kalispell, Weaver spent part of his youth in Olney and Swan Lake before moving back to Kalispell in second grade. After graduating from Flathead High School, he attended Flathead Valley Community College for two years and then graduated from the University of Montana.
"This will be the fourth stint I've had at the Inter Lake," Weaver said. "I have worked longer there than at any other paper - 12 1/2 years altogether. I had the opportunity to go into the mail room in high school when I was also the sports editor at the [FHS] Arrow. I also spent summers working in the pressroom.
From 1976 to 1977 and again from 1979 to 1985, Weaver was the Inter Lake's circulation director. He also started selling advertising in 1983 and became ad director from 1985 until 1987, when he left to become director of Wyoming Newspapers Inc., a group of six weekly newspapers. He stayed there until beginning a 20-year career with Pioneer Newspapers in 1990 as advertising director at the Idaho State Journal in Pocatello.
Since 2007, he has been publisher of the Idaho Press-Tribune in Nampa, Idaho, and has also served as publisher of two Pioneer newspapers in Montana - the Havre Daily News from 1993 to 1998 and the Bozeman Chronicle from 1998 to 2007. During his time at Bozeman, he was also the publisher of several weeklies and served a term as president of the Montana Newspaper Association.
"For us to land somebody who knows the culture in Northwest Montana and has the depth of experience in the newspaper industry that Rick has, it feels like the perfect fit for our company," said Hagadone.
Kurdy said he was happy to hear that Weaver had been named as his successor.
"Of all the publishers I have known, Rick is the best selection for our papers in the Flathead Valley," Kurdy said.
Weaver said he is grateful for the opportunity and praised Kurdy for his longtime leadership at the Inter Lake.
"I think I've known Tom since 1976. He is just a great guy. He's been a leader and mentor over the years. We have bounced ideas off of each other for years, and he's a good friend and an excellent newspaper publisher. I still read the paper, and I'm impressed with the product. Kalispell is a great newspaper market, and I'm really looking forward to being part of the team."