The Omaha publishing community lost one of its leaders on Jan. 7, 2019, when Robert “Bob” Hoig passed away. Several staff members at Omaha Magazine knew Bob professionally.
“I have admired and respected Bob’s work here in Omaha over the last 43 years,” says Omaha Publications Publisher Todd Lemke. “It’s a sad loss for Omaha.”
Lemke echoes the thoughts of many in Omaha’s media community. The Omaha Press Club honored Hoig and daughter Andrea, in their first father-daughter Face on the Barroom Floor in 2012. In 2014, Hoig was inducted into the OPC Hall of Fame.
Hoig started the Midlands Business Journal in 1975 with the idea of “telling the stories of area businesses in a fair and interesting way,” according to the publication’s website. He was previously a newspaper reporter, working on investigative reports for publications such as the New York Daily News, the Omaha World-Herald, and United Press International.
Hoig was a friend and mentor to many in the Omaha community, often taking young, talented journalists and helping them start a career.
“This was my first job out of college, and Bob definitely taught me a lot about the business. I’m very grateful for that,” says Tiffany Brazda, current editor of Midlands Business Journal.
“I think I just wandered in there one day,” says Howard Marcus, a freelancer who held a 31-year career with the Omaha World-Herald. “I truly don’t think he even interviewed me…He hired me right out of school at a time when I needed a job, and he knew it was going to be a temporary thing for me. He called it a ‘port in a storm.’ When I got the job at the Omaha World-Herald, he was actually happy for me.”
Working at the Midlands Business Journal was Linda Persigehl’s first job in the Omaha media market. She worked for the publication as a business writer, advertising sales rep, and freelance writer/editor from 1996 to 2005. Persigehl later worked as an assistant editor (2008-2011) and managing editor (2011-2013) at Omaha Magazine, where she continues to contribute freelance writing.
“There was no greater fan of Omaha than Bob,” Persigehl says. “He loved being able to promote the business community here, and felt that we had as much to offer as any big city. He loved to tout the success of the mom and pop businesses as much as he did the Ameritrades and ConAgras. He was an opinionated guy, and he shared those thoughts openly in his weekly editorials in MBJ.”
Hoig added the Lincoln Business Journal to his publications in 1996. In 2002, the company started its 40 Under 40 awards, which have highlighted hundreds of young leaders in the Omaha business community.
Nick Huff of Hutch was one of the recipients of the 2018 award. “It was extremely humbling to be in the same discussion and group as all those people who were given the award last year. They were from all different backgrounds and expertise.”
Former employees fondly recall Hoig’s kindness. “He was always a gentleman,” Marcus says. “He was always helpful to me, and I am truly grateful to have known him.”
“He was a proud family man and spent most days working alongside his wife, Martha, his son, Noel, and his sister, Cindy, at MBJ,” Persigehl says. “His daughter, Andrea Hoig, publisher of metroMAGAZINE, was no doubt influenced greatly by her father’s publishing history.”
Andrea (“Andee”) had this to say about her father:
“[My father] was known in the community as founder and publisher of the Midlands Business Journal and for his many professional and civic accomplishments. He also led an amazing life as an award-winning journalist, successful entrepreneur, champion of small business, world traveler, multi-sport athlete, small aircraft pilot, and beloved husband and father. It was a privilege and an honor to be his daughter.”
For those wishing to pay their respects, services are listed below.
Visit mbj.com for more information about the Midlands Business Journal.