Reflections on Kent Watson’s PubWest Tenure

During Kent’s tenure as Executive Director at PubWest, he managed and directed thirteen critically acclaimed conferences that helped educate and inspire thousands of small- to medium-sized publishers and publishing associates. Notable keynotes from industry leaders included John Ingram, Lina Khan, Len Riggio, Ron Charles, Lisa Lucas, Oren Teicher, and Chip Kidd.

Kent kept PubWest financially viable through budgeting and sales of advertising, sponsorships, memberships, and awards programs. He created and implemented Pub501, an online learning platform, as another source for increasing membership and revenue.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Kent created and managed eleven weekly roundtables aimed at helping PubWest members through the crisis, and arranged for Allison Hill, the CEO of the ABA, as a guest speaker. These roundtables brought fifteen new members to PubWest.

Kent has hosted countless industry-specific roundtables and webinars focused on member education. He has spoken on behalf of and advocated for PubWest at countless conferences and events. His efforts strengthened the prestige of the PubWest Book Design Awards and the Jack D. Rittenhouse Awards, and he developed the Jack W. Swanson Scholarship Award.

Kent always made himself available to help anyone navigate through the complexities of the book industry. He assisted numerous publishers and associate members to launch new ventures. He was able to seamlessly help young professionals enter the book industry through his position as an adjunct professor at Ooligan Press/Portland State University. To date, he has personally helped more than fifty people gain employment in the industry.

Among his other achievements, Kent created the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and the association’s anti-harassment policy. He conceived of a plan to help the industry find ways to access healthcare for all and maintained a leadership role in working with other industry leaders to navigate through possible healthcare offerings (this is still ongoing).

Kent Watson has worked tirelessly for the good of the industry throughout his career, prior to and during his tenure as Executive Director of PubWest.

The PubWest Board of Directors