In a very real way, Engelbert's larger than life personality, good humour, and general sense of fun was a positive force in the lives of the people around him. If you only met my father once, you would always remember the encounter and be able to recall details many years later. My sister noted recently that our father may not have been in a helping profession per se, but his personal and professional sensibility was always to help. I have been told many times how my father gave someone an idea to start their own magazine, set up their own venture, provide a job, make an industry connection, point to a lead, give a loan, and say or do something unexpectedly thoughtful. The people that shared with me these stories insisted that their success stemmed from the seeds my father gave them to plant. And it speaks volumes about the work community my father created that well over half of Baum Publications employees have been with the company for 10, 15, and even 20 years and continue to remain integral to the company's success.
Engelbert was recognized not only for his knowledge and expertise but also as an industry leader with an unflinching commitment to community building. Among his various industry roles in the publishing and construction equipment industries, my father was co-founder and president of Publications in Construction Association (PICA), marketing committee member of CONEXPO/CON-AGG trade show, board member of Construction Industry Manufacturers Association (CIMA), and director of the B.C. region of Canadian Associated Equipment Distributors (CAED). Engelbert not only uniquely transcended but also intertwined singular professional and industry categories: he was a publisher, editor, salesman, production manager and a virtual encyclopedia of trade and construction equipment and related industry knowledge.
Engelbert's brother also started a publishing company covering logging and the related construction equipment industry. They bought offices beside each other. Over their daily coffee breaks, they would often reminisce that they were living their early dreams. The commitment to family connection was also reflected in the ways in which my father encouraged my sister and I to participate in the company as children and teenagers. We went to trade shows with him, handing out magazines and talking to people about ad space and price, and performed various forms of office work. He shared with us the highs and lows of running a company, and we cheered him on, not from the sidelines, however, as he made us feel central to all his endeavors and a part of his community. He would often ask for our advice about various business matters and brainstorm business-related ideas with us. In fact, the idea for one magazine on health care came from my sister's interest in the medical field.
My father did encourage me to work in the company as an adult. He once arranged for me to represent the company in Lyon, France, at a trade show: he had business cards made for me, arranged meetings there and insisted I write a solid article upon returning. These experiences helped build my confidence and provided a new feeling of responsibility. I ended up following in my father's footsteps in a different way, the world of literary and academic editing. He was happy to assist me, arranging for printing when needed and proudly kept what I published in his night-side table. When the first article I wrote was published, I dedicated it to my father.
As with my sister, my father never expressed disappointment when I told him that I intended to work in a different field: in fact, he said he hoped that my sister and I would follow his example of working in a profession that we loved. This sentiment is one he often shared with his grandchildren, even though I know nothing would have made him happier if all five grandchildren decided their path was in his company.
My husband, Ken Singer, eventually started working at Baum Publications in digital development. My father happily mentored him on the larger business and quite simply he was thrilled to have Ken work with him. These were feelings shared by Ken. When the time came for him to step back from his role as publisher due to health issues, I know it was a great relief to my father that it was his son-in-law that took his place and that the company would remain family owned and operated. It is heartening to see my oldest son, Zev, now spending days with Ken in the office and it was particularly meaningful for me to see them work together at a recent trade show. I remember my father's smile when I showed him a picture of Ken and Zev holding up an issue of Heavy Equipment Guide at the show. My father said, "That's the third generation."
As stated in Canadian Heavy Equipment Guide's first editorial comment, Engelbert intended to succeed in the realization of his dreams and wanted all his family, associates, friends and communities to grow and prosper as well. In that spirit, Simone and I will always remember our dear father as a remarkable tree, a great and generous tree that played a role in the creation and building of many forests.
Acknowledgments: I appreciate the many details provided by Bruce Guerin, Bruce Davie, Greg Sitek, Sharon Holling, Lou Maggio, Jim Shepard, Stan Sauerwein, Larry Aller, Frank Raczon, Mike Porcaro, Don McIntosh, Ian Stuart, Dean Baxendale, Dee Egan, Lawrence Buser, David Gilmour, Sam Esmaili, Ariel Savion-Lemieux, and especially by Simone Baum, Heribert Baum and Ken Singer.