New University Press director

by Nathan Whalen

The University of Minnesota Press welcomed its new director, Douglas Armato, with a reception Monday night at the Weisman Art Museum.
The University of Minnesota Press is a non-profit publisher of scholarly material — mostly research and reference books. The Press publishes many local authors who write about regional subjects.
Armato, who has first-hand knowledge of the University from attending classes here in the 1970s, said he wants to continue with Press’ current direction.
This comes as good news to many of the authors who focus on regional issues.
“I like the Press’ focus on authors with a regional direction,” said Sue Kerfoot, one of many local writers who attended the event to get an indication of Armato’s position on publishing regional books.
Armato has more than 20 years of publishing experience and was most recently associate director of the book publishing division of Johns Hopkins University Press. He also has marketing experience, which committee members said is another of his attributes.
“Mr. Armato edged out other candidates because of his amazing versatility,” said Press board member Jack Zipes.
Kathryn Grines, marketing director of the Press, said she is enthusiastic about getting a person with so much experience.
The search committee, one of three groups that interviewed eligible candidates, chose Armato because members said he will make the Press more competitive in the publishing industry.
Armato said he chose to come to the Press because of its reputation for producing material that is considered to be on the cutting edge in various fields. He added he is impressed with its publishing staff.
The Press had been without a director since May 1997 when director Lisa Freeman went on a temporary leave of absence, which became permanent in August of that year.
The search committee conducted a national search that included applicants from university presses such as Harvard and Indiana, plus a number of commercial presses. Armato started his duties on March 2.