Long-time CEO retires from TAP Publishing

Cosby Stone.

Company names interim CEO, CEO designate

Cosby Stone.
Cosby Stone.

CROSSVILLE – After nearly three decades at the helm of his family’s company, Cosby Stone has retired as chief executive officer of TAP Publishing Company, a worldwide media and information services firms located in Crossville.

The move was effective in July. Steve Stone has been appointed interim CEO. Adam Strachn will serve as CEO designate.

“After serving as TAPPCO’s CEO for 28 years, it’s time for a change in role for me,” Cosby Stone said in a release. “I will still be very involved in the company as an owner, as a board member and, at least for this next year, as board chairman.”

Stone, whose grandfather started the company in 1937, is a third generation executive with TAP. He returned to the company from a job in Texas in 1983.

“At that time, the company had two business units and we employed about 45 people,” he said. “Today, TAPPCO has eight business units and we employ about 170 people. The company continues to adapt and evolve as media has migrated to electronic platforms. We are no longer a publishing company in the traditional sense, but a diversified information services company.

“I cannot begin to thank all the people who have helped me along my journey as CEO,” Cosby added. “There are so many wonderful customers, suppliers, colleagues and coworkers who have brightened my path. I am ever so grateful for the friendships, challenges and opportunities of these years.”

Strachn.
Strachn.
Steve Stone.
Steve Stone.

Succeeding Cosby Stone is brother Steve, who is also a third generation owner. Additionally Strachn, a fourth generation owner, has been appointed CEO designate. Mike Stone, executive vice president of marketing, and Gene Kahle, chief financial officer, round out the senior leadership group.

Steve joined the company in 1976. Strachn, who also serves as legal counsel for TAP, joined the company in 2014 as human resources director.

“I am honored to serve as CEO for the interim to bridge the gap between generations,” Steve said. “Our business has evolved into a global multi-media marketing company that sells and shares our customer message across several platforms. We work with many very talented and exceptional people.”

TAP Publishing is located at 174 Fourth St., Crossville. Its flagship marketplace is Trade-A-Plane, a general aviation magazine begun in 1937 by Cosby and Margaret Harrison on their kitchen table, after the founder crashed his 1929 Laird Swallow airplane near Rockwood. Harrison started heavy construction magazine Rock & Dirt in 1950 when he finished building Lake Harrison (now Lake Tansi) in Crossville and found himself with surplus heavy equipment to sell. Other publications have been added over the years, including Tradequip International, for oil and gas (1983), and Rock & Dirt en Español, for heavy construction in Latin America (1992).

The digital services of TAP have become the primary engines of market activity, with print products serving a strong supporting role. Additional online-only products include weather (the subscription based weatherTAP.com, launched in 1997) and trucking (NextTruckOnline.com, launched in 2008). TAP also has digital signage businesses related to both weather and its marketplaces. Since 1983, the company also operates a commercial printing division, and, in 2016, completed its purchase of SignSmith, a commercial sign business based in Crossville.