In Memorium: Craig McMullin
The free paper industry was stunned on August 6 when word spread of the death of Craig McMullin.

The popular executive director of the Association of Free Community Papers (AFCP) was killed in a motorcycle accident while returning to his home in Idaho Springs, Colo., from a trip to the West Coast. He was 52.

The crash occurred at about 2:00 p.m. on I-15 near St. George, Utah. Witnesses told investigating officers that they heard a pop. Officers suspect the rear tire blew, causing McMullin to lose control. He was pronounced dead at the accident scene.

McMullin was returning home after attending the PennySaverUSA annual conference, and taking some vacation time to visit friends and family and some tourist areas.

On August 6 he left Bartow, Calif., and headed home. Before leaving he wrote on his Facebook page, "Lot of desert riding today. Wonder if I can squeeze some ice into my helmet."

McMullin was an outdoor enthusiast. He loved to ski, fish, golf and ride his motorcycle.

In 2006 he and Bill Bowman organized the first of what has become an annual event for AFCP bikers, the Black Sheep Tour. The first tour was from Denver to Sedona, Ariz., where an AFCP board meeting was conducted. Each year the tour went to a different part of the country. The Black Sheep completed a tour of the Smokey Mountains in June. They named it the Billy Bob Tour because it was organized by Bowman and Bob Keenan.

McMullin was involved in the publishing business for over 30 years. He served as the chief financial officer for the Denver Post Corporation. He was the chief executive officer of a multi-state publishing company, Partnership Press, and Mid West Newspapers, and later president.

During that period he served on the AFCP board of directors, and for many years was the treasurer of the association. He was involved with the Midwest Free Community Papers (MFCP) and served as its president.
When the multi-state corporations were sold in 1999, he was offered the job as AFCP's executive director.

The president of AFCP at that time announced that the board had approved moving the management of AFCP from a Chicago-based management firm, Smith Bucklin & Associates, to the Denver area where they would turn over the reigns to its new executive director, McMullin.

In a 10-year run under McMullin's leadership, AFCP became a dominate association in the publishing industry. Membership circulation soared from 10 million to over 30 million. The NANI program saw revenue grow from $660,000 to near $4 million.

The revenue enabled AFCP to expand benefits and to have memorable annual conferences. In 2002 AFCP joined with the Community Papers of Florida (CPF) and the Southeastern Advertising Publishers Association (SAPA) for a joint conference at Daytona Beach. The conference set a record attendance for the free paper industry, and included rides for members in race cars around the Daytona International Speedway. In 2007 AFCP joined with CPF for a joint conference at the Doral Country Club in Miami. Another attendance record was set. McMullin was instrumental in planning both of these conferences.

McMullin was an active participant in all of the AFCP committees and with PaperChain, and was involved in the startup of many new projects. This includes The Leadership Institute (TLI), Web site development, NANI, operations surveys, membership recruitment, membership benefits, and the planning of the annual conferences.

McMullin often wrote columns about the use of the Web that were published in Free Paper INK. In 2007 Joe Mathes, vice president of Delta Publications, wrote a letter referring to one of these columns. "It is encouraging to see the executive director of our national association have the understanding and vision of the future of our industry," he said.

McMullin is a graduate of Iowa State College in Ames, Iowa. He earned a CPA and an MBA. He is survived by his wife, Marilyn, who devoted time to AFCP conferences and worked in the association's office, as well as a son, Matt, and a daughter, Megan.

A service to honor Craig McMullin and celebrate his life will be held on Sunday, September 6, 2009 in Golden, Colorado. The service will be hosted by his children, Megan and Matt McMullin, at 3:30 p.m. in the Foothills Chapel, 1950 Ford St., Golden, Colo., 80401. A reception hosted by AFCP will follow the service.

McMullin spent a year and half creating and establishing a non-profit foundation in support of literacy for children. This foundation, Our Kids Can Read, was granted 501(c)3 status by the IRS this spring and was commended by the IRS for its initiative. To celebrate Craig and his initiative, you can make a donation in support of Craig's program. Send your tax-deductible contribution to: Our Kids Can Read, Great Western Bank, Attn: Frank Teunissen, 215 Union Blvd., Suite 150, Lakewood, CO 80228.

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