In December 2014, Lorie Woodward and Katie Stavinoha bought a tiny publication in a tiny town— Round Top, Texas, population 90. By choice and chance, they based their communications “empire” at the intersection of country and city in the eight remaining rural counties between fast-growing Houston and Austin.
This venture comes some 30 years after their first meeting prior to a typing test, which was a prerequisite for entry into a Texas A&M journalism class. The duo each earned agricultural journalism degrees then set off separately to work in a number of communications roles that have spanned state government (Florida and Texas,) non-profit management, sole proprietorships, book writing and large corporations.
WD-50, LLC is their umbrella company, which plays off the initials of their maiden names combined with their ages at the time they took this professional leap. In the company’s almost-three years of existence, they have grown their base publication Round Top Register to an 80-plus page lifestyle magazine; introduced a Round Top antiques show guide that helps the 100,000 visitors to the event maneuver among 60-plus venues hosting 2,500 vendors; launched Round Top Texas life & style, a biannual glossy magazine aimed at introducing the Round Top style to urban Texans; and started a weekly e-newsletter that now informs, educates and entertains some 8,000 subscribers. They collect stories of the Roundtopolis™ instead of antiques and share them in print and on-line. In an area with rich cultural and antiques history as well as many colorful characters, they don’t have to search for content.
Katie and Lorie and their business have been featured in Where Women Create Business.
Katie, who is originally from the northwest Central Texas town of Woodson, population 294, honed her skills in corporate and government communications, including stints with Koch Industries, Inc. and the State of Texas. She is a skilled practitioner of strategic communications, including helping companies plan for and execute crisis communications capabilities. She is based in The Woodlands, a lover of old wooden dancehalls, Western swing and red wine; regularly called upon carpool chauffeur; and hands-on supporter of CASA.
Lorie was reared near Lexington, Texas, where her family has resided since 1869. Lorie, too, has developed her skill set in the public and private sectors, as a writer, editor and publication manager. For the past 20 years, she has run her own boutique communication company, specializing in agriculture and natural resource issues. She recently relocated to Brenham, Texas, where she is renovating a 1930s bungalow and indulging in her beloved Blue Bell ice cream.
Visit Katie and Lorie’s Website here