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Franchisees credit Bourdow for keeping relationships smooth
A vintage radio microphone that sits atop a polished wood credenza behind Joe Bourdow's desk is more than just a prop for the president of Val-Pak Direct Marketing Systems Inc.
The polished chrome broadcasting tool is a constant reminder to the Largo direct-mail advertising executive. A one-time radio disc jockey and advertising representative, Bourdow was also a football play-by-play announcer for the University of Virginia in the mid- to late-1970s. The 1948 WKEW microphone serves as a symbol of his entrepreneurial zeal.
As a former Val-Pak franchisee, that zeal in the late 1970s gave him the means to invest in WKEW, an AM radio station in Griffin, Ga., and helped him lay the foundation for his rise to the top of an advertising medium that today generates about $250 million in revenues annually and directly employs more than 1,000 people.
Bourdow's satisfaction with doing just occasional guests spots on TV and radio these days is a welcome relief for his boss.
Bill Disbrow, CEO of Val-Pak's parent, Cox Target Media Co. in Largo, said hiring Bourdow as vice president of the direct-mail advertising company in 1991 was one of his best decisions.
"The first thing I did was hire Joe fulltime from a job he was doing part-time (for …