The Heart & Soul of IRMA

IRMA began in a fishing boat when two circulation people from separate magazines, Gus Weiner of Down East and Peter Sykas of Vermont Life, decided in 1960 to spend a day trading ideas that would improve growth of their magazines while enjoying their favorite pastime. Magazine secrets flowed between the two all day so freely that they decided to do it again the following year, then the next. Other magazine people heard about the annual get-together and began to join them. Soon, the boat was overloaded, so they began meeting on land.

A few years later, the growing group wanted to hear from the publisher of the granddaddy of regional magazines, Arizona Highways. Peter Sykas contacted him and was told that he needed a formal invitation to get approval from state officials to make the trip. A quick conversation with the owner of a local stationery shop produced a letterhead to use for the invitation. Over the counter that day, the organization was named the North American Association of Regional Publishers.

At the annual conference in Nevada, in 1968, the name was changed to Regional Publishers Association. After many years under that name, the organization was renamed the International Regional Magazine Association in 1995 to reflect a growing number of member magazines outside the United States.

Regardless of its name, the original intent of those first two members has remained the same for more than 40 years. Free and open communication among members is the heart and soul of the organization.

IRMA Conferences Through the Years:

1960Fishing BoatDown East & Vermont Life
1961Fishing BoatDown East & Vermont Life
1962Fishing BoatDown East & Vermont Life
1963Poland Springs, MEDown East
1964Fairlee, VTVermont Life
1965Wentworth, NHNew Hampshire Profiles
1966Raleigh, NCThe State
1967Jaffrey, NHNew Hampshire Profiles
1968Las Vegas, NVNevada Magazine
1969Stowe, VTVermont Life
1970Stone Mountain, GAGeorgia Life
1971Aboard MV Wickersham to AlaskaAlaska Magazine
1972Door County, WIWisconsin Trails
1973Cape Cod, MAYankee Magazine
1974Phoenix, AZArizona Highways
1975Victoria, BCBeautiful British Columbia
1976Oklahoma City, OKOklahoma Today
1977Annapolis, MDMaryland Magazine
1978Santa Fe, NMNew Mexico Magazine
1979Sugarbush, VTVermont Life
1980Hecla Island, MBManitoba Moods
1981San Antonio, TXTexas Highways
1982Vancouver, BCBeautiful British Columbia
1983Boston, MAYankee Magazine
1984New Orleans, LALouisiana Life
1985Dublin, IrelandIreland of the Welcomes
1986Annapolis, MDMaryland Magazine
1987Madison, WIWisconsin Trails
1988Seattle, WAWashington, The Evergreen State
1989Rockport, MEDown East
1990Sedona, AZArizona Highways & American Indian Art Magazine
1991Kerrville, TXTexas Highways
1992Columbus, OHOhio Magazine
1993Santa Fe, NMNew Mexico Magazine
1994Vergennes, VT & Blue Mountain Lake, NYVermont Life & Adirondack Life
1995Stillwater, OKOklahoma Today
1996Vancouver & Victoria, BCBeautiful British Columbia
1997BermudaBermuda Magazine
1998Annapolis, MDChesapeake Bay Magazine
1999Tucson, AZArizona Highways
2000Toronto & Muskoka, ONGottage Life
2001Pray, MT (cancelled due to 9/11)Montana Magazine
2002Pray, MTMontana Magazine
2003Charlottesville, VAalbemarle
2004Bar Harbor, MEDown East
2005San Antonio, TXTexas Highways
2006Duluth, MNLake Superior Magazine
2007Oklahoma City & Lone Wolf, OKOklahoma Today
2008Halifax & Cape Breton, NSSaltscapes
2009Santa Fe, NMNew Mexico Magazine
2010Branson, MOMissouri Life
2011Reno, NVNevada Magazine
2012Scottsdale, AZArizona Highways
2013Baltimore, MDIRMA
2014Portsmouth, NHIRMA
2015San Diego, CAIRMA