Cosby Stone Retires from Trade-A-Plane
CROSSVILLE, TN (October 24, 2016)—After nearly three decades at the helm of his family’s company, Cosby Stone has retired as chief executive officer of TAP Publishing Company, publisher of Trade-A-Plane.
“After serving as TAPPCO’s CEO for 28 years, it’s time for a change in role for me,” said Stone. “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 with Trade-A-Plane, is a third generation executive. He returned to TAP from a job in Texas in 1983.
“At that time, the company had two business units and we employed about 45 people. Today, TAPPCO has eight business units and we employ about 170 people,” he said. “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,” he continued.
Succeeding Cosby Stone as Interim CEO is Steve Stone, his brother, who is also a third generation
owner. Adam 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.
“TAPPCO will be in the very able hands of Steve Stone, who will function as Interim CEO. Steve has served the company as Chief Operating Officer for many years,” the retiring executive said. “We have a wonderful team of new leaders emerging in the company, including Adam Strachn, who is our CEO Designate.”
Steve Stone, who joined the company in 1976, said “I am honored to serve as CEO for the interim to bridge the gap between generations. 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,” he concluded.
Adam Strachn, who also serves as Legal Counsel for TAP, joined the company in 2014 as Human Resources Director. “I’m very humbled to have been selected to serve in the capacity of CEO Designate,” he said. “I grew up in the company and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
Cosby Stone credits many individuals for his long and successful tenure at TAP.
“I cannot begin to thank all the people who have helped me along my journey as CEO,” he said. “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,” he concluded.
TAP Publishing is a worldwide media and information services company, based at 174 4th Street, in Crossville, TN. Its industry, “buy/sell” marketplaces are utilized in virtually every country on the globe. TAP’s flagship marketplace is Trade-A-Plane, the 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, TN. Other publications have been added over the years, including Rock & Dirt, for heavy construction (1950); 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 has operated a commercial printing division, and, in 2016, completed its purchase of SignSmith, a commercial sign business based in Crossville.