Ruralite Services Inc. has named veteran Northwest journalist Leon Espinoza as its new Editor. Espinoza was selected after a national search. He replaces Curtis Condon, who is retiring.
Espinoza is currently Assistant Managing Editor of The Seattle Times, a position he has held since 2013.
“Leon Espinoza is regarded by his colleagues as a tremendous coach, co-worker and leader,” said Michael Shepard, CEO of Ruralite Services. “He has been at once a steady and creative hand during a time of unprecedented change in the media world. I’m confident he is just the right person to lead our journalistic efforts and partner with our award-winning staff and the public utilities we work with every day.”
Espinoza has risen through the ranks since joining The Seattle Times as a reporter in 1990. He has been the company’s Executive News Editor, Deputy News Editor, Sunday News Editor, Night News Editor and worked on the copy desk. He holds a BA in communications from California State University, Fullerton.
He has been actively involved in developing the Times’ popular digital offerings and worked both as a hands-on editor and overseer of editing and presentation for multiple Pulitzer Prize-winning (and nominated) stories and news series.
Espinoza is a member of the Associated Press Media Editors association, the Washington Coalition for Open Government, the American Copy Editors Society, the International Association of Business Communicators and he has judged reporting and design competitions, including the California Newspaper Publishers Association’s. Leon and his wife, Michelle, have three adult children.
“It is an honor and thrill to join Ruralite Services and have the chance to lead a communications team that already knocks it out of the park for the public utilities and hundreds of thousands of consumers it serves,” said Espinoza of joining Ruralite Services. “The chance to guide a winning team, impact communities and support our consumer-owned utility partners with meaningful communication and quality magazine products, all within the framework of a co-op rooted in community values, was too good to pass up.”
“As Editor, with a background in public-service journalism and transformation, I look forward to the role we can play in the rapidly evolving energy industry. I’m eager to learn about our utility partner’s desires, wishes and needs and how we can diversify what we offer to meet them. These are exciting times.”
Condon will leave the company at the end of July as its longest-tenured current employee – and one of its most liked and respected. He joined Ruralite as an editor in 1990 and within two years had been tapped to lead the magazine staff as managing editor. Under his leadership, Ruralite magazine won the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s George W. Haggard memorial journalism award in 2015. The award is annually given to the nation’s top cooperative magazine. The number of utilities using Ruralite’s magazine brands grew by nearly 20 percent during Condon’s tenure and he oversaw the expansion of magazine brands under the company’s umbrella from one (Ruralite) to four, and total circulation of the magazines went from just over 250,000 to more than 440,000 today.