William "Stacey" Cowles

President, Cowles Company

Stacey Cowles is publisher of The Spokesman-Review and oversees several other publications and affiliated websites and the Company’s venture capital arm. He is a director of The Associated Press and serves on the boards of Greater Spokane, Inc., United Way and the local Boy Scout council. He has been an angel and venture capital investor since joining the board of Spokane Capital Management, the region’s first VC firm in 1989. He was the founding chair of the Downtown Spokane Partnership and serves as community liaison for the Washington State University Spokane Applied Sciences Lab. 
 
Prior to joining Cowles Company, Stacey was a news writer for The Associated Press London bureau.  After receiving his MBA in 1986 from Columbia, he worked as a senior manager for KPMG’s Merger & Acquisition Department in New York City. He holds a BA in economics from Yale. He and his wife Anne have a son who’s an industrial engineering student and daughter who’s about to enter nursing school.
 
Cowles (pronounced “coles”) is a fourth-generation, family-owned holding company that operates a portfolio of legacy companies and invests in disruptive technology through its venture capital division. The company’s flagship is The Spokesman-Review, the leading daily newspaper for Eastern Washington and North Idaho. Stacey’s great grandfather William H. Cowles grew up in a Chicago newspaper family and was an early investor in The Spokesman. After consolidating ownership of the paper, he led consolidation of the region’s two other major dailies and diversified the company into real estate, newsprint manufacturing and farm publications. Subsequent generations added television; the company now owns 16 stations in Spokane and Tri-cities, Washington and in DMA’s across Montana. The company developed Spokane’s downtown mall, River Park Square and is a lead developer in downtown retail and urban and suburban office, industrial and residential property. Cowles subsidiaries include Inland Empire Paper Company, a forest and newsprint manufacturing company. Stacey’s sister Betsy is Chairman of the company and oversees television, real estate and insurance sales operations. His uncle Jim oversees newsprint and forestry. The family formed a Family Council in the mid-1990s to support family communication and education about business strategy, ownership issues, investing and estate planning. Nine members of the fifth generation—nearly all whom are over 18—have interned at the company. The family plans to recruit members of the fifth generation into company leadership over the coming decade.