Good storytellers are rare. But Mike McNulty was one of them.
He could tell a story, and tell it well. In 1998, when Mike came in to interview for an opening at Rubber & Plastics News—the name of our publication for our first 50 years—it was clear he wasn't looking for a role where he was calling the shots. He wanted to write, to tell stories in a place where he felt comfortable and could contribute in a variety of ways through reporting. His true love, after all, was journalism.
And Mike was one of the good guys. For 25 years—19 of those full time and another six as a freelancer—he was one of ours.
Today, we tell you his story, and we do that with heavy hearts as we say goodbye to our friend. Mike died Sept. 18 at the age of 82, after a short battle with cancer.
He came to RPN relatively late in his career. He had spent some time at the Wall Street Journal early on, followed by stints at Sun Newspapers around Cleveland and a city magazine in Stark County, Ohio. It was clear from his resume that he was a writer. And a short conversation was all it took to convince us of that, too.
We weren't wrong.
Moreover, his work ethic was excellent. He was a go-to person when we had a breaking news story. We could always count on him to get the story, in time and with need of little editing.
He also was adept at, and really enjoyed, developing features about companies in the rubber industry. Mike seemed to bond with quite a few top executives, particularly at smaller and medium-size manufacturers, whom he could call on anytime for comment.
For years he covered the Polyurethane Manufacturers Association meetings, knew all the players well and produced much exclusive copy.
Mike was one of those people you could always count on to give you the straight dope. He'd call "BS" if that's how he saw something. He could be stubborn but never vindictive, was a good judge of character and had a fine sense of humor.
He was from a close-knit family. Mike often bragged about his kids and their spouses' accomplishments, and told many tales from his past. He was particularly proud of his service in the U.S. Army in Vietnam during the war. You also would be hard-pressed to find a more knowledgeable fan of the Cleveland Indians, as they were called back then, and Major League Baseball.
Over the years, we never could really get a direct gauge on his age. Doing the math now, he retired from full time work at age 75. He then continued as a freelancer for us until late last year, partly because he liked to write so much, but also because he wanted to help Bruce out.
He was, after all, a storyteller.
Mike was one of the best hires we ever made, and we'll miss him very much.
Meyer is the current editor of Rubber News. Noga was his predecessor, leaving the role in late 2013.