VANCOUVER – George Mleczko, one of the co-founders of Business in Vancouver (BIV), died this month at 72.
Mleczko was born in Germany after his parents Walter and Halina Mleczko settled there to continue serving in the Polish Underground Army after the war. The family later immigrated to the U.K. and then to Toronto in 1953.
He is survived by his sister Diane McElroy, girlfriend Val Purdy and close friend Sandi Gilmer.
Mleczko co-founded BIV with journalist and former Vancouver city councillor Peter Ladner in 1989. Ladner explained that in the 1980s several publications had approached him to get involved in a weekly product as the market for it in Vancouver was clear and it was a proven market niche in other cities. Rather than work with someone else’s publication, Ladner and Mleczko decided to create their own.
“Our proudest moment was just getting the money together, getting people together, getting it all going and becoming profitable,” Ladner said.
Ladner managed the editorial and content side of the venture while Mleczko was responsible for sales and operations. Soon the magazine was recognized by Western Magazine Awards as the best publication of the year in its circulation category.
“I had a lot of confidence in George – in his ability to hire, motivate and rally the sales team and get their revenues going, which is essential to any publication.”
Ladner added that Mleczko was shrewd at coming up with new sales ideas and analyzing the publication’s financial information.
“He provided a great backstop for me and the staff,” said Ladner. “He was just an invaluable partner.”
The publication continues to provide local business information to help keep readers ahead of their competition
“Any print publication that that’s still around today – that’s an achievement,” said Ladner. “I think the fact that it is surviving shows that it’s serving a need. The need is to have the local business people be better informed about what’s going on in their community, and about the people making a difference.”
According to an obituary, Mleczko was an adventurer who spent his 20s and early 30s backpacking across the world. During his travels, he found out that his father was a war hero who had won multiple medals for bravery. After his travels he returned to Canada to start his career in publishing.
His obituary stated there will be a private family interment with a Celebration of Life at a future date, but messages can be left here.