A Chat With Harvey Dean, president/CEO, Pitsco
© Profile of Success, Catalog Success magazine, November 2005
Catalog Success: When was the catalog established?
Harvey Dean: The business was started in 1971.
CS: Where are your headquarters?
Dean: Pittsburg, Kansas.
CS: What is your primary merchandise?
Dean: Educational products. We supply curricula, software, hands-on equipment, teacher guides, books, DVDs, kits, etc.
CS: What is your annual circulation?
Dean: We produce 15 different catalogs with a circulation over 1 million.
CS: What are your primary customer demographics?
Dean: Our customers are primarily grades six to 10 technology and science teachers.
CS: How did the company/catalog get started?
Dean: Two other teachers and I started it as an after-school venture. We each put $50 into the venture. They sold their thirds to me within the first four years. My wife and I then went full time in 1975. They both continued teaching and have since retired.
These two teachers came to me to write a book for them. I was a young guy at the time. These guys were pretty innovative and creative. One of them taught high school, the other taught junior high. We visited together a few nights and finally decided, or rather I suggested, “Why don’t we just start a company?” Because they’d received such poor service from some major education supply company, I said, “Why don’t we just start a company and do some creative kits.” We had this book, or rather, they had me writing this book about what they were doing in the classroom that was innovative. They came to me because I had a minor in language arts. We decided to take the individual chapters and ideas, and turn them into kits for teachers. None of us had any business experience or any brains really. Well, we had brains, but we certainly didn’t have business brains, that’s for sure.