Milt "Beaver" Adams: Golden Years
At age 70, many people are well on their way to enjoying the relaxation of retirement. But Milt “Beaver” Adams is not a common man. At age 83, his winding path has led him to work with some unexpected people and start many businesses, including founding a “mentoring” press called Beaver’s Pond at that young and carefree age of 70.
Orphaned at age 9, Adams and his sisters were raised by their uncles, aunts and grandparents. His nickname “Beaver” was bestowed upon him by one of his uncles for his high energy, small size and big teeth. The name has stuck and he uses it almost exclusively.
“I’m a little guy and I hate bullies and I learned how to fight them,” Adams says of his business philosophy. And that’s just how his career and life have gone. From the psychological bully of being orphaned, to all the bullies in the professional world—both personalities and massive companies—Adams has bested all the bad situations in his life with both skill and humility.
Asked about his career path, Adams modestly says, “I had a printing company. I had an ad agency. I had little jobs this and that way, selling this and that and what have you.” Those “little jobs” included weekly broadcasts on WCCO radio and doing seven figures of business for some of Billy Graham’s films, a national network of offices providing dental referral information to consumers, his own advertising agency, and his own printing company. Even after being kicked out of a business partnership with a once-friend, Adams was able to bring all his clients along with him to his next venture within a few days.
Add to that over two years in the Air Force during the Korean War, an office job at Archer Daniels Midland, and lots more of “this and that,” and you begin to see why 70 doesn’t seem like such a barrier.
Adams says that growing up without parents, he needed as much love as possible. “I went searching the rest of my life, and still do, making people like me,” he says with a smile. “And the way I make them like me is when I’ve helped them achieve whatever their dream is.” That was how he began publishing books for friends.
“More and more,” he says, “There were good writers being snubbed.” Seeing the huge barriers, the New York “gatekeepers,” as he calls them, he decided he could help these stories be told. He wanted to beat the “bullies” one more time.
“My attitude was, this author is a good writer, they’ve got a great book, and they’re having trouble. So I’m going to help them.” And it was just that: help. He was often providing his help at little or no cost. “It was a business in which I got a lot of hugging.”
By 1998, Adams had begun to successfully help enough of his friends and acquaintances print and sell their books outside of the traditional publishing system that it began to look like a viable business. So, he founded Beaver’s Pond Press, which provides more than just printing services for authors. The “mentoring press” model, which Adams says is totally unique, is based around a beginning to end partnership between Beaver’s Pond and an author, including editing, printing, sales and marketing support.
Thirteen years later the company is thriving and winning more awards per year than you can count on both hands.
And now, at 83, Adams is retiring. But even though he calls it retirement, Adams is still involved with his company. “The truth is, he’s not really retiring,” says Tom Kerber, the new owner and CEO of Beaver’s Pond. “He’s really continuing to find and work with potential authors.”
Adams agrees that his retirement is more of a formality. “This isn’t work for me,” he says. “This is my life. This is my passion.”
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