Lee Epstein taught me — and countless others — what it really means to give back. Because of Lee, I always answer my own phone, I make time for anyone who asks, and I think “yes” before “no” when it comes to serving the industry.
He sees his success as something that comes with enormous responsibility. Lee is devoted to direct marketing education. As a founder of Direct Marketing Days in New York, he made sure it had an educational endowment. When DMDNY was sold to the Direct Marketing Association, he took the $2 million endowment and created Direct Marketer's Gateway. DMG provided scholarships for students interested in pursuing direct marketing careers. In 2005, DMG aligned with the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation, and Lee's legacy lives on through the “Lee Epstein Fund.”
Let's not forget Lee's work in Washington, keeping the US Postal Service in check. Lee was the go-to guy for postal matters. The Association for Postal Commerce considers him a founding father of the modern direct mail industry, with an award named in his honor.
Lee has chaired Postcom and the Mail Fulfillment and Service Association. He also served for years on the Postmaster General's Mailers Technical Advisory Committee.
Lee is also probably the most well-liked person in our industry. Considering he had to deal with many thorny people and issues, this was no small feat. But Lee made it look easy. More than 20 years ago, there was a sold-out event in Lee's honor in New York. The occasion? It was a dinner for Lee Epstein for — well, being Lee Epstein. No one in this business gets dinners in their honor for just being themselves, except him. With all of that, being a wonderful husband, father and grandfather was his top priority – family always came first.
Brian Kurtz is EVP at Boardroom Inc.