Amie Rodgers

Bored White Mountain teenager Amie Rodgers once thought the city life would be her future. She eventually changed her mind, gladly returned to Show Low and is now one of the community’s greatest advocates. The publisher of The Maverick magazine is the recipient of the Fall 2016 NPC Outstanding Alumnus Award.

Amie Rodgers
Photo by David Loomis
Amie Rodgers

While attending Blue Ridge High School, Amie's family moved to Iowa. She attended a community college there and then returned to Arizona. She resumed her studies at Estrella Community College in Goodyear, AZ, and then moved back to Show Low. Rodgers attended NPC as a university transfer student, from 2001 – 2005. And she earned a bachelor's degree – with magna cum laude honors – in public agency service at Northern Arizona University.

While attending NPC and later on NAU, Rodgers went to work for a locally owned weekly newspaper called the Maverick. The publication was later sold to a company in Mesa that produced publications for home owners' associations. Rodgers continued to work for the company until it went out of business and ownership of The Maverick reverted back to its founder, Kevin Birnbaum and Rodgers became a 49-percent co-owner of The Maverick. Although Birnbaum had been trying to position The Maverick to become Show Low's leading newspaper, Rodgers urged him to change directions.

“Instead of competing for a piece of the same pie, why not bake another pie?” Rodgers recalls asking. Rather than re-creating the wheel by focusing on news reporting, The Maverick began serving readers a monthly stream of stories on the local good life, area activities, local dining, and coverage of the arts, culture, home and garden, family and much more. The new Maverick became "Your Guide to High Country Living.” Rodgers said, “I saw that people appreciated the stories we offered, and I was surprised it hadn't been done here before.”

The Birnbaum-Rodgers partnership ended in 2008 when he sold his share of the magazine to Rodgers. He moved to Las Vegas and started a multimedia company there. She now runs the magazine along with her brother Travis, a graphic designer.

The Maverick Magazine

Rodgers has dedicated herself to long work weeks covering the community. She is inspired by the good taking place and says she “lives vicariously, so to speak,” through these activities. "Every day we are in business we can partake in people's good work,” she says. “Hopefully, as a tourism community and a feel good organization, we inspire people to appreciate our community. My favorite thing is when we write a story about somebody  it is as if we are holding a mirror up to them. They are seeing themselves and are absolutely blown away and thrilled, and they can appreciate their own work because we put it into words and share it with the community. They realize they are doing good things and appreciate us sharing it with our readers. It's also nice when we hear from advertisers who support the magazine and when they get new business as a result."

Rodgers' work has made a big hit with the chambers of commerce. In 2009, the Show Low Chamber of Commerce presented her the entrepreneur of year award. In 2011, the Pinetop-Lakeside Chamber of Commerce recognized her as the businesswoman of the year.

Each month The Maverick rolls off the press and is available in the White Mountain communities and Payson area as a free publication distributed in more than 150 locations. Copies of The Maverick Magazine are also distributed in 70-plus locations in the Phoenix area. Rodgers says, "We have an ever growing subscribership in the Valley as well as around the Southwest. I love that people dealing with the rat race of living in a metropolitan area can read the magazine and dream of how much they love being up here."

Betsyann Wilson, executive director of NPC Friends and Family, nominated Rodgers for the alumni award. She said Amie strives to help the people of the White Mountain communities better themselves.

“Amie is an outstanding role model, especially to girls and women of all ages.” Wilson said. “She is a true community advocate. Through the medium of The Maverick, Amie gives of herself through participation in various community and civic organizations. She is a consummate giver whose actions illustrate the value she places in her neighbors everywhere. Amie is a great asset to the White Mountains, and I am so proud she is an alumna of NPC!”

An outstanding student at NPC, Rodgers was most influenced by former art department director Lee Sweetman, whom she calls “a truly amazing woman.”

Rodgers says, “I've always had a lot of respect for NPC. I had started community college in Iowa, but the price of education here is far less expensive. NPC is so affordable. I sometimes wonder if the people of the White Mountains appreciate how much NPC has to offer. It was a natural fit for me. It was perfect. And for my bachelor's degree, I didn't have to leave town or go to Flagstaff. I did televised classes for NAU at the NPC Show Low campus for two years.”

The college's District Governing Board will honor Rodgers during its November 15 regular meeting in Holbrook. She will also receive a plaque and a certificate for three free credits at NPC and a one-year pass to all Performing Arts Center events.

To read more about previous NPC Outstanding Alumnus Award winners or to nominate an NPC graduate for this award, visit www.npc.edu/alumni-award-recipients.

By NPC Marketing Writer Dennis Durband