About Life Media's Publisher Rolf Priesnitz

Rolf Priesnitz, Publisher
Life Media

 Read a feature interview
with Rolf Priesnitz,
which was published in the
November/December 2006
30-year celebration issue of
Natural Life Magazine.

In 1976, Rolf Priesnitz founded The Alternate Press, now the book publishing division of Life Media, in order to publish Natural Life Magazine. His objective was to provide people with information and inspiration about self-reliant, healthy, environmentally-sound ways of living, decades before these topics entered the mainstream consciousness.

Although, at the age of 29, he had no experience in the publishing industry, entrepreneurship and learning-by-doing were both second-nature to him, because when he was 17 he had taken over his father’s plumbing and hot water heating business. For the next four decades, his career as a plumber and steamfitter developed in tandem with the publishing business, which he shares with his wife Wendy, whose journalistic skills allow her to oversee the editorial part of the business.

At the same time, Rolf indulged his passion for passing on knowledge to younger generations. He earned his pilot's license at the age of 17, and at age 23 became Chief Training Instructor with the rank of lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Air Force Reserves attached to #296 Squadron, Cambridge Ontario. Also in the early 1970s, he was a Plumbing Professor for Mohawk College of Applied Arts & Technology, Department of Apprenticeship and Certificate Programs, in Hamilton Ontario as well as a Plumbing Instructor for the Hamilton Board of Education, Joint Apprentice & Journeyman Training Committee.

In the early 1970s, Rolf and Wendy had two daughters, Heidi and Melanie, whose education he and Wendy facilitated at home. As he, his young family, and the publishing business moved across Canada in the 1970s and 80s, he continued to teach pipe trades as a sideline, notably as Plumbing Instructor for the Edmonton Pipe Trades Educational Trust Fund.

By 2001, Rolf felt ready to concentrate more time on teaching. He became a full-time Steamfitting Professor for George Brown College, Faculty of Technology, Centre for Advanced Building Technologies, in Toronto, Ontario. Soon, he advanced to Program Coordinator for the College’s Plumbing, Steamfitting, and Welding Apprenticeship Programs. In January of 2004 he became Chair of Apprenticeship for the Faculty of Technology, and in 2006 he became the Director of Apprenticeship Programs for the college. In addition to directing the apprenticeship programs at the college, he piloted a variety of pre-apprenticeship programs for non-traditional groups, as well as other innovations.

He was until recently a marine pipefitting instructor at Nova Scotia Community College, teaching in the Marine Manufacturing Orientation Program for Irving Shipbuilding.

At the same time, this multi-focused, thinking-outside-of-the-box man continues, in partnership with Wendy, to grow Life Media, which now, in addition to Natural Life Magazine, publishes Life Learning Magazine, Natural Child Magazine, and Child's Play Magazine, as well as books.

He has over 40 years experience as an apprentice, journeyman, and supervisor in residential, commercial and industrial construction, maintenance and service work including construction management on projects from Alberta to Romania, 47 years experience as a part-time magazine and book publisher, and over 17 years in academia.

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