Monica Ohlinger, president and founder of Ohlinger Publishing Services, had been working in publishing for close to a decade when she began thinking about creating her own company. As a Development Editor for Merrill Publishing, Monica gained the hands-on experience of driving a textbook through the publishing process. After nearly six years of working in development, she was promoted to Senior Developmental Editor/Sales Specialist. Her responsibilities shifted from working on the creation and production of new titles to working alongside sales representatives to find and close large deals in the field of engineering technology.
But after Monica stepped into a sales role, it didn’t take her long to realize that her passions lie elsewhere.
“Most promotion in publishing is through the sales force,” Monica explained. “I thought I wanted to be an acquisitions editor. I was a terrible sales rep (failed miserably), but it made me realize that development was my future and my strength.”
While Monica’s colleagues, clients, and friends are always quick to encourage and praise her, Monica’s greatest influence in starting her own company was her mother.
“My mother was my biggest fan and my biggest inspiration.”
Gwen Ohlinger managed a college bookstore, and, over the years, passed along her passions and interests to Monica. Growing up surrounded by academic texts sparked Monica’s interest in college publishing.
Around the time Monica realized that her future belonged in development, her mother passed away suddenly. Inspired by Gwen’s entrepreneurial approach to life and grounded by her ever-present support, Monica started OPS in 1995.
“I know this is what she would have wanted for me, and I think about her every day and hope I channel her wonderful spirit.”
OPS hired its first employee in 1996. Working initially from a spare bedroom in Monica’s home, the team took its projects through all phases of the development process. Over the past 20 years, as the state of the textbook publishing industry has shifted dramatically, OPS has evolved and diversified in its services to publishers. The company has become increasingly supportive of and knowledgeable about the learning sciences and digital education tools. Today, expert OPS teams develop pedagogically sound online assessments, optimize print texts for the digital environment, and design premium interactive programs to accompany texts across a wide range of disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and world languages.
With more than 50 employees, OPS – and its newly created division, ODE – has managed to grow, adapt, and thrive in the digital textbook publishing landscape, employing seasoned professionals and tried-and-true methods for enhancing educational materials for students and teachers alike.