For Nearly Three Decades, EditPros Have Helped Others Tell Their Stories
Work partners Jeff March and Marti Childs are happily married (to others)
By Ed Goldman
For 28 years, Jeff March and Marti Childs have been doing the write thing for their clients.
The co-founders and co-owners of EditPros create, edit and/or proofread everything from newsletters and websites to books and résumés. They also assist with correspondence, brochures and other marketing materials, based on the very solid presumption that being able to write isn’t a universal skill—and certainly not in the corporate world nor academia.
Childs and March with a 1951 Seeburg Model 100C Select-O-Matic jukebox owned by Terry and Cindy Knight (photo by Amanda Domingues)
March is 73. As someone who’s known him for more than 40 years, sometimes just peripherally but always fondly, I can state for the record that he’s one of those people you characterize as peppy without it sounding like an ambidextrous insult. His energy and upbeat attitude have allowed him—through a dodgeball career in corporate communications, print and broadcast journalism as well as advertising—to retain friendships and alliances, which in turn have seen him attract clients whom he used to work for and even resigned from. In short, despite his extra-credit (and excellent) abilities as a photographer and painter, he’s apparently never learned how to burn a bridge behind him.
Childs, who’s 65, is a meticulous editor, gifted graphic designer and computer whiz. The combo helps the twosome take their clients’ manuscripts from concept to publication and distribution. Childs has written in the academic arenas of social sciences, biotech, ag, medical research and the humanities. Hers are also the company’s accounting eyes, though she says that March is the natural-born marketer. Left to her own devices, she says with a laugh, “I would probably give away the business.” She means she’d be a soft touch when clients ask for extras or discounts, whereas “Jeff always knows exactly how much time a project will take and what it will cost. But he’s always really nice about it.”
EditPros is based, and its principals live, in the university town of Davis, just 15 minutes and cultural light years from California’s capital, another university town. But Sacramento State isn’t the largest employer in its sphere of influence, as Davis is. Across the Yolo Causeway bridge from Sacramento, Davis can sometimes give off the feeling you’ve dropped into Brigadoon for the afternoon. Though there are always exceptions, its city council has continually seemed to populate itself with locals who are determinedly developer-unfriendly and socially woke. The town made national news when it declared itself a nuclear-free city in 1984, though no one, to my knowledge, had been seriously contemplating the construction of Three Mile Island 2.0 in its environs. The council decision concluded (the upper case is standard on these types of documents), “NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT no nuclear weapons shall be produced, transported, stored, processed, disposed of, or used within the City of Davis.”
More recently, the University of California, Davis, internationally respected for its ag, art and medical schools, proclaimed that this winter, its history department would offer “asynchronous versus synchronous courses.” “Asynchronous means no schedule assigned to the learning activity. Synchronous means there is a schedule for the learning activities,” the online catalogue helpfully explained. You can see why March and Childs’s services are in constant demand.
While often presumed to be domestic partners as well as business partners, March and Childs are married to other people and all four seem to get along swimmingly. In fact, Childs says that she and March’s wife of 49 years, Marsha, used to quilt together when they had the time. Childs has been married for 33 years to Gary, who worked in the construction industry. She has a grown daughter; Jeff and Marsha March have two adult children and four grandchildren.
March’s youth included some nomadic years, from the ages of eight to 13 years old, when his entrepreneurial dad hauled the family from town to town and state to state in pursuit of business opportunities. March thinks the experience(s) helped to inform his writing—and may also explain why he’s lived in Davis for decades. I remind him that when he was first hired by UC Davis’s communications department, after a bumpy few years in magazines and radio advertising, he was so grateful for what seemed to be an impenetrably stable job that he told me, “I’m going to nail my feet to the ground here.” But while he figuratively affixed himself to the town, even working in the UC system had its peaks and dips in terms of funding and staffing. He went out on his own in 1994, inviting along Childs, whom he’d worked with at UCD (“He hired me when the department I was working for started to shrink,” she says).
“We didn’t have six months or a year to bring this business up to speed,” March says. “We had to start bringing in money from Day One.” I ask if the partners did much outreach to attract business or to just let the world know they were available. “We did,” he says, ”But we stopped cold-calling 20 years ago.”
We’ve been very fortunate,” Childs says. “And the work’s so enjoyable that neither of us talks about retiring.”
Without being asked about their co-working arrangement, March volunteers, “Marti and I have not had a substantial argument in all the time we’ve worked together.” Significantly, this includes March’s working with Childs in her home during the first five years of EditPros.
You can peruse the company’s superhero origins and output, which includes six books to date, at editpros.com. What you won’t find there is what makes two people work together so amicably. That’s their real secret. They must be doing something write.