Look up “problem solver” in the dictionary, and you will find a perfect description of Joe Lieberman.
Lieberman, founder and president of Peninsula Data Service Center, is a man who loves a challenge. He can figure out anything, especially if it has to do with direct mail or marketing. Pages per minute that can be printed. Postal codes on certain types of mail. How to best deliver marketing materials to certain neighborhoods.
For the past 47 years, Lieberman has been in the business. He knows it all. It’s all stored in his head. Years and years of experience have made his knowledge base second to none.
“I love solving problems,” he says. “I like being able to accomplish what others find difficult. I like to solve puzzles. I go to bed at night with a problem to solve. If I dream, I wake up with the answers. The first thing I do when I wake up is take notes about what I dreamed.”
It all started when he was asked in 1977 to print letters for a company offering second mortgages. He was able to take a mailing list and customize it according to locality. He has honed that ability to a fine science. He also worked for a computer company, tailoring software and providing computer support for firms all over the country.
Lieberman, 73, started his college career at Old Dominion University as an electrical engineering major. He quickly realized it wasn’t for him, and he transferred to what was then Christopher Newport College (now Christopher Newport University) and graduated with a degree in accounting and a minor in computers. It was the perfect combination of math, analysis and technology. Together, they form the ideal foundation for direct marketing.
After graduating, he took a break, earned his pilot’s license and did air photography for consumers. From there, he worked for Burroughs Computers, solving complex problems such as how to calculate insurance APR (annual percentage rates) to two decimals of a percent. Another conundrum he had to figure out was how to line up magnetic-lined cards to allow the computer to balance a budget properly.
Eventually, Lieberman, who grew up in downtown Newport News, decided his future was not in computers but in direct mail. He shifted to doing that full time, and started what was to be the foundation of Peninsula Data Service Center. He found that the direct mail business used many of the same problem-solving skills as working with computers, a huge boon to someone like Lieberman who enjoys working those parts of the brain.
“I always considered myself to be a “Spock.” I am logical. I have always been good at math,” he says. “In logic, things have a defined projection based on stimuli. I like that way of thinking. But I am not so good in English,” he adds with a grin.
Peninsula Data Service Center includes a warehouse filled with equipment that can fulfill all direct mail needs. Lieberman has all sorts of machines that do everything from inserting to folding to printing. The business scope is wide, ranging from bulk mail to sending restaurant menus out to mailboxes all over the city to printing and distributing utility bills. It’s a wide-ranging business that can help all sorts of companies and people who want to get the word out about their endeavors and offerings through the mail.
“I can be a one-stop shop,” Lieberman says. “I like working with customers and discussing what we can do to help them. I like to treat everyone with respect and solve his or her problems,” he says. “That is what gives me the greatest satisfaction.”
Lieberman has six employees, all of whom have worked for him eight or more years. When he’s not working, Lieberman, the father of two grown sons and grandfather to three, can usually be found on his sailboat. He once raced sailboats and placed third in a national championship twice. He doesn’t race boats anymore, but he still adores being on them.
“If I didn’t have a boat, there would be no need to work,” he says with a laugh.
TO THE POINT:
Peninsula Data Service Center
Address: 321 Ed Wright Ln., Ste. A, Newport News, VA 23606
Contact: Joe Lieberman, owner and president
Business: Direct mail services