Joel Fertel, a longtime advertising executive for Sourcing Journal and WWD, died of an apparent heart attack while on vacation in Greece on Oct. 6 at the age of 81, according to his wife, Betsy.
Born in the Bronx on May 28, 1941, Fertel was known for his innovative approach to ad sales, helping to create special sections and events for WWD and Sourcing Journal, which are now both owned by Penske Media Corporation, bringing revenue to the publications and strong editorial content and educational experiences to their readership and clients.
His most recent position at WWD was associate publisher for innerwear, legwear and textiles. At Sourcing Journal, he worked with founder and president Edward Hertzman on key account sales and business development.
“I can say for a fact that Sourcing Journal would not be in the industry-leading position it is today without Joel Fertel,” Hertzman said. “His hard work, tenacity and credibility catapulted our business to another level. I will be forever grateful for all his efforts, as well as the kindness and friendship he showed me personally. He will be greatly missed.”
Fertel’s personable and respectful manner helped develop relationships with his editorial colleagues, including this writer, and became his calling card to a successful career. A request for editorial coverage for a client was often couched as a “favor” and he would share industry knowledge and contacts with no strings attached.
“As the ultimate connector, Joel always had a strong presence at industry events,” said Tricia Carey, a textile industry executive who worked with Fertel for many years. “He was always listening for the latest market pulse and brought new ideas to the table. I will miss his kind words of encouragement and smile.”
Fertel was retired in Boynton Beach, Fla., after residing in Secaucus, N.J. He was an early participant in pickleball, and was also an avid tennis, golf and poker player over the years.
Fertel is survived by his wife, to whom he was married for nearly 10 years; children Evan Fertel, Arlyn Boltax, Gregory Julien and Dana Levy, and 10 grandchildren.
A chapel service will take place on Friday, Oct. 21, at 10:15 a.m. at Beth Israel Memorial Chapel-Boynton Beach. Fertel will be laid to rest following the service at Eternal Light Memorial Gardens. Those wishing to honor him with a memorial contribution are kindly asked to consider Haddasah, Pap Corp. or Susan G. Komen For the Cure.