In 1959 women worked as teachers, nurses and secretaries—they certainly did not start businesses. Yet, Margaret Custer Ford did just that. Ford was intrigued by the advertising products she used in her job of welcoming new residents to Medford, and she sensed an opportunity.

Today, MARCO Ideas Unlimited, Inc. (PPAI 106680) in Portland, Oregon, is celebrating its 60th anniversary with a diamond jubilee event for employees, clients and friends. “Perhaps I was a pioneer,” says Ford, now 90 years old and living nearby, “but now many women have proven that women can achieve success through logical business plans, hard work and a bit of luck.”

Ford’s daughter Nancy Gudekunst, MAS, is now company president, and her grandson Tom is sales manager.

During Ford’s 60 years in the promotional products industry, she won many local, regional and national awards, including induction into the PPAI Hall of Fame in 1994, PPAI’s Woman of Achievement Award in 2010 and Counselor magazine’s Person of the Year. Read more about her in PPB’s July issue.