Edgar Kobak, the influential vice president of The McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, began his illustrious career with a degree in electrical engineering from Georgia Tech night school and a three-year stint in the testing department of the Georgia Power Company. He began selling subscriptions to Electrical World, a McGraw Publishing Company publication, as a favor to a salesman friend of his on his business trips to other stations and was so successful that he was contacted by Electrical World’s management and offered a salesman position. From these humble beginnings, he rose to become an assistant editor, business manager and finally publisher of the magazine itself.
By 1925 he had become an influential figure at what was now The McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, attaining the vice presidency and a place on the board of directors. Five years later, he was the president of a subsidiary, the McGraw-Hill Company of California. In 1934 after 18 years with McGraw-Hill, Kobak left to become the vice president of sales at the National Broadcasting Company (NBC). Two years later, he had moved on to a position at the Lord & Thomas advertising agency, but returned to NBC in 1940 as executive vice president of the network and from 1944 to 1949, the director and president of the Mutual Broadcasting System. In his later years, Kobak conducted his own advertising consulting firm.
Among other achievements, he was the first chairman of the Broadcast Advertising Bureau, president of the Radio Pioneers, president of the Advertising Research Foundation, president and then chairman of the Advertising Federation of America, president of the National Society for Crippled Children and Adults and trustee or director of numerous other organizations.