Urban is a retired reporter, editor and media executive. From 2003 to 2012 he was editor-in-chief and vice president, editorial, of DTN/The Progressive Farmer, an Omaha-based provider of business information to the agriculture, energy and other weather-sensitive industries. Before that he spent 33 years at The Wall Street Journal, including 20 years in Europe and Asia. His Journal positions included vice president, business development, based in New York; publisher and executive editor of The Asian Wall Street Journal, based in Hong Kong; Tokyo Bureau Chief; managing editor of The Wall Street Journal Europe, based in Brussels; and Detroit Bureau Chief.
Urban has been a birder for 45 years and is a lifetime conservationist. His passion for cranes was first sparked during a trip to Alaska a few decades ago when he saw two Sandhill Cranes dancing in the Homer, Alaska, city park.
Urban currently serves on the boards of NatureServe and the John Manjiro-Whitfield Commemorative Center for International Exchange (U.S.). He is a past president of the Nebraska Ornithologists Union and the North American Agricultural Journalists and a past member of the boards of CNBC Asia and Nation Multimedia Group in Bangkok, Thailand. His journalistic awards include an Overseas Press Club citation for excellence in 1989 for a series of articles on U.S.-Japan relations and being named 2009 Writer of the Year by the American Agricultural Editors Association. He has a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Michigan, a law degree from Georgetown University and is an inactive member of the District of Columbia bar.