This past week has been another crazy week. I have been ill with a sinus infection, not bad enough to miss work, but bad enough that I haven’t been able to talk all week. In my profession, that’s a problem.

I also received some news this week that just put me in the dumps. My publisher of almost a year, Ed Graves, announced his resignation. Now for nearly the past year, Ed has been commuting from Florida to run our papers here in Arkansas. As anyone knows, it’s hard to maintain a family from several states away. So, Ed decided to return to his family in Florida and leave the Gatehouse family in Arkansas, behind. While I am thrilled for Ed, I’m sad for us. I have often said that Ed has more faith and confidence in me than I do (and that’s saying a lot). Some of you may not know how I ended up in Heber, but it is because of Ed. Well, first he and Stephanie Tiner (the business manager in Stuttgart) hand picked me for the job at the White Hall Journal back in February. Then, when James Jackson, former editor here, announced he was leaving The Sun Times to return to Fayetteville, Ed began thinking of who to replace him with here. He called me one Tuesday morning saying he had woke up at 3 a.m. with my name in his head for James’ replacement. So you could say I was handpicked for this position as well. It has been a learning process for me. Being in management is not always easy and sometimes people don’t like you, not because of you personally but because of decisions that have to be made. I experienced this first hand within my first two weeks, but Ed stood behind me and reassured me with, “You are doing exactly what I brought you here to do.” That is, to bring local news about the local community to the local paper. It is one of my work mantras. I am a firm believer in it! I have tried very hard to make Ed continue to be proud of me and his decision to bring me here.

Ed is the kind of manager who places people in a job he believes they can do and do well. Then he steps back and lets then do it. He gives guidance not only personally, but also by putting mentors in place to assist. I am a person who strives to get it done in this kind of environment, even if it means working over and above what I get paid for. Micromanaging me will never get the best from me, but point me in the right direction and show belief in my ability and I will make you proud. Ed knew this.

With all the issues we have had since moving our printing to Pine Bluff, and my emails at 4 a.m. to Ed, honestly, I’m surprised I still have a job.  This too, reflects the kind of boss Ed is. He has allowed me to rant and rave about a situation totally out of my control, and has strived to get it corrected. As with any new process at a company our size, there are kinks that have to be worked out and so it is not unusual, on the days our Wednesday (and sometimes Friday) papers are late to the post office or not delivered with the correct paperwork, and therefore not delivered on time, to see me downtown delivering papers to the businesses downtown. Never let it be said I am not trying to do what it takes to get the paper out.
I hope Ed’s replacement shares this management style and I look forward to meeting her. I wish Ed all the best in whatever he does in the future!! You will be missed!!!!