Thursday, March 12, 2009

Saying goodbye to the Courier family


As the production manager at The Courier since January 2006, I have worked with a great team. I became the production manager after working at The Courier for almost four years.

I wanted to work at The Courier because it was family oriented and friendly. It was also one of the few places I have ever worked at where, during the creative process, there is such a high level of teamwork.

Being in the Production Department, my experience was challenging, and I worked side by side with great professionals from production and the other departments. In production, all of the varied and unique talents Courier’s graphic artists possessed were brought to the table and, regularly, produced not only award-winning work but art that represented the best of what we, as a team, could realize.

That is not to say there were not, at times, great challenges. When I began as production manager, there was so much that was new (despite the fact I had been here for while). For two editions during the transition period, production missed its deadline by an hour. Though this was a setback, it also was a challenge that brought the team together in a way that was more solid than ever before. When deadlines are missed, revenue is lost, the issue of job jeopardy shows up, and it’s a lot of responsibility. I learned so much about leadership and teamwork in those moments, lessons I will take with me the rest of my life. Of all the things I learned, though, it was the ones about teamwork that resonate most clearly with me.

Graphic arts was not my first career: it was my second. Formerly, I owned a para-transit company in New York City, but decided to make a change. So, after Skidmore Computer Graphics Institute, in White Plains, N.Y., where I studied computer graphics and web development, I interned at “Seventeen” magazine and Good News Broadcast (the owner was the producer of the hit TV show “All in the Family”). This took me to the Bronx Press and the Riverdale Review, respectively, both in New York.

This was good preparation before coming to The Courier, and its rigorous production needs that were sometimes, due to the nature of news, sometimes very last minute.

I was so fortunate to have Associate Production Manager Christopher Blaszczyk onboard for the past two years. Chris was so detail-oriented that he would catch so many potential errors while I was multi-tasking. What he does was invaluable.

I was so happy to see former Courier graphic artist Tim Kovach win best Black-and-White Ad Campaign in the N.J. Press Association contest. Tim was such a wonderful young talent to work with, and I am sure that The Courier was only his first step along a very bright career.

Graphic artist Tom Fenton joined the team in May 2007, and brought an innovative professionalism to the field of graphic arts that was outstanding. But, above all, Tom has been such a selfless team player that we could not have gotten along without him.

It was said, years ago, that O.J. Simpson had the “Dream Team” for his legal counsel during his murder trial. Well, the truth is that I was the one who had the real “Dream Team,” working right here at The Courier in the Production Department.

I want to thank Joseph Azzolina Sr., his son, Courier Vice President John Azzolina, and Courier Publisher Jim Purcell. “Big Joe,” as Mr. Azzolina Sr. is called, has been someone who appreciates hard-working people and is more than just a fair person: He has been great. John Azzolina has made Courier someplace that people always looked forward to coming to everyday. And, without his leadership it could not have been the same positive experience. Finally, I would like to thank the one person who gave me this opportunity and believed in me, even after I missed a deadline, and still believed in me – Jim Purcell.

Everyone has been wonderful here and I will not forget any of this.

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