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Article updated: 1/16/2013 8:01 PM

Daily Herald honors eight award winners

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Eight employees of the Daily Herald will be honored today for work excellence and for commitment to the community during 2012.

The Daily Herald's Awards of Excellence winners have years of experience spanning many departments and areas of expertise. Supervisors and co-workers have nominated workers for the internal awards since 1972. The winners were announced in December.

The winners, who will be recognized during a luncheon at the Birch River Grill in Arlington Heights, are:

Circulation call center Manager Mary Ann Basak, of Hoffman Estates, who was named the Stuart R. Paddock Jr. Manager of the Year. As Senior Vice President of Circulation Jim Galetano noted, Basak works long days handling all aspects of the department's business. She is a calming and helpful representative when customers call with problems, while also managing a staff and interacting with contractors, according to Circulation Manager John Janos. Basak has worked at the Daily Herald since 1992.

Circulation Branch Manager Keith Buehler, of Libertyville, received the Circulation Excellence Award.

He has worked at the Daily Herald since 2005. Buehler, a relief manager, steps in for others who are absent, working with customers and newspaper carriers and solving the unanticipated problems that can crop up daily. His fellow managers appreciate the fact that he accepts full responsibility and accountability for the branch he happens to be working at that day, Buehler's supervisors said.

Multimedia Sales Consultant Shannon Doll, of Geneva, won the Advertising Excellence Award. According to Executive Vice President and General Manager Scott Stone, Doll consistently makes at least 100 percent of her quota in all categories. Doll, who has worked at the Daily Herald since 2010, inspires by achievement, her supervisors say. "Shannon goes above and beyond daily, and continues to make numbers. She is soft-spoken and very humble, but what she doesn't realize is how great of a sales rep she truly is. She hates losing and she's a dream to manage," said her manager, Genna Sheriff.

Obituary Coordinator Erin Jagiello, of Villa Park, received the Excellence Award for Part-Time Employees. She has been with the Daily Herald since 1997. Her supervisors describe Jagiello as taking on any challenge, and handling it well. "Erin is a self-starter and rarely comes to me with a problem -- but rather with a solution to a problem," said Classified Sales Manager Karrie Brooks, crediting Jagiello with identifying more efficient ways to get tasks done. "She has raised the bar on resilience and positivity and hers is an example anyone would be proud to follow," Brooks said.

Political Editor Kerry Lester, of Arlington Heights, received the Editorial Department Excellence Award. An employee since 2006, Lester is a multifaceted reporter who builds strong connections with sources and readers, said Deputy Managing Editor Diane Dungey. Lester gained national attention with her reporting on the 8th Congressional District race between Republican Joe Walsh and Democrat Tammy Duckworth and with her coverage of U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk's return to Congress after a stroke a year ago. Along with that, stories she wrote about a knife attack by a student on Elgin High School teacher Carolyn Gilbert were instrumental in passage of a law meant to prevent such incidents in the future.

Sports columnist Mike McGraw, of Lake Villa, received the Robert Y. Paddock, Sr., Community Service Award. He has worked at the Daily Herald since 1989. McGraw has tirelessly volunteered in youth sport coaching and administrative positions, said Robert Y. Paddock Jr., vice chairman and executive vice president of Paddock Publications, the Daily Herald's parent company. For the last eight years, McGraw has been coaching youth sports almost every season of every year. McGraw is now the primary administrator of the feeder basketball program for boys and girls in the Grant High School district and has done everything from recruiting coaches to promoting the program to players and parents to soliciting donations and sponsorships to designing a website, said Paddock, son of the award's namesake.

Packaging Coordinator Tina Partenski, of Elgin, was recognized with the Production Excellence Award. Partenski's long list of everyday duties includes checking deliveries, circulation counts, production planning, communication and a host of other tasks, said Stefanie Anderson, vice president and director of production. Partenski also works closely with the Daily Herald's advertising departments and is the department liaison to Shaw Suburban Media, a commercial client. Partenski intuitively recognizes when something's not right that could lead to a problem in production or for an advertiser, Anderson said. She then takes it upon herself to identify and solve the problem, Anderson said. Partenski has worked at the Daily Herald since 1996.

Niche sales assistant Kristine Wilson, of Naperville, received the Administrative Excellence Award. Wilson has been with the Daily Herald since 2010. She was nominated for the award by seven of her peers, an indication of her attitude and productivity, her supervisors said.

"The fact that Kristine is self-motivated really stands out," says Business Ledger Sales Manager Andy Zielonka. "She is always taking the initiative to get jobs done."

"Her upbeat, positive attitude and willingness to learn along the way are attributes of a true leader," said Scott Ray, director of Niche Publications.

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