Eight employees of the Daily Herald will be honored today for excellence in their professions and commitment to the community during 2013.
The Daily Herald's Awards of Excellence winners have years of experience in many departments and areas of expertise. Supervisors and co-workers have nominated workers for the internal awards since 1972.
Senior managers of the company gather to determine the winners and it is the most gratifying assignment they take on, said Douglas K. Ray, chairman, publisher and CEO of Paddock Publications Inc., the parent of the Daily Herald, Business Ledger magazine and Reflejos Hispanic journal, among other print and online media.
"Nominations from supervisors and peers flow in and we have the opportunity to review them all -- and picking only one winner per department is extremely difficult because of the good work taking place through the Daily Herald and Paddock Publications," Ray said.
"This year's winners have much in common -- they have taken on the challenge of change and have excelled. Extra effort, creativity and commitment to their jobs and to the company are their hallmarks," he added.
The awards ceremony is an opportunity to acknowledge excellence and also to emphasize and share the values "we have as a company," said Robert Y. Paddock, Jr., executive vice president and vice chairman.
His father, the late Robert Y. Paddock Sr., was strongly tied to the community and the Community Service Award was named in his honor, Paddock said.
"He worked to serve the community not only through supporting and doing good journalism, but also involving himself in community service ... and doing so in a way that helped the company, area residents and local organizations," Paddock said.
"He was of course in a position that allowed him to do so many of these things, probably more of them than most of us can. For the rest of us, good use of the opportunities we ourselves have is laudable and worthy of note," Paddock said.
The eight winners, announced in December, will be recognized during a luncheon today at the Birch River Grill in Arlington Heights. They are:
• Administrative Award: Carole Reconnu of Hoffman Estates is a corporate secretary who has been with the company since 1991. Last year, she worked closely with executives on transitioning the company to a new payroll system.
"Carole went from being a payroll trainee to payroll lead to payroll expert to payroll trainer in a few short months and did an amazing job," said Senior Vice President and Treasurer Kent Johnson. "Her dedication to solving problems and professionalism in working with all of the employees was outstanding."
• Margie Paddock Flanders Advertising Excellence Award: Cathi Edman of Wheaton is a multimedia sales consultant and has been with the company since 1990.
"I really do love my job," Edman said. "It's fun, and when you're out interacting with clients all day you really see the devotion that people have to the Daily Herald."
• Circulation Excellence Award: Bill Tisch of Mundelein, a Daily Herald employee since 2007, is a branch manager responsible for about 4,000 deliveries in Lake County.
"He is detailed oriented, well-organized, works very hard and works very smart," said Jim Galetano, senior vice president of circulation. "He has demonstrated his dedication to the company and department over and over and is fully committed to providing our customers with outstanding home delivery service."
• Editorial Excellence Award: Patrick Kunzer of Marengo is night photo editor and has been with the company since 1999. He works closely with other staff photographers and editors.
"He inspired them," said Senior Vice President and Editor John Lampinen. "He's always dedicated to great work with small tasks or even large tasks. He's a consummate professional."
• Stuart R. Paddock Jr. Manager Excellence Award: Heather Ritter of Elk Grove Village is the human resources manager and has been with the company since 1994. Ritter works with every individual at the company, making sure all have the information and resources they need, said Scott Stone, executive vice president, general manager and director of sales.
"We trust her 100 percent. She is honest and forthright, and she puts the human in human resources," Stone said.
• Process Excellence Award: Bob Streit of Hanover Park is the lead reelroom operator and has been with the company since 1971. The reelroom is in charge of getting the rolls of paper onto the presses, which are three stories tall.
Streit is a "jack of all trades" because of his experience in various jobs and shifts at the printing center, said Vice President and Director of Production Stefanie Anderson.
"He's known as the go-to-guy who will answer the call for help every time, no matter what the request," Anderson said.
• Excellence Award for Part-Time Employees: John Maheras of Hanover Park is a transportation driver and has been with the company since 2010. He knows all aspects of the distribution operation, including all routes and drop locations, Anderson said.
"He takes great pride in the work he does and inspires good work in others," Anderson said. "He has a great work ethic and comes to work ready to work, with a wonderful attitude that is contagious. People enjoy working alongside John."
• Robert Y. Paddock Sr. Community Service Award: Kim Mikus of Lake Zurich is the Daily Herald Business Ledger editor and has been with the company since 1990. She was chosen for her service on the board for the Lake Zurich Baseball & Softball Association and as a manager for a traveling girls softball team.
Kim believes in teaching the game of softball to prepare the girls to make the high school team, Paddock said. She also says it's important to make the game fun, he said. "In doing these things she is creating higher-self esteem among the players, a very important trait for any teenager."