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Unsung Heroes Announced

ARLINGTON, Va. — Winners of Gannett’s 11th-annual “Unsung Heroes” awards were announced today by Mimi A. Feller, senior vice president of public affairs and government relations. They are:

— Casandra Drake, regional customer service manager, Multimedia Cablevision, Greenville District, North Carolina Region. Throughout her 14 years with Multimedia Cablevision, Drake has demonstrated and shared her superior customer service skills. She is the point person in various training seminars for customer service enhancement. Drake is directly responsible for training all new employees at her district’s new employee orientations.

— Gregory Dykes, electro-mechanical lead technician, Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle Dykes often works 60-to 70-hour weeks to ensure the D&C’s printing presses are operating efficiently. His nominator said his inventive and innovative behavior enabled the plant to operate more cost effectively and productively. Once he built a special metal crane to pull a 500-pound gearbox from the press when there was no other method to retrieve it.

— Neal Engledow, Page One editor, USA TODAY, Arlington, Va. While fulfilling his regular responsibilities, Engledow has spent countless hours for the past few years on a special committee created to find personal computers journalists could use effectively in USA TODAY’s newsrooms. He has helped plan for the equipment installation, software selection and user training. His nominator said, “It is so useful to have a journalist who also speaks ‘techie’.”

— Thomas Martin Jr., circulation driver, Courier-Post at Cherry Hill, N.J. In his 25 years at the Courier-Post, Martin has been named Employee of the Month and Driver of the Month. His crowning achievement, however, came when he designed a newspaper rack card that included the slogan he created, “A Step Above the Rest.” Martin’s clever design and slogan are being used on vending machines.

— Jack Mundie, manager/client services, Information Technology at the Maryland Operations Center, Silver Spring, Md. His nominator says Mundie provides unique and high-level support for the business systems and network operations for all Gannett units and corporate. Under Mundie, the Client Services Group implemented new technology within all divisions. In addition, Mundie’s group supports the 10,462 Microsoft e-mail users throughout Gannett.

— Carlos Ponce, systems analyst, Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser. Ponce has been the leader in converting the Advertiser’s circulation system from MultiMedia to IBMCirc. He wrote programs to convert the database, verified the validity of the new database, set the control files and prepared every department for the change. In his 12 years at the paper, he is known for his “can-do” spirit which he demonstrates daily.

— Johnny Wells, operations engineer, KUSA-TV at Denver, Colo. Working from a satellite truck, Wells is one of the people responsible for live news reports. Photojournalists at the two Gannett TV stations where Wells has spent 16 years credit him with making their jobs easier. One photographer said when he arrives at the scene of a news event, “Johnny has everything ready to go. He’s figured out the logistics, run the cable, got the microwave shot working, and then usually asks, ‘Is there anything I can do to help you?’ ”

“We had a great group of nominees — many with over 10 years of service. It was a pleasure for all of us to review the nominations,” said Feller.

“We thank the winners for all their superb work and look forward to honoring them at the awards ceremony in January,” said John J. Curley, Gannett chairman and CEO.

The winners were selected from approximately 65 nominations from throughout Gannett. Each will receive $1,000 and will be honored at a reception on Jan. 14, 1998, at corporate headquarters in Arlington, Va.

Judges for the Unsung Hero awards were Curley; Feller; Douglas McCorkindale, vice chairman and president; Richard Clapp, senior vice president/personnel; Cecil Walker, president and CEO of Gannett Broadcasting; and from the Newspaper Division, Gary Watson, president, and Carleton Rosenburgh, senior vice president.