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Production team bravely pressed on at Daily Herald


Jose Marsol checks the final color of a print job May 13, 2020, at the Daily Herald Print Center in Schaumburg. (Daily Herald photo)

For Illinois Press Association

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS – If he were a reporter, Don Stamper, director of production at the Daily Herald, would undoubtedly be terrific at protecting his sources.

Last fall, as he walked among nearly 150 employees in Schaumburg who bravely kept the flagship newspaper and various other papers and publications printing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, he was keeping the mother of all secrets under lock and key.

Each and every one of those employees was about to be honored during the company’s awards ceremony with the Above and Beyond honor.

“I’m pretty good at keeping secrets. Nobody else knew about it,” said Stamper, 58.

Typically, a few production employees would attend the banquet, but this time it was mandatory for all, as IT set up monitors so they could watch the ceremony during their break.

“The management staff and the whole team, I couldn’t be more proud of them, and to be recognized for that, it was quite an honor,” Stamper said.

While the rest of us showed up to those initial Zoom meetings with business on top, pajamas on the bottom, Stamper was contacting his staff by phone – many don’t have internet, he said – to lay out plans when the pandemic hit and state shut down non-essential operations. He and his staff plastered signs everywhere, instituted protocol checklists and informed truckers they’d be allowed in the building only to drop off paperwork.

“A light switch went off, the whole economy shut down, and the world was different,” Stamper said.

His team masked up and showed up every day to do its job. And it had to do it short-handed. When the pandemic hit, some staff quit, and about a half-dozen took leave because of health conditions. Two full-time employees got stuck in India and the Philippines.

“Some planned to be out 2 or 3 weeks, and they were out for months,” Stamper said.

Employees picked up the slack by working harder and clocking lots of overtime, Stamper said. They worked long shifts wearing masks any time they weren’t eating or drinking, and they did it with few complaints, Stamper said.

“At first, everybody had a reason they didn’t want to wear one – I can’t breathe, or I can’t do this or that – but eventually they got on board,” Stamper said. “Most of the employees – we did have some that there was some pushback, and me and management staff had to remind them – they understood it.”

As guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed from day to day, Stamper and his management staff put their employees’ safety first. Notices were posted everywhere. The packaging and inserting lines were particularly problematic, but employees did their best to keep themselves, and each other, safe. And supervisors stayed on them, Stamper said.

“Obviously, we were not able to keep 6 feet at all times, but whenever possible we did that,” Stamper said.

In early October, a few weeks before the awards ceremony, the press team was featured on the front page of a special section commemorating the company’s work during the pandemic.

“We are forever thankful to our own on-site heroes in our production facilities who never wavered in their mission to print a paper every day,” Colin O’Donnell, senior vice president of operations and strategic initiatives, wrote in a Page 4 story on Stamper’s team.

O’Donnell was among the VPs and other brass who chose to honor the production crew.

Stamper has been with the company since 2014, but he’s spent his entire career in production rooms – first at the Daily Southtown in the mid-1980s, then as operations director at Gatehouse’s Chicago division.

“You get so involved in the day-to-day when something like this happens – pushing through day to day until it becomes the norm for you,” Stamper said.

In his story, O’Donnell paid credit to Assistant Corporate Secretary Kristine Wilson and Vice President of Human Resources Heather Ritter for helping procure gallons of hand sanitizer, hundreds of masks, and thousands of gloves on short notice to keep the operation humming.

Ritter, in turn, lauded Stamper.

“I love him dearly,” she said. “He has from Day 1 taken this very seriously. He saw the big picture. I mean, if one guy in the pressroom gets the coronavirus, we’re going to have a mess. So I know the culture was there from the get-go – the cleaning regimen and temperature checks. We weren’t playing around.”

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Press Releases

Associated Builders and Contractors of Illinois highlights diversity strategies during Construction Inclusion Week

Oct. 13, 2021
Media Contact: Alicia Martin, president of ABC Illinois


SPRINGFIELD — ABC Illinois today announced how its members are creating the right  conditions to embrace an inclusive and diverse workforce during Construction Inclusion Week, Oct. 18-22.   

In 2017, ABC Illinois established the Community Builders Program, which gives people from diverse backgrounds who face employment barriers the chance to learn a trade and begin a career in construction. The program upskills directly in the communities where participants live, taking a holistic approach to teaching a skill, providing career mentoring, and helping with job placement. By bringing free craft education to over 200 individuals who have faced barriers to employment, ABC Illinois is expanding the talent pipeline and rehabilitating disadvantaged communities, families, and career-seekers.  
“The diversity of ABC Illinois helps drive business growth and profitability, and the Community Builders Program is based on our belief that inclusivity, diversity and equity will change the way we fill construction jobs here in our state,” said Alicia Martin, President of ABC Illinois. “We are breaking down the barriers that hold some people back based on factors that have nothing to do with their abilities and desires. The merit shop philosophy aligns with the principles of inclusion, diversity and equity, ensuring every individual has a chance to succeed.”  
“Construction Inclusion Week is an invitation to every member of the 7.4 million-strong construction work forces to unite to advance inclusion, diversity and equity,” said ABC Director of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Tia Perry. “Achieving an inclusive, equitable and culturally competent workforce that is welcoming to all people is the essence of the merit shop philosophy. ABC Illinois is creating the conditions that appeal to an inclusive workforce.”  
ABC’s diversity outreach is led by the association’s Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Committee on which both Martin and Perry serve. The committee was established in 1999 as a key component of ABC’s value proposition to develop people, win work and deliver work safely, ethically, and profitably for the betterment of the communities in which they work. Visit diversity.abc.org to learn about ABC’s IDE strategy.
About Construction Inclusion Week: Construction Inclusion Week harnesses the collective power of the construction industry to build awareness regarding the need to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in the industry. For more information, visit constructioninclusionweek.com.

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Illinois Principals Association encourages principal appreciation in October

Sept. 30, 2021
Media Contact: Alison Maley, Government and Public Relations Director


SPRINGFIELD — Lifetouch and the Illinois Principals Association (IPA) encourage all communities in Illinois to celebrate Principal Appreciation Week October 24-30, 2021, and Principal Appreciation Day on Friday, October 29, 2021. This state-endorsed recognition was first approved by the Governor of Illinois in 1990 and is celebrated annually. The IPA also joins the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), and the American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA) to recognize October as National Principals Month.

Principal Appreciation Day provides learning communities an opportunity to publicly recognize the work, commitment and importance of principals, assistant principals, and deans throughout the state. Lifetouch and the IPA invite all teachers, students, parents, and community members to perform some act of appreciation on Friday, October 29th to acknowledge the leadership of building administrators in Illinois’ public and private schools.

“In these challenging times, school leaders are faced with extraordinary decisions that affect the lives of those under their care,” said Dr. Marcus Belin, IPA President and Principal of Huntley High School, Huntley, IL. “The purpose and value school leaders bring to the field of education is immeasurable. What I value most is their relentless determination to move education forward and to serve their communities in a meaningful way. Let us take a moment to recognize the hard work that principals give, day in and day out.”

The 2021-2022 school year also marks the 50th anniversary of the Illinois Principals Association. Initial conversations to create a statewide principals association began in 1966 and members formally ratified the organization in the Fall of 1971. The IPA was formed when the Illinois Elementary School Principals Association (IESPA), the Illinois Junior High School Principals Association (IJHSPA), and the Illinois Secondary School Principals Association (ISSPA) joined into one organization. The IPA has long been recognized by the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and other state and national agencies and organizations as one of the premier principals’ groups in the nation due to its large, diverse membership, legislative and policy initiatives, service to members and especially for the quality and range of its professional learning programs.

“School leadership matters, especially right now,” said Dr. Jason Leahy, IPA Executive Director. “As a former principal and having visited dozens of schools throughout Illinois, the quality of a school’s learning environment and the ability of a school to do what is best for its students comes as a direct result of the leadership provided by the school’s principal and leadership team. Courageous leadership is essential to equitably educate students and work to provide the resources and support they need to reach their potential. It is important that we recognize and encourage our schools’ leaders every day. The pandemic has heightened the need for us to intentionally share appreciation for those who do so much for our State’s young people.”

Lifetouch is proud to be the official school photographer for the National Association of Elementary School Principals. Lifetouch is honored to support local members of the Illinois Principals Association in recognition of “Principal’s Appreciation Day.” Lifetouch is excited to have joined forces with Shutterfly to bring together two industry leaders who share a common purpose – to share life’s joy through capturing and preserving memories with the click of a camera. While we continue to deliver the quality photography and service you expect from Lifetouch, we are creating a new, innovative experience that will allow you to do more with your photos than ever before. As a part of our mission to help you share your memories, Lifetouch and Shutterfly are truly better together! Learn more at: https://schools.lifetouch.com/shutterfly/

The Illinois Principals Association is a leadership organization which serves over 6,000 educational leaders throughout the state of Illinois and whose mission is to develop, support, and advocate for innovative educational leaders. For more information about the IPA, please visit www.ilprincipals.org

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Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau
hires new tourism manager

Aug. 16, 2021
Media Contact: Scott Dahl
217-789-2360, ext. 5531


SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau announces the hiring of a new Tourism Manager to lead the Springfield Visitors Center and tourism efforts for the City of Springfield.  

Sarah Waggoner will assume the position, held by Jeff Berg who has been with the SCVB for nearly two decades, beginning on Monday, Aug. 23, 2021. Sarah brings an extensive résumé of tourism experience, most recently as tourism coordinator for the City of Litchfield. Most notably, she developed and oversaw the Litchfield Pickers Market, including coordination of the market, social media and marketing efforts. Additionally, her responsibilities included budget management, website functions and developing overall marketing strategies for the City of Litchfield tourism effort.
As tourism manager for Visit Springfield, Sarah will be tasked with managing the Visitors Center, serving as liaison to state and federal historical sites and institutions as well as all programming and scheduling for the History Comes Alive summer program, in its 13th year in 2022.  

About Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau
The Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau (SCVB) is the official destination marketing organization for the City of Springfield, Illinois. As a department of the City of Springfield, the SCVB markets the capital city as a unique convention, meeting and leisure destination in support of our City, our community and our hospitality partners.scott.dahl@springfield.il.us

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For more information, or to schedule an interview with Scott Dahl, please call 217-789-2360, ext. 5531; 217-341-9802 or e-mail scott.dahl@springfield.il.us



Warbirds over Greenville, Illinois

Aug. 16, 2021
Craig Baumberger, member, Greenville Pilots Association

Airstravaganza 2021 will be held at the Greenville Illinois Airport on Oct. 9-10. The main attraction will be a visit by the Mitchell B-25 bomber and the Grumman TBM (torpedo bomber) of the Missouri wing of the Commemorative Air Force based at St Charles, Missouri. These aircraft will be on static display on Saturday, Oct. 9, and will be available for rides on Sunday, Oct. 10. This is a rare opportunity for the general public to purchase a trip aboard the B-25, the bomber that flew from the USS Hornet in 1942 to deliver the first retaliatory blow against the Japanese in World War II. Rides will also be available in the TBM, the largest single-engine military aircraft in World War II and the same type flown by President George H.W. Bush in the Pacific. This is a great opportunity to get a look up close at an important part of our military history.

Rides in the B-25 will cost $395. Five people at a time will ride, with the opportunity to move around the aircraft while in flight and check out the cockpit, bombardiers station, and the cramped quarters in the fuselage. TBM rides will cost $895. There will be a limited number of rides available, so they should be booked in advance. In addition to the warbirds, Waco biplane rides will be available if booked in advance. Cessna and helicopter rides will be available on Saturday, Oct. 9

For info and to reserve a flight, contact Kevin Blaney at 618-520-5362 or kfblaney@gmail.com. Mention "warbirds."

The event is supported by the Greenville Airport Authority and conducted by the Greenville Pilots Association/EAA Chapter 1382. For info or to volunteer, call Craig Baumberger at 618-322-3532 or the Greenville Airport at 618-664-0926. Also, check it out on Facebook or contact gaa@gmail.com. Greenville Airport is located approximately 5 miles south of Greenville on Illinois Route 127 at 1574 Sky Lane, Greenville.

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