Profile of Joe LaChance
Title: Pressroom supervisor. Joe celebrates his 35th year at the Gazette the day after the new press goes online.
How have things changed over the years? “Technology-wise, as far as presses go, it’s gone from mechanical to computerized.”
Was learning the new press difficult? “It’s like anything. There’s more anxiety than difficulty. It’s so different than what we’re used to doing.”
Forty years of technology has made the mechanical elements easier. “But the hard part is trying to grasp the electronic end. Everything is software driven … We’re not going to be able to fix it with baling wire or duct tape.”
The Gazette has been looking for a new press for more than three years. Joe traveled to Germany in April and had a hand in the ultimate decision. He was sitting at the table when Bliss Communications owner Skip Bliss signed the $8.2 million check.
“It’s scary. I gotta make it work. I’m responsible for it.”
Are you excited? “I’m tired. I want to get the thing running. Right now, I think ‘anxious’ is the right word. I’m not sleeping at night, thinking about how much I don’t understand about it. When it’s running, then I’ll be very excited.”
What do you wish the community knew about the Gazette? “That it is community-oriented. Everybody likes to bash the paper … But people don’t realize all the things that the Gazette does, whether it’s the Concert in the Park or the United Way. It’s all in support of Janesville.”
Employees are encouraged to get involved in the community. Management, for instance, supports Joe’s coaching.
Coaching? Joe coaches Parker High School basketball, track and cross-country teams.
“I love being with the kids and having a positive impact on their development. Part of it is selfish (because) I draw energy off of them. I think it helps you stay young.
“I missed my calling. If I could go back, I would have been a teacher.”