Janesville52.5°

Profile of Karen Detra

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Gazette Staff
October 14, 2007
Age:55
Address: Janesville
Title: Mailroom supervisor. Karen schedules workers, production runs, zones inserts and readies papers for distribution. She started as mailroom machine operator in 2001.
Background: Karen grew up on a farm in rural Wisconsin, graduating in a class of 18 students. She moved here for the job opportunities and worked at Norwood Mills for 17 years until it closed.

Her planned tenure at the Gazette began with a part-time job that would last “long enough to get the washer-and-dryer-thing.” Instead, “I stayed on forever.”


How will your job change with the new plant? The mailroom will have fewer employees. The new inserter can handle up to 700 pages and has 16 different heads to feed inserts compared to today’s capacity of 300 with eight heads. The new equipment should make hand-stuffing a thing of the past. The papers will also be bundled for their destinations by computer.
What do you enjoy about your job? “It’s just such a variety. It’s mentally challenging some days. It’s physically challenging. I just like the challenge.

“You never know what to expect when you come in in the morning. Something (usually always) amazes me during the day.


“I like being a part of the newspaper. I’m not a reporter, but we’re still a real team.”


You sound proud to work at the Gazette. “I am. Sometimes, I’m just amazed at how important our daily newspaper is to some people. That is how they finish their day—they eat their supper and then they read the paper.”
Are you excited to move to the new plant? “Absolutely. I like anything that’s new and creative. It’s just a challenge. I think when you stop learning, you might as well die.”
Off time: Karen enjoys reading and helping her dad with animals on his farm.
What is your favorite cow? “A Holstein.”

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