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Jackie's Tribute

March 29, 2012 - Dana Lantz
On Friday, March 3, 1995 Farm News put out our first edition. The headline read “Farm News staff combines experience, rural background.” It continues, Farm News, Iowa’s newest weekly agricultural newspaper, is officially in the market and serving the needs of its readership and advertising base.”

The beginning staff included an editor, advertising manager, three outside sales staff members and four inside sales staff members. Since this first issue, some 17 years ago, there have been many different faces here inside the Farm News department, except one, Jackie Johnson.

As the above mentioned article read, the introduction said that Jackie had been in sales for 15 years prior to Farm News. Before coming on board Jackie had worked for Iowa Credit in Fort Dodge, and worked in radio advertising sales for several years. Jackie was married and had three children.

The reason I bring this up is because Jackie, our sales manager and my friend is calling it a career and at the ripe age of “whatever”, her favorite word by the way. She is officially retiring and going to enjoy the good life of chasing her husband, Keith, around the golf course, going to every garage sale in a four county area, go to an occasional casino to throw some coins in the penny slots, and spoiling her three granddaughters.

I had the pleasure of meeting Jackie when I came on board a little over 9 years ago. When I joined the team I was not the advertising manager as I am now, I was in sales sitting right next to Jackie. We hit it off from day one and have been producing advertising revenue along with a lot of laughs and memories along the way.

I tend to be somewhat of a sports nut so I have seen many superstars retire long after they should have in the first place and few retire on top. Jackie is one of those superstars who is retiring on top. She produced the highest sales revenue of her career just last year in 2011. I know her well enough to say she could have continued to produce for many more years to come but she chose to go out a winner. Her work ethic, leadership, relationships with her clients, and her high spirit will be greatly missed by all.

Jackie’s sales territory included Webster, Hamilton, Hardin, Carroll, Greene, Boone, Story, Marshall, Dallas and Polk counties and has produced hundreds of thousands of revenue dollars and normally is 40% of our annual revenue. A person like Jackie can never be replaced we can only hope to learn from her example as a leader and as a mentor. She has been a bright light for us over the years and we who have learned from her will carry this light into the future. Her year’s of service is sincerely appreciated and will never be forgotten.

Now that I have given her a just tribute lets have a little fun shall we? I have known Jackie and her family for many years now and for nearly half that time she has talked about retiring. Have you heard the story of the boy that cried wolf? By the time she gave her retirement notice no one, including me, believed her. Although this is a rather sad time for me personally I thought I would throw in a few retirement jokes. • Retirement kills more people than hard work has ever done. • Retirement is wonderful. It’s doing nothing without worrying about getting caught at it. • I enjoy waking up and not having to go to work, so I do it three or four times a day. • Jackie you will realize you are officially retired when: - You and your teeth don’t sleep together! - You try to straighten out the wrinkles in your socks and realize you are not wearing any! - Getting “Lucky” means you remember where you parked the car! - Everything hurts and what doesn’t hurt doesn’t work!

All kidding aside Jackie Johnson has been a great employee of Farm News and the Messenger. She has made countless friendships between co-workers and clients. I know we will continue our friendship long after she walks out the door on Friday, March 30th but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t going to miss seeing her every Monday thru Friday from 8am to 5pm. Have a great retirement and thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you have done for the farm paper you helped build from the ground up and everything you have done for me. We’ll miss you!


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