Press Drive p.64

By: Mark Fitzgerald EVEN AT A time when papers recruit from the graduating classes of RIT or by toting up the postgraduate credentials of experienced candidates, newspaper production remains a career where real-life Horatio Algers still flourish.
John M. Disera, the new 46-year-old director of production at the $60 million Fox Valley Press production facility, is a good example. Located in the far western Chicago suburb of Plainfield, Ill., Fox Valley is the printing facility for the dailies and weeklies published by Copley Press Inc.'s Copley Chicago Newspapers.
In January, Disera succeeded Andy Kozak, his mentor and a 26-year veteran of Copley Chicago Newspapers, who retired.
It was a notable achievement for a man who started at Copley's Herald-News in Joliet as a mailroom truck driver in 1968.
"That was my first full-time job," Disera recalled the other day in an interview at the Fox Valley plant. "In fact, I didn't even have a [truck-driving] license yet. I took my truck-driving license test in a Herald-News truck."
Working while attending college full time, Disera was promoted to greater responsibilities in the circulation and dispatch department.
Soon after he earned his degree, Disera was confronted with a career choice that was straight out of a Robert Frost poem.
"There were two full-time job openings. One was in advertising sales and the other was in something called 'engraving,'" Disera said.
"Well, I didn't know if ? with my age and just out of school ? I would have the credibility as a salesperson. So I chose engraving," he added.
While working as a technician in the camera and plate department, Disera also began an extensive training program. He attended numerous schools and seminars.
"I went all over the country," he said. "I attended all the seminars and training programs: GATF, the old ANPA, Poynter Institute."
Disera became the camera/plate department manager in 1982 in the Herald-News' new production facility.
And when ground was broken on the Fox Valley Press facility in 1991, Disera was named quality assurance manager.
In addition to those responsibilities, the new plant construction afforded him the opportunity to become involved in writing specifications for new equipment.
Disera was appointed assistant production manager in 1993. The former truck driver turned production chief is a staunch supporter of training. He serves on the advisory board of the College of DuPage (County, Ill.) to assist in the development of its graphic arts curriculum. And he is the current vice president of the Great Lakes MidStates Newspaper Conference.
?("In fact, I didn't even have a [truck-driving] license yet. I took my truck-driving license test in a Herald-News truck.") [Caption]
?(John Disera) [Caption]

?( E&P Web Site:
?(copyaright: Editor & Publisher June 21, 1997)


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