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Ennis Daily News

‘Leadership’ a valuable experience

Ennis is my third stop in my publishing career.
The first, Farmerville, La., was in a town of 3,500 with a circulation of 4,100 — talk about penetrating the households of the community. We actually served a parish of 20,000 and were pretty much the only game in town. Everyone knew who we were, respected us and some even liked us.

After three years there, I spent two in Hattiesburg, Miss., where I tried my hand at two weeklies, a shopper and a monthly magazine.
Hattiesburg was a town of around 55,000 with a metro-draw of around 100,000. There, we constantly battled an identity problem, as you can imagine. We were Hattiesburg Publishing, Inc. and put out so many products even our own staff had difficulty getting it straight.
But both places were similar. Despite the vast population difference and the difference in the status of the newspapers, it took about 18 months before the people really started to warm up to me. That left 18 months in Farmerville to enjoy my welcomed status and six months in Hattiesburg for the same. That coincided with better financial results toward the end of each reign.
Here in Ennis, it’s totally different. This town welcomed my family and me from Day One. It’s been time consuming, but I’ve met more people in my seven months here than I did in my 18-month effort in both of my previous stops.
More importantly, I know more about the community than I ever learned about my previous destinations. Part of that is my attention span for Ennis is greater. This is where I plan to raise my children, my wife loves it and the Ennis Daily News is an ideal fit for me.
But the biggest difference has been the efforts of the Ennis Chamber of Commerce working actively to get me acclimated to the town. Jeannette Patak, president of the local chamber, met me within my first week here and quickly encouraged me to involve myself in Leadership Ennis. This once a month program incorporates all of the aspects of being a leader in Ennis in one class. We learn about our unique educational opportunities, tourism, state and local government and our industrial achievements. Other lessons are on tap for the remainder of the year. Having taken part with my classmates since September, I can’t imagine a better use of my time.
Getting to know other people here in Ennis, the way Texas government operates and how important industry is key to the area is essential for all of us. Learning about the aspects of the town generally comes quicker to someone in the news business but this class has raised that curve even more. The program has certainly helped me become a better publisher and community member, and hopefully you will see that in an improved product in the coming months and years.
Some of my classmates are long-term Ennis residents and are learning things they never heard of or didn’t remember about their hometown.
My classmates include Peggy Rush, with Xerox; Kimberly King, with the Chamber; Annette Holden, with CVS; Paul Hernandez, with Oncor Electric Delivery; Brad Mabry, with Ennis Regional Medical Center; Sharon Kudrna, with Ennis State Bank; and Matt Kronbach, with JTEKT. Dolores McKibben with Boze-Mitchell McKibben Funeral Home is our liaison along with Jeannette. This wide range of classmates provides each of us with different perspectives while discussing the nuances of Ennis. We have a very unique town with unique individuals leading it.
Throughout the year we’ve had several prominent locals take part in guiding the class and to avoid missing someone, I won’t attempt to announce those names.
In the coming months we have numerous responsibilities, including a scholarship decision to stew over.
Should the chamber decide to continue this vital program in the future, I’d encourage anyone who hasn’t been through it to sign up. Even those who’ve lived here for 20 years or their entire lives would find a great benefit in taking part.
I look forward to learning even more and becoming a better Ennissite in the near future.

Tre Bischof enjoys driving the Leadership Ennis group to Austin provided Mayor Russell Thomas is forthright and honest about all the best pit stops on the three-hour trek down I-35. You can reach him at tre@ennisdailynews.com.

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Posted by on Feb 28 2010. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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