Smart, invaluable, computer whiz, helper, she will be missed. Those are the words that will follow IT manager Dorine Peterson out the door today as she retires after 31 years, 8 months and 27 days with the Creston News Advertiser.
The ever-changing nature of her job was enjoyable, Peterson said.
“There was great diversity in what I did,” she said. “Nothing was ever the same.”
She will not miss the stress, however, saying that the information technology portion of her job could be quite stressful when things went wrong and everyone was counting on her to fix it.
Peterson started out as an ad designer for the CNA. She learned her IT skills on the job, first by paying attention when Mike Simpson at the Computer Tree would fix the paper’s computers.
“He let me go back and see what he was doing and would show me things so that kind of started me tinkering around with computers,” Peterson said.
Then in the ‘90s as computers became more and more an integral part of the newspaper business, the CNA created an IT position and asked her to fill it. Corporate IT workers came to Creston to train her in networking, computers, telephone systems and more. However, IT is not a job where you can rest on what you have already learned, and so, she continued to learn as new technology came along.
“Anything you ever wanted taken care of as far as computers or IT things, she either knew and fixed it or would find out and fix it,” Rich Paulsen, publisher of the CNA said.
Paulsen has worked with Peterson for all of his 20 years at the paper. He said he has appreciated her willingness to help through the years.
Peterson’s job did not stop with IT. She also laid out the paper each day, arranging the pages, placing ads provided by the advertising department, and generally getting it ready for the editorial department to add the news. Print jobs, both outside and inside the company, were also Peterson’s responsibility.
Sandy Allison has taken over much of Peterson’s job in the last few months, doing layout and printing jobs. IT will now be covered through the company’s HelpDesk.
Allison spoke of how much Peterson has taught her about InDesign, Photoshop, Roxen, and other programs she now uses daily.
“She literally knows everything,” Allison said.
She also commented on Peterson’s magic with computers.
“She would walk by the computer and it starts working,” Allison said with a laugh. “They’re scared of her.”
Allison admits that she was also a little afraid of Peterson at the beginning.
“She always used to scare me because she was so smart,” Allison said. “I was intimidated by her.”
Senior feature writer Larry Peterson has worked with Dorine Peterson for all of her 31 years at the CNA.
“I can’t imagine working here without her,” he said. “If there was ever an issue with our network or our computer, the email system, what ever it was, that’s who you would consult. Many times with our erratic sports schedule, that involved me contacting her at really odd hours. She was always helpful walking me through whatever had to be done.”
Larry Peterson also commented on the many jobs Dorine Peterson did that others never saw.
“She did so many things people didn’t notice.” he said. “If we had a big change going on ... not many people are in here on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, but in sports sometimes you are just by the nature of that business ... and Dorine would be in here. I can’t count the number of Sundays she was here.”
“I just hope I’m leaving the place where people won’t struggle with no IT person,” she said. “That’s probably my biggest worry.”
Peterson has been working to set up systems so that the CNA will not have such a difficult time without a local IT person, creating backups for all of the major components and leaving a list of people who can be the “hands and feet” of the remote IT department. She said the requirements for those people were that they could remain calm and follow directions.
Traveling across the U.S. to new places and revisiting favorite sites will occupy Peterson in her retirement. Her husband Alan retired last year.
“We want to travel, and I can,” she said with a chuckle when asked why she was retiring.
Yellowstone is a favorite destination for them. She also intends to take a trip to Alaska and the north east portion of the U.S. Peterson is looking forward to being able to visit her children and grandchildren, who are in California and Missouri, more often.
Peterson has developed deep friendships with some of her coworkers. One of those is Teresa Pendegraft, with whom she has gone to church, Bible studies, and concerts.
“She is simply not replaceable as a friend and coworker,” Pendegraft said. “I’m grateful our paths crossed.”