In March of 2000, I was in San Antonio covering a big industry meeting when my back gave out. I had had back trouble before, but never anything like this. I was walking out of a crowded ballroom when I collapsed in pain. I usually cover these events alone, but Jackie Hilgert happened to make this trip with me. She was in the photographers’ bay when she saw me on the floor, unable to get up. She rushed over to help.
Within about an hour, she had helped me back to my hotel room, where I laid flat on my back for the next two days. Jackie, who had made the trip to take pictures, had to take over and cover the meeting. While she worked, I recovered and by the time the meeting was over, I was at least mobile enough to get to the airport and onto the airplane. Jackie had to carry all my bags and arrange for a wheelchair to push me around at the airport.
I recall that incident because a 12-year era came to a close yesterday when Jackie put in her last day at NFR Communications. She joined the company in spring of 1996 as production manager when magazines were put together with a waxer and an X-Acto knife. She joined the company before we were using digital cameras, Photoshop or even email. She helped me put together more than 300 magazines. Over that time, she did far more than production work. She evolved into a very fine reporter, writer and editor. In fact, her May 15 cover story on volatility in the commodities market is as good as anything you will read in the Wall Street Journal or New York Times.
I will miss working with Jackie on a daily basis, but there is more to it than just the work. Jackie really cared about the company, her colleagues and me. Anyone would be very fortunate to get a chance to work with someone like that for a while, let alone for 12 years.
Jackie is spinning off her own company, called Traditions Communications. Check it out at www.historiesinthemaking.com. I wish her great fortune. I am grateful that we will have the opportunity to collaborate on some projects and I look forward to making the most of our new working arrangement. Time brings change and I suppose I would be foolish to think 12 or more years could go by without some big changes.
Best wishes, Jackie, and know that the doors of NFR Communications will always be open to you.
tMichaelB is the web site for Tom Bengtson, who writes about business, religion, family and politics.
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