Question: Who is this Delaney Scalf?

Published 10:22 am Monday, March 28, 2016

This seems to be a common question that I am sure some are asking, so I felt it appropriate to formally introduce myself.
I began my career at the Elizabethton Star five days after I graduated high school, but the journey that led me to the Star began when I was very young.
My neighbor and very good family friend, Bob Bowling, would bring my dad a paper home from work everyday, and I, my brother or one of my sisters would read the paper to him after he would look at the pictures. His favorite sections to read were Sound Off, obituaries and police beats.
After I graduated Elizabethton High School on June 8, 1986, I began applying for jobs. When I came home one day, Bob Bowling asked me if I wanted to work at the Star. He told me to talk to Glen Hodge. I met with Mr. Hodge on Thursday, June 12, and started my journey at the Star the very next day.
When they heard I got the job, my parents gave me some pointers on working. One that I will never forget is that you should always be ready to leave for work an hour early and should plan on being at work at least 15 minutes before time to clock-in because you never know what might happen. When I woke up that Friday morning, got ready for work and went outside to leave, I had a flat tire. I still have not figured out if my dad let the air out to teach me a lesson, or it was just bad luck because it was Friday the 13th.
I spent two and a half years in the pressroom.
I was offered a job at the chair factory and had worked there for 6 months, when Charlie Robinson, then Publisher from the Star gave me a call. He wanted to know if I wanted to come back and run the new insert machine that they had purchased. No one knew how to run it. I took him up on the offer.
I eventually became mailroom supervisor, and after working in the mailroom for about eight years, I felt I could do more for the company. I met with Charlie, and he told me to prove to him that I was willing to work hard. He told me to start helping out in the Circulation Department. I really did not have a lot of nice clothes or ties, so Mr. Harvey came to my rescue. He gave me some clothes and every morning he would check my tie because he was the man that taught me how to tie one.
I spent some time working in the office getting to know our clients and helping to resolve their grievances. Mr. Frank Robinson, owner of the Star took me to get some light covers, and told me he had noticed how hard I was working. He said to go back and tell Charlie that he wanted me to become assistant general manager and to learn from Glen Hodge so I would be prepared to step in when he retired.
I was very excited about the opportunity, but that training was quickly put on hold. Both camera room employees accepted jobs elsewhere and were leaving the Star. Suzanne Whitehead met me on Saturday to teach me how to do the job. About a year later, when we finally had stability in the camera room, I had to fill in for proofreading and building the paper. By this time Glen had become very ill and was not able to come back to work. We lost him soon after that. He was one of the best in the business, and I had missed an opportunity to learn all I could from him. The staff in the composing department took me under their wing and helped me learn more about the job. They kept me in line — especially Phyllis Davis and Judy Richardson.
I taught myself how to use a computer and the software that we had just purchased. We completely went away from paste up and put new desks and computers in the composing department. I learned to build advertisements and grocery ads, direct mail coupons, and a bit about photography. I even sold coupons for the Advertising Department.
Our commercial printing was starting to increase, so most of my focus was put into growing that side of our business. By the end of 2003, we had outgrown our insert machine, and Charlie signed a contract to install one that could handle more inserts along with some other equipment to modernize our pressroom.
I will never forget the year 2004. In January, my mom was diagnosed with cancer; on June 5th, I married the love of my life; and on July 7, we lost Star Publisher Charlie Robinson. He was more than a boss to me; he was a friend. Mr. Frank came to me and said, “Charlie is gone. It is your job to get things done, and it mine to kick you in the ‘you know what’ when you don’t.”
We had a lot of work to do to get that insert machine installed that September under my supervision. My mother passed away on August 14 of that same year. We installed the new equipment in September. Mr. Robinson had to come out of retirement to run the Star.
It was my chance to learn from the best in the business. He spent some time in my department and pointed out that our billing process for our commercial printing needed to be changed. With the help of Nathan Odell, I learned how to use Microsoft Excel and changed our steps in billing. In 2006, our printing was continuing to grow so we had to look at adding a second press.
This gave me the opportunity to meet Mr. Jim Boone, of Boone Newspapers, Inc. Mr. Robinson had told me of Mr. Boone and he wanted me to get his input on the press addition and the layout of our production area. Over the years, Mr. Boone would come and visit with Mr. Robinson and tour our building.
Mr. Robinson passed away March 7, 2011, on my birthday. The last words he said to me were that he loved me and that he was proud of me. He always told me that we learned from the school of hard knocks, and that is why we would be good at what we do. I have been blessed to work with and for so many great people.
The opportunity to manage the Elizabethton Star has been a goal of mine for a very long time. I hope you can see my journey to where I am right now has not been easy, but through this journey I have learned that hard work and dedication will pay off. Anyone that knows me knows what this paper means to me and my family.
I am very excited to get the opportunity to make a difference. This year will mark 30 years with the newspaper, and I first want to thank God for all the blessings that he has given me, the Robinson family, Marvin Harris for all that he has taught me about the printing business, and past and present employees for everything they have done for me. I also thank Mr. Boone for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to live my dream.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox