It’s 6 a.m. on Monday morning the sun isn’t up but she’s busy figuring out the winners of the Lake Mills Leader Football contest, typing up bowling scores and figuring out what will be in her section of the paper for the week. She’s organized, thoughtful and helpful to everyone she works with.
For thirty years Becky Weber has been typing, laying out the paper, working on ads, coordinating the football contest and helping customers at the Lake Mills Leader, among other tasks.
Becky came to Lake Mills with her two young boys David, 7 and Jeffrey 3, to stay with family in 1989. Her mother Marian Coates owned a tax business and worked out of her home on South Main Street.
The young mom, looking for work in accounting, responded to an ad asking, “Can you type?” Prior to her work at the Leader, Becky was the accounts payable manager at Chase Marketing Distribution Center affiliated with Toshiba in Maryland. She started as a front desk clerk and was promoted to file clerk, data entry and then accounts payable. The company sent her to night school. She worked there for seven years.
Her manager at the time told her ‘whenever you have the opportunity to learn something new do it because it will benefit you.’ It’s a philosophy she’s used throughout her career here at the Leader.
She was interviewed by Robin Heine and hired by then publisher Dennis Hawkes. She started at the Leader on Dec. 15, 1989, right before the holidays.
Becky remembers the days when they would lay out the paper using a light table. She says it was like a puzzle to put together each week. She taught herself to make a box using SuperPaint, which at the time was very helpful in their work. She used to drive the paper to the printing plant in Stoughton and fly the papers off the press. It was all hands-on deck to insert and bundle the papers to get them to the post office and out to the stores when they arrived back in Lake Mills.
Over the years Becky has become the constant behind the scenes force at the paper. She has had her hand in news copy, advertising design, display legals, the football contest and more.
Dennis Hawkes sold the paper in 1998 and Becky then worked for Hometown News. She also married Dusty Weber that year.
In 2008 the layout of the paper began being done by computer.
“When I started at the Leader Becky made me feel right at home,” said Sarah Weihert, Leader managing editor. “In the year I’ve known Becky she has become more than a co-worker. I think of her as a friend, who I genuinely look forward to seeing on a daily basis. On the days she uses her considerable amount of accumulated vacation time, I’m always sad she isn’t here to talk to or bounce ideas off of.”
Becky lives in Lake Mills with her husband Dusty and is a proud mother and grandmother, affectionately known as GMA.
“I’m grateful Becky came to the Lake Mills Leader 30 years ago,” Weihert continued. “If you see her when you drop off your football contest entries or just around town make sure to congratulate her. Thirty years at one job is a testament to her character and willingness to go the extra mile and the newspaper industry isn’t always easy to work in. I appreciate everything she does on a daily basis.”
Becky says she enjoys the interaction with the community the most.
“I’ve always referred to the paper as another child,” she said. “There is always something different in the newspaper. Every story and ad are different, you don’t get bored with it. I like the deadlines and the organization of it.”