Birthdays for Saturday, Jan. 31

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to three fine visual journalists…


Robb Paulson is a proposal coordinator for URS Corp. in Abingdon, Md. A 1994 graduate of Florida State University, Robb worked at the Democrat of Tallahassee, Fla., the Montgomery Journal of Rockville, Md., the Carroll County Times of Westminster, Md., the Herald of Rutland, Vt., and the Republican-American of Waterbury, Conn., before becoming design editor for the Cecil Whig of Elkton, Md. Robb joined URS in 2008. Robb turns 46 today.


Charmel Peters is advertising operations manager for the Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, Va. She and I went through Landmark Communications orientation together in November 2003. Charmel turns 44 today.


Terry Volpp is a retired visual journalist. A graduate of Indiana Central College, Terry spent seven years on the staff of the president of Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana. He then spent a year as a U.S. customs officer before joining the Chicago Tribune in 1977. He spent 24 years there, much of them as an infographics coordinator. He retired in 2001. Terry turns 71 today.

Charmel, Robb and Terry share a birthday with actors Justin Randall Timberlake, Amelia Fiona J. “Minnie” Driver, Kelly Lynch, Robert Michael “Bobby” Moynihan Jr., Kerry Washington, Suzanne Pleshette, James Grover Franciscus, Tallulah Brockman Bankhead, Edward Israel Iskowitz (better known as Eddie Cantor), Jean Marilyn Simmons and Carol Elaine Channing; musicians John Joseph Lydon (better known as Johnny Rotten), Terry Alan Kath (of Chicago) and Harry Wayne Casey (better known as K.C. of K.C. and the Sunshine Band); sports greats Lynn Nolan Ryan Jr., Ernest “Ernie” Banks, Jack Roosevelt “Jackie” Robinson (all three baseball), Donald Montgomery “Don” Hutson, Mario Jerrel Williams and Vernon Leonard Davis (all three football); politician Richard Andrew Gephardt; authors Norman Kingsley Mailer and Zane Grey and comic book writer Grant Morrison.

In addition, today is Street Children Day, National Seed Swap Day, Inspire Your Heart with Art Day and Appreciate Your Social Security Check Day. Seriously.

Have a wonderful birthday, you three! Best wishes!

Birthdays for Friday, Jan. 30

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to seven excellent visual journalists…


Katie Benzel is publications coordinator for HDR Inc. of Colorado Springs, an architectural and engineering firm. A 2006 graduate of the University of North Carolina, Katie served as copy desk chief of the student paper there, the Daily Tar Heel. She spent three years as a copy editor and page designer for the Colorado Springs Gazette before leaving newspapers in 2009. Find her Twitter feed here.


Bradley J. Fikes is a biotechnology reporter for U-T San Diego. A graduate of San Diego State University, he’s covered that industry for a quarter century. He previously worked at the North County Times of Escondido. Find Bradley’s story archive here and his Twitter feed here.


Kris Goodfellow is senior vice-president of operations for Voyager, a company that ties “spatial data” to a web-style search. She’s based in Los Angeles. A 1992 graduate of Northwestern University, Kris spent three years as a graphics reporter for the Chicago Tribune before moving to the New York Times as a graphics editor in 1995. She also taught a class in graphics reporting and editing at Columbia University. In 1999, she became director of graphics for the Associated Press and, two years later, moved to ESRI to become information design manager and product manager and playing a key role in the development of what became MapStudio. She spent time as a freelance graphics editor for National Geographic and then served as vice president of product management for before joining the Realtors Property Resource of Los Angeles in 2009 as vice president of product management. She moved to Voyager in 2013. Find her Twitter feed here.


Brian Immel is a web developer for BigDoor Media in Seattle, Wash. A 2007 graduate of Washington State University, Brian created the College Front Page web site and worked as a freelance photographer and then as a multimedia producer for the Spokesman-Review of Spokane. He spent two years working at Signature Genomics Laboratories. He joined BigDoor in 2010. Brian also formed his own multimedia development firm, White Nimbus, six years ago. Find his web site here and his Twitter feed here.


Richard Johnson is senior graphics editor of the Washington Post. A 1989 graduate of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee, Scotland, Richard was an artist at the Detroit Free Press. He was named graphics editor of the Globe and Mail of Toronto in 2005. He moved to the same position at the Toronto National Post in 2007 and then left newspapers for nearly two years as an Information Management Officer at the United Nations. He returned to the National Post in 2010 and then to the Washington Post in October 2013.


In addition, Richard has embedded with military units a number of times around the world as a battlefield artist. Twenty of Richard’s sketches now reside in the Smithsonian. The Detroit Free Press still sells a collection from his first trip to Iraq in 2007.


Find his web site here and his Twitter feed here.


David Sheets is public relations and communications manager for Perficient, a technology and management consulting firm. A 1987 graduate of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, David worked as a reporter in Vero Beach, Fort Pierce, Pensacola, Bradenton, Tallahassee and Sarasota in Florida before moving to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 1998 as a gaming editor and a technology columnist. He was promoted to sports content editor in 2005. David left the paper in 2012. Since then, he’s freelanced, taught as an adjunct and served as a regional director for the Society of Professional Journalists. He served as editor-in-chief of Insight Into Diversity, a monthly magazine that focuses on improving diversity in the workforce. He started work for Perficient earlier this month. Find his blog here and his Twitter feed here.


Hunter Thompson is a user interface designer for Razorfish and for the Rocky Mountain Student Media Corp. of Colorado. He started out as a staff photographer for the student paper at Colorado State University, the Rocky Mountain Collegian. He moved up to chief photographer, and then photo editor and, finally, visual managing editor. He graduated last year. He served an internship with Rally Software of Boulder and also worked as a sound engineer for the university arts center. Even as a high schooler, Hunter professionally shot portraits and weddings. Find his web site here and his blog here. Hunter turns 23 today.

Hunter, Brian, Katie, Bradley, David, Kris and Richard share a birthday with actors Christian Charles Philip Bale, Adam Mirarovich, Brett Anderson (better known as Brett Butler), Wilmer Eduardo Valderrama, Charles Stanley Dutton, Vanessa Redgrave and Eugene Allen “Gene” Hackman; musicians Philip David Charles “Phil” Collins, Martyn Jerel Buchwald (better known as Marty Balin of Jefferson Airplane), Steve Bartek (of Oingo Boingo) and Scott Ramon Seguro Mescudi (better known as Kid Cudi); comedian Thomas Richard “Dick” Martin; politicians Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Richard Bruce “Dick” Cheney; sports greats William Payne Stewart (golf), David Allen “Davey” Johnson (baseball manager) and Tom Izzo (basketball coach); chess champion Boris Vasilievich Spassky and TV business journalist Louis Richard Rukeyser.

In addition, today is National Preschool Fitness Day, Fun at Work Day and Inane Answering Message Day. Seriously.

Have a terrific birthday, folks! Best wishes!

Birthdays for Thursday, Jan. 29

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to five wonderful visual journalists…


Sarah Cox is a web designer and developer for Northrop Grumman in Atlanta, Ga. A 1985 graduate of Oklahoma State University, Sara spent two years as an assistant news editor for the Sun-News of Las Cruces, N.M. and then two more as a copy editor and designer for the Caller-Times of Corpus Christi, Texas. In 1990, she moved to the Tribune-Herald of Waco, Texas, as a features designer and copy editor and spent 15 years there before becoming a features designer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2005. She took web design classes at Kennesaw State University and spent two years as a mobile web designer for AT&T before moving to her current position in 2012. Find her portfolios here and here.


Elizabeth Jackson is a senior designer for the Tribune-Review in Pittsburgh. A 2002 graduate of Ohio University, Elizabeth spent a year-and-a-half as a news artist for the Tribune-Review before leaping to the Cincinnati Enquirer in 2003. She returned to Pittsburgh a year later. In addition, she works with Mary Kay cosmetics. Elizabeth turns 36 today.


Luke Knox is an infographics artist for the Boston Globe. A 2002 graduate of UNC-Asheville, Luke spent two years with the Pensacola News Journal in Florida and then a year-and-a-half at the Albuquerque Journal before joining the Arizona Republic in Phoenix in 2005. He moved to Boston in 2010 as a sports design supervisor. He moved to graphics in 2013. Find his portfolio here and his Twitter feed here. Luke turns 35 today.


Bill Peschel is an author and book reviewer based in Hershey, Pa. A 1982 graduate of the University of North Carolina, Bill worked at small- and medium-sized newspapers, including 11 years at the Herald of Rock Hill, S.C. He joined the Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa., in 2000 and spent 12 years there as a copy editor and page designer until the paper downsized a while back.

Bill’s first book — Writers Gone Wild: The Feuds Frolics and Follies of Literature’s Great Adventurers, Drunkards, Lovers, Iconclasts and Misanthropes – was published in 2010. His second book — The Complete, Annotated Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers — came out in 2011.


He published two more in 2013 — both were annotated versions of Agatha Christie‘s classic murder mysteries (here and here).


Since then, he published three more — a collection of early parodies of Sherlock Holmes from the legendary British humor magazine Punch, an annotated look at writings about a famous 160-year-old murder case and an original Kindle novel featuring the unlikely teamup of Sherlock Holmes and Mark Twain.


And that’s assuming I haven’t missed any.

Read my Q&A with him here. Find Bill’s web site here and his blog here. Find his Twitter feed here. Bill turns 55 today.


Kiah Staley is a freelance designer in Cheyenne, Wyo. A 2002 graduate of the University of Wyoming, Kiah spent two years as a copy editor for Cheyenne’s Tribune Eagle and then three years as a news artist and designer. She was promoted to assistant managing editor for presentation as part of the paper’s huge redesign five years ago. She “retired” in 2010, had a baby, served a few months as director of social media for and then returned to the Tribune Eagle on a freelance basis to design features pages. Find her Twitter feed here. Kiah turns 35 today.

Luke, Kiah, Sarah, Elizabeth and Bill share a birthday with actors Heather Joan Graham, Sara Rebecca Abeles (better known as Sara Gilbert), Thomas William “Tom” Selleck, Ann Jura Nauseda (better known as Ann Jillian), Marc Singer, Jacob Lincoln Freund (better known as John Forsythe), Victor John Mature, Andrew Keegan Heying, Katharine Juliet Ross and William Claude Dukenfield (better known as W.C. Fields); musicians Adam Mitchel Lambert, Jon Gordon Langseth Jr. (better known as Jonny Lang) and Teresa Teng; sports greats Gregory Efthimios Louganis (diving) and Dominik Hašek (hockey); politicians Paul Davis Ryan and William McKinley Jr.; industrialist John Davidson Rockefeller Jr., comic book creator Brian Wood and media magnate Orpah Gail “Oprah” Winfrey.

In addition, today is Curmudgeons Day, Freethinkers Day, National Puzzle Day, Seeing Eye Dog Day and Thomas Paine Day. Seriously.

Have an excellent birthday, all! Best wishes!

Birthdays for Wednesday, Jan. 28

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to five fine, fine folks…


Mohammed Alabri is a multimedia specialist for the Public Authority for Radio and Television in Muscat, Oman. A 2012 graduate of the Nizwa College of Applied Science, Mohammed interned at the Oman Establishment for Press, Publication and Advertising and with Brand One Media and Public Relations. Find Mohammed’s Twitter feed here.


Randy Foster is managing editor of the Sun Journal of New Bern, N.C. A 1982 graduate of Cal State Northridge, Randy spent seven years as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps and then worked as a private investigator and an insurance adjuster before entering journalism as a reporter for the Daily Journal of Ukiah, Calif. He worked for a number of small papers in California and New Mexico before becoming news editor of the Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer in 2001. He made a go of running a small independent paper in Fayetteville and doing some consulting before taking command in New Bern in 2009. Find his Twitter feed here. Randy turns 55 today.


Katie O’Leary is a designer for Jacqueline Wells Photography and Design of Cleveland, Ohio. A 2013 graduate of Ohio University in Athens, she worked as a page-one designer for the student paper there, the Post. Katie served internships at WYEP-FM in Pittsburgh, the Chautauquan Daily in New York and with UQ marketing, a peer-to-peer marketing group. She moved into her current position in 2013. Find her web site here and her Twitter feed here. Katie turns 24 today.


Jeanette Garcia Polasky is a speechwriter and communications specialist for the Baltimore County government in Towson, Md. A 2003 graduate of Duquesne University, Jeanette worked for the Evening Review of East Liverpool, Ohio, and as a correspondence analyst for the city of Baltimore. She earned a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University in 2008 before becoming deputy director of correspondence and constituent services for the city of Baltimore mayor’s office. She also serves as an executive production coordinator for Clearpath Entertainment and is associate editor of Shockwave magazine. Find her web site here and her Twitter feed here.


Eva Finley is a retired postmaster for the U.S. Postal Service. She worked the last few months of her career out of the same post office where she started out as a rural lettercarrier back in the early 1980s in Bradley, S.C. Along the way, she was postmaster in a number of towns in Texas and South Carolina, edited the state postmasters’ newsletters for both states and finally served as editor of the national newsletter for the National Association of Postmasters –a newsletter that, really, was more of a slick magazine.


Eva Jane is also my mother. Surely you can see the resemblance in that picture, taken in 2010 when she hired me to speak to a gathering of state postmaster newsletter editors in Washington, D.C.

Here’s a funny story about my Mom: She was on her way to Houston when she found out I was interviewing for a job here in Victoria. She hadn’t seen me in a couple of years — since I had moved to the West coast — so you can probably guess what she did.


I have the only mom in the world who’d crash a job interview.

Mom is something like 39 years old today. Which doesn’t explain how she has a 52-year-old son. But, whatever…

Katie, Jeanette, Mohammed, Randy and Mom share a birthday with actors Elijah Jordan Wood, Barbara Klein (better known as Barbi Benton) and Alphonso Joseph D’Abruzzo (better known as Alan Alda); musicians Sarah Ann McLachlan, Arthur Rubinstein, William Leonard Roberts II (better known as Rock Ro$$), Joseph Anthony “Joey” Fatone Jr. (of ‘N Synch) and Nicholas Gene “Nick” Carter (of the Backstreet Boys); sports greats Jessica Ennis (track and field), Daunte Rachard Culpepper (football), Andre Tyler Iguodala (basketball), Jermaine Trevell Dye and Magglio José Ordóñez Delgado (both baseball); authors Susan Sontag and Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (who normally went only by her last name); painter Paul Jackson Pollock; French leader Nicholas Paul Stéphane Sarközy de Nagy-Bocsa and comedian-turned-TV reporter Maurice Alberto “Mo” Rocca.

In addition, today is Data Privacy Day, National Kazoo Day and Thank a Plug In Developer Day. Seriously.

Have a wonderful birthday, y’all! Best wishes!

Birthdays for Tuesday, Jan. 27

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to a pair of wonderful visual journalists…


Evelyn Lau is a features web editor for the National of Abu Dhabi. A 2010 graduate of the University of Iowa, Evelyn worked as a sports talk show host for the campus radio station and assistant sports editor for the student newspaper. She served an internship with Athlete Interactive, where she created content to go on personal web sites of professional athletes. After graduation, she worked a while as a substitute teacher before starting work in 2011 for the Boston Herald. She moved to Abu Dhabi a year ago. Find her Twitter feed here. Evelyn turns 27 today.


Denise Reagan is director of communications for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Jacksonville, Fla. A 1990 graduate of the University of Florida, Denise spent four-and-a-half years as a designer for the News-Sentinel of Fort Wayne, Ind., before moving to the Detroit Free Press as a features designer. In 1996, she became art director of the Friday entertainment section of the Star Tribune in Minneapolis. She moved to the Morning News of Savannah, Ga., to become planning editor in 2002 and then again to the Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., as director of news design in 2004. She moved to Jacksonville in 2006 to become assistant managing editor for visuals at the Florida Times Union. She was named editor of Folio Weekly, an alt-weekly tabloid newspaper in Jacksonville, in 2012. Denise left newspapers in 2013. In addition, she teaches news design on an adjunct basis for her alma mater. She spent five years directing Quickcourse seminars for the Society for News Design and spent three years as president of the SND Foundation. Find her Twitter feed here.

Evelyn and Denise share a birthday with actors Donna Belle Mullenger (better known as Donna Reed), Bridget Jane Fonda (not to be confused with her sister Jane Fonda), Miriam Spickler (better known as Mimi Rogers), James Cromwell, Merle Johnson Jr. (better known as Troy Donahue) and Patton Oswalt; musicians Nicholas Berkeley “Nick” Mason (of Pink Floyd), Jerome David Kern, Lyle Russell Cedric “Skitch” Henderson and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; dancer Mikhail Nikolaevich Baryshnikov; sports greats Marat Mubinovich Safin (tennis), Anthony Cris Collinsworth, William Arthur “Billy White Shoes” Johnson, John Matthew “Matt” Stover (all three football), Arthur Joseph “Art” Rooney (NFL team owner) and Gerald Hatten “Jerry” Buss (NBA team owner); writer Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (better known as Lewis Carroll); chief justice of the supreme court John Glover Roberts Jr.; TV host Keith Theodore Olbermann and comic book artists Peter Alan Laird and Frank Miller.

In addition, today is Holocaust Memorial Day, National Geographic Day, Viet Nam Peace Day, Auschwitz Liberation Day and Thomas Crapper Day. Seriously.

Have a terrific birthday, folks! Best wishes!