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Hampton native begins service as press assistant

Leah Poland, Mid-America Publishing’s newest printing press assistant, can’t help but smile when she sees one of the company’s finished products on newsstands and in stores.

“It’s kind of cool seeing a paper and being like, ‘I probably touched that and I’m one of the reasons that’s there,’” she said, with a laugh.

Poland, a Hampton native, recently joined Mid-America Publishing as a press assistant to aid in the printing of the company’s papers and publications. Poland said one of the main aspects of her position is to act as a “jogger,” which sees her organize papers and make the finished products presentable. Between press runs, she’ll help clean ink out of the machine, change out printing plates and complete other tasks as requested by the press operator.

Those various duties, she said, have allowed her to become familiar with the ins-and-outs of the press’s functions.

“It’s been awesome to see everything,” she said. “I’m super excited to learn more.”

Poland said that while she was unfamiliar with the printing press before she came to Mid-America Publishing, it has allowed her to use some of the lessons she learned while obtaining her C&C Tool and Die engineering degree.

“There’s a lot of the mathematical side of it and seeing how the flow of the paper goes to make sure it’s going right,” she said, “and just being observant. A lot of that goes with being a C&C operator.”

Poland currently lives in Hampton with her 19-month-old child. Prior to her joining Mid-America Publishing, she was working as a server at Willie’s Sports Bar in Hampton.

She said she is thrilled to be in a position where she can use her degree and knowledge of mechanical operation while working for a company that has remained a prominent presence in her hometown.

“It’s really cool,” she said. “It shows that this company is here for a long time and loves to support Hampton.”