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Operational Excellence
Dan Auxter
Zone Manager
Akron Beacon Journal

Dan Auxter was 10 when he began his career with the Akron Beacon Journal 43 years ago as a paperboy. He has spent all of that time in circulation.

Today, as a zone manager, he’s responsible for a vast rural area comprising nearly two of the five counties served by the paper. Delivery in such areas can be challenging with combinations of motor routes, single-copy outlets and bulk drops. But that’s no problem for Auxter’s team. “Dan’s zone historically presents us with the best customer-service statistics,” said Home Delivery Manager Dan Lias.

“I’ve had excellent mentors,” Auxter said. “Initially it was my parents.”

He recalls the terrible day in November 1963 when President Kennedy was shot. “I arrived home from school, my newspapers were there to be delivered and my mom was at the kitchen table crying,” he said. “I delivered the papers, and when the night final edition came out my dad helped me redeliver my whole route. I got my work ethic from them.”

Last winter, a blizzard left one of the distribution centers without power. Auxter was already supplying electricity to the building with his own generator by the time Lias put out the call for all hands on deck. “He steps up to the plate every time,” Lias said. “I never have to ask him.”

Auxter is a role model who believes in leading by example. “At my level, you have to be out there,” he said. “You don’t ever rise above that. This is the operation within a newspaper that is the nitty-gritty, hands-on operation. I’m not above delivering a newspaper or anything else that needs to be done.”

He expects his 90 carriers and four district managers to embrace that same philosophy. Auxter knows the job is challenging, so he shows his appreciation in ways big and small – like ordering pizza for employees, or giving carrier moms a corsage and gift certificate on Mother’s Day.

He’s a champion for his carriers. When a subscriber complained that a carrier had damaged her screen door with an errant toss of the Sunday paper, Auxter replaced it without saying a word to the carrier. “Charging a carrier for something like that takes away two weeks of their profits,” he said. “You can’t punish the carrier.”

That compassion extends to the community as well. Auxter collects food for the needy and mentors a high-school Junior Achievement program that has won national acclaim. “Dan is a fine employee, a great family man and a good citizen.” Lias said. “And he’s able to weave it all into his role as a zone manager.”

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