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December 13, 2007 EDITION
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VP celebrates 25 years at McFarland

Rhonda Herman on her 25th anniversary at McFarland. Photo submitted

Rhonda Herman, Executive Vice President of McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, marked her 25th anniversary at the local publishing company Dec. 1. The Jefferson-based reference and scholarly monograph house was founded in Ashe County in 1979.

Herman, an Appalachian State University graduate, joined the company in 1982 as business manager. She was promoted to vice president in 1991 and, in 2004, to executive vice president.

McFarland employees threw her a party Nov. 29 and presented her with a golden gift: the attentions of local men’s barbershop quartet the New River Chordsmen and a scrapbook containing snapshots, some silly, some semi-serious, from her 25 years. Snacks, drinks, and humorous reminiscences followed.

“Rhonda has done just about every job there is in the company, since the beginning—and in fact she did some accounting work for us even before becoming an employee, so it’s really about a 27 or 28 year association!” McFarland president Robert Franklin said. “Best way to train an executive is to have them do everything, and, boy, did she! Exciting times, these past decades.”

Herman is noted for having brought the company into the electronic age, eventually affecting every aspect of operations. More recently she set up the company’s several scholarly journals as digital offerings accessible through the web and is working on the production of electronic editions of McFarland reference books. Her calm, wise advice and counseling of McFarland employees is another of her tremendous contributions to the company’s success, company officials said.

“I have been very fortunate,” said Herman. “At a time when Ashe County did not have a lot of great opportunities for a college-educated female looking to ‘move up’ in an organization, I took a chance with this then little-known publishing operation that employed four people. I could not have imagined what lay ahead. My job has taken me to every major U.S. city and a few in Europe. And the book publishing industry has undergone such change in the last 25 years that my job has never been the same from year to year.”

Herman said her efforts with authors have probably brought her the most pleasure.

“I have had dealings with famous people, including the creator of Gilligan’s Island, a director for Bonanza and a producer for Bay Watch,” she said. “I have had wonderful relationships such as one with an Ashe County-born former World War II POW who became a Greensboro physician and wrote one of our finest war memoirs. I still look forward to going to work every day.”

McFarland publishes about 320 new titles a year and sells books worldwide, “including Iraq, Iran and North Korea,” Franklin is fond of saying. “Just doing our part to make Jefferson, North Carolina, world famous.”

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