PETER Hammond retires as general manager of The Wimmera Mail-Times today.
In his 19 years at the Mail-Times, Mr Hammond advanced through the ranks, starting as an advertising consultant on August 2, 1993, under general manager Barry Bellman.
Mr Hammond soon became assistant advertising manager and replaced advertising manager Greg Hamilton in 1999.
"About four or five months after that Barry Bellman resigned and I was asked to take on the role, so I thought I would give it a try,'' he said.
"I was still learning the newspaper game.''
Mr Hammond's previous experience at K-Mart for 15 years had given him a good grounding with sales and budgets.
"But the production and editing I just learnt as a I went along,'' he said.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed my 19 years at the Mail-Times, it's been brilliant.
"I wish I had my time over and I would have got involved with newspapers from the start of my working life.''
Mr Hammond has seen many changes in the newspaper industry spanning nearly 20 years, including change in ownership from International News Limited, Rural Press and now Fairfax.
"The team of people from day one through to the current day don't feel like they work for Fairfax, they work for the Mail-Times,'' he said.
"They are very proud of their paper and so they should be because it is one of Australia's best tri-weekly papers.
"It's been a fantastic place to work. Yes, we've had a lot of production go and editor's and journalists come and go, but the people are brilliant, and are like a second family.''
Mr Hammond also thanked people across the region for their support.
"Businesses in the Wimmera and Wimmera people should also be very, very proud of The Wimmera Mail-Times,'' he said.
"The Wimmera Mail-Times as the leading 100 per cent pure regional print news gatherer will be here for many years to come.
"Its news and pictorial strength will continue to serve its readers and the many successful businesses who have used the Mail-Times as their leading print advertising provider.
"These strengths will only grow with the ongoing growth into the digital world."
Fairfax Regional Media Victoria general manager Bruce Morgan thanked Mr Hammond for his contribution to the Mail-Times.
"Peter has helped me personally, and the company generally, steer what is a significant, highly-regarded regional newspaper through major change and, as such, he will leave the business in better shape than when he took over as manager all those years ago," Mr Morgan said.
"That The Wimmera Mail-Times will remain strong for many years ahead as a media, rather than a print-only, business, will be his legacy to future generations."