Editorials, Opinion

A tribute to Dave Raese upon his retirement

As you may have seen in the news pages, Dave Raese is stepping down as The Dominion Post’s publisher and his son, Adam Raese, will be taking over.  

As a final farewell, some of the newspaper’s staff agreed to share memories of working with Dave. 

Pam Queen, editor: Before I knew Dave, I knew of him. When I was in high school, he was a sports writer covering high school sports — including area girls’ basketball games. Fast-forward several years and I joined the newsroom staff and met Dave, who was then publisher. That was nearly 34 years ago, and I’ve seen a lot of changes in the industry. If one thing has remained constant at The Dominion Post, it’s been Dave’s passion for local news. He’s been a great leader and mentor and we’ll miss seeing him in the newsroom.  

Katie McDowell, managing editor: I have worked for the paper for longer than I care to admit, only because to say the length of time makes me feel very old, indeed. I came here as a very green reporter, moving from the WVU beat, to cops, then to lifestyles, entertainment, food and up the chain to my current position as lifestyles columnist and managing editor. Through the years I’ve gotten to know Dave better, and while you can still feel his presence as the “big boss” when he enters the room, he’s also a genuine and regular guy. He often stops by my desk to talk about shows and movies I’ve mentioned in my columns — occasionally chastising me when a particular recommendation causes him to spend more time in front of the TV than he intended over the weekend. Dave doesn’t put on airs and his door is always open. I will certainly miss having him in the office, but would be willing to bet he’ll still give a call to pitch a story idea every now and again — I doubt he can help himself. It’s in his blood. Enjoy your retirement, Dave.  

Jessica Nelson, opinion editor: I started at The Dominion Post as a copy editor, and my desk was the first one right next to the door. I was so intimidated by Dave that every time he burst through the newsroom door, I would slouch a little and hope he didn’t see me. When I got the position as the opinion editor, the thing I was most nervous about was having weekly meetings with the entire editorial board — which, of course, included Dave. But I wasn’t intimidated after that first meeting. Because after having the opportunity to really talk to him, I found him to be someone warm and kind — someone with whom I could discuss, and even debate, sensitive topics and be heard, without fear of retribution if we disagreed. His faith in me and my writing has been humbling. It’s been an honor and a pleasure to have worked so closely with him the last three years.  

Brad Pennington, circulation/marketing manager: When I started working at The Dominion Post in 2002, I was only 26 and Dave Raese, to me, was a larger-than-life figure in the media industry. However, I soon found Dave to be a man of great generosity, humor and kindness who genuinely cared about his employees and valued their contributions to his business. His importance to media and news in West Virginia cannot be understated. On a personal level, I cannot thank Dave enough for the opportunities he has offered to me over the last 21 years. To say they have been life-changing for me and my family would be an understatement. Even when I briefly left the company, Dave welcomed me back with open arms. For that, I will be eternally grateful. 

Jessica Roberts Bellino, advertising director: I was hired as the marketing coordinator in 2011, and a few months in Dave approached me about moving into the Advertising Department as a sales account executive. Growing up, watching my father work in the industry at WTRF TV in Wheeling, I saw how stressful media sales can be, so at first, I respectfully declined. Dave asked me again, but this time with a safety net. He said, “Try it for six months, and if you don’t like it, you can go back to marketing.” Needless to say, I found success in the department, and in 2021, Dave promoted me to advertising director to oversee the entire department. During the past 12 years, Dave has always believed in me, even at times when I didn’t believe in myself. For that and for multiple other reasons, I will always be grateful to Dave Raese and the opportunities I’ve had at The Dominion Post. 

Debbie Harrison, advertising account executive: I’ve had the privilege to know and work for Dave at The Dominion Post for over 44 years. During that time, Dave has shown incredible kindness and fairness to me and a true passion for our community and its people. The Dominion Post has been well served by his leadership and commitment to providing Morgantown with a trusted voice, making us more informed and connected. I look forward to working with Adam, who shares Dave’s work ethic and commitment. Enjoy your retirement!  

Brenda Tomlinson, graphics service supervisor: I’ll never forget the kindness that Dave showed to me and my brother Rich, while our dad was passing away. He told my director at the time to give me and my brother paid time off to spend with our dad, as he only had about a week left to live. Dave also showed up during the funeral visitation and this meant a lot to me and my family.  

Greg Romine, graphic designer: I first met Dave at an event for WVU Journalism students toward the end of my senior year at WVU. He encouraged me to send him my resume, which I did, and it was probably about a month and a half later that I got a call from the director of the graphics department, asking if I would be interested in interviewing for a job that was available. I took the interview and was hired. That was almost 26 years ago — and this is the only job I’ve had! I appreciate that Dave forwarded my resume to the person who had a job opening in my field of interest. I’ve also enjoyed talking sports with Dave over the years, and I wish him the best in his retirement!  

Joey Spencer, IT specialist: July 17, 2018 … Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Beth Hart were playing at the Palace Theater in Greensburg, Pa., and Dave had tickets. But something came up, I think with Rotary, and he couldn’t go. Knowing that I’m a blues fan, Dave offered to give me the tickets. The only problem was that Brenda was off the day after the concert and it was Greg’s first time handling the layout by himself, so I told Dave that I would love to take the tickets, but that I couldn’t miss work the day after the concert because I needed to be there in case Greg ran into issues. He told me to go ahead and go to the concert and that he would speak with my “employer” about me coming in later the next day … This was my first trip to Greensburg and the Palace Theater and it didn’t disappoint! The theater is beautiful and reminds me of a smaller version of the Warner theater in Erie, Pa. There’s also an amazing Italian restaurant next door called Rialto Café. I mention all of this because since that first trip in 2018, this has become my favorite venue for music (and alfredo) and I have been back at least six times since that inaugural trip, with another planned for this September (dinner reservations at Rialto for all trips as well). So while this might sound more like a testimonial for The Palace Theater and Rialto Café, the point is that Dave cares about his employees and the community and has made an impact in our lives even outside of the office. 

Dave and his leadership will be greatly missed here at The Dominion Post. We wish him the best in his retirement, and we look forward to starting a new era with Adam at the helm.