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The Sentinel-Record welcomes new general manager to Spa City
Original article published in The Sentinel-Record

Nat LeaHot Springs, Arkansas -- Dec. 3, 2006 -- The new general manager of The Sentinel-Record has deep southern roots, and is keenly aware of what makes a newspaper important to the community it serves.

"Just the thought of coming to Hot Springs is incredibly exciting to me," Mississippi native Nat Lea, former general manager of the El Dorado News-Times, said in a recent interview. "It's a vibrant, growing area. There's a great sense of community and a 'can do' attitude in the community," Lea said. "It's just a real positive environment. I'm just looking forward to being a part of the growth, frankly."

Likewise, Lea said he believes a hometown newspaper has to focus on serving its community. "The way we do that is making sure that we put a good news and advertising product out for our readers, and that we take care of our advertisers," he said. "If we take care of those things, we'll be in great shape and do a good job for the community. "I look forward to getting out of the office to meet people and will welcome anyone who would like to stop by the paper to say hello," Lea said.

Lea was born in Greenwood, Miss., just across the Mississippi River from Arkansas, and spent the summers on the family cotton and soybean farm just north of there. He earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Georgia and his MBA from Georgia State University, both with concentrations in finance. Lea lived in Atlanta for close to seven years after earning his undergraduate degree, pursuing a career in banking and working on his master's at Georgia State, then lived for four years in New York City.

He came to work for WEHCO Video, Inc. in Little Rock in March 2002, with the primary duty of direct sales manager. He became general manager of Pine Bluff Cable TV after its GM moved to Longview, Texas. Lea became the general manager of the News-Times after the former general manager, Tim Lewallen, resigned.

WEHCO Media, Inc. is the parent of WEHCO Newspapers, Inc. The newspaper family includes the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and eight other daily newspapers in northwest and southwest Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas, as well as 11 weekly newspapers (the five daily papers in south Arkansas are collectively referred to as the Palmer Newspapers, including The Sentinel-Record). It also includes WEHCO Video.

"I appreciate the long tenure and the dedication of the employees of The Sentinel-Record, and I'm looking forward to becoming a part of the family and its team environment," Lea said.

Lea's wife, Neal, is a Little Rock native and a graduate of Central High School and also Hollins University in Roanoke, Va. They have two daughters, Lucy, who turns 2 in January, and Taylor, 4 months. Lea and his family have already moved to Hot Springs.

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