Ten amazing facts you did not know about Larry R. Orkus, associate publisher of the Reading Eagle, a man who sees things normal men don't.
1. Because the paper needed a place to stuff its inserts, Larry acquired a distribution center at 2nd and Chestnut, along a flood plane, and stored one-of-a-kind archival data there. On June 30, 2006, the Schuylkill River flooded. Reading Eagle Company carried little or no flood insurance.
2. In 2005, right before the newspaper industry began its death rattle, Larry convinced publisher Bill Flippin to mortgage the company to the hilt and buy a new $30 million printing press and distribution plant, which, after cost overruns due to Larry's meddling, swelled to a reported $42 million.
3. Perhaps fearing the contractor would receive a kickback from his steel supplier, Larry insisted on negotiating the steel contract himself, from his office. He locked in a price...whereupon the price of steel plummeted.
4. Because the new press was coming from Germany, Larry figured he should lock in the exchange rate, too. He did, when the dollar was near its lowest point against the Euro. You don't need much imagaination to figure out what happened next.
5. Air-conditioning purchases? Guess who? (Expect global warming to quickly accelerate to the point where air-conditioning in Reading will become superfluous.)
6. As it turned out, the new Koenig & Bauer AG Colora Berliner press, widely touted as state-of-the-art machinery that would operate 24/7, can only print on flimsy newsprint, not the classy, glossy stock Boscov's demanded. The Eagle's major advertiser took its commercial printing business elsewhere.
7. Totally paranoid after the Eagle laid off 50 people just two months after "his" new facility opened, Larry had a cable modem installed in his office so he could bypass the company network to foil wrathful employees from hacking his e-mail.
8. Larry once convinced this blogger not to quit after he had submitted his resignation. (Long story; another day.)
9. (This spot is reserved for past and present Eagle staffers to post their favorite Larry facts, in the comments section, anonymously, of course.)
10. And perhaps most amazing of all...HE STILL HAS HIS JOB!!!!