Steve Schowengerdt is the kind of guy who thinks triathlons are fun. He has competed in 12. And he would have been training for another this year, but he's been on a mental marathon at the Deseret News since he was named chief of the pagination department last year.
Schowengerdt, 36, helped hire and train the team of paginators when the Deseret News moved into computer layout two years ago October. On weekends, he helped out in his former position on sports desk until the department found another layout editor to fill his running shoes. That was difficult, according to John Robinson, executive sports editor. The quiet "iron man" of the Deseret News has an eye for page design."He was the best makeup man we've ever had. The guy was money in the bank," says Robinson. "When he didn't have anything to work with he made it look good. When he did, he made it look spectacular."
The tools of journalism fascinate Schowengerdt. He first became interested while attending the University of Utah, where he began his studies in pre-architecture. There, after taking a photojournalism class, he caught the journalism bug. He tried newswriting, and before his college years ended, Schowengerdt was editor of the U.'s Daily Utah Chronicle - and a communications major.
When he came to the Deseret News in April of 1975, he seemed to glide into new positions with the ease of a well-trained athlete. Schowengerdt says simply, " I saw opportunities to do whatever I wanted. I went after them."
He started at the News as a copy courier and correction typist. From there he went to the copy desk and then to sports make-up and editing. He also took ski photos and wrote sports stories. When computers arrived, he wasted no time getting acquainted with them, so he could write formats and help train computer-baffled reporters and editors.
He likes computers, but he says he wouldn't want to live with one. "I'm playing with computers all day now. I'd be playing with them all night if I got one."
Besides, when he gets home there are so many other things to do. He relaxes with his wife, Sheryl, whom he met at the News and married in 1977. And he is an enthusiastic stepfather to her children, Bret and Holly McBride, age 16 and 17.
In addition, he likes to work in his dark room, swim, run, bike, boat, backpack, camp, fish and he loves to ski.
Golf may be only outdoor sport Schowengerdt can live without. It drove him crazy, Robinson says, because he is a perfectionist, and although he got pretty good when he worked at the Salt Lake Country Club in his junior high and high school days, he could never come up to his own high standards.
Paginator Laura McGee, who learned how to design pages by watching Schowengerdt, says she thinks paginators work very hard because "we see how much he expects of himself," which is about par for a guy who thinks triathlons are fun.