Farewell to a true professional

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Tuesday was not a happy day at the Business Journal. Wednesday was even worse.

As anyone in the business world knows all too well, sometimes people leave and it’s a good thing, even for both sides. But other times it’s not so joyous.

Such has been the case this week at CSBJ. Tuesday we said our goodbyes to Amy Gillentine, a standout reporter for this publication since 2005, and more recently just as superb in serving as associate editor. Wednesday thus became our first day without her on the staff, realizing the hole left by her departure.

We’re hurting, and we won’t be quite the same without her. You’ll still see the Business Journal every week, and thanks to her amazing attention to detail, we’ll still be using her work in upcoming issues all the way to early November. But she’ll no longer be part of our small, close-knit editorial team.

A native of Mississippi and a University of Memphis graduate, Amy was all about journalism, accumulating experience at numerous newspapers along the way to go with her stellar work ethic. At the Business Journal, she began covering health care, and to say she “owned” that beat would be a massive understatement.

It’s safe to say that nobody else in the local media has produced the amount of stories, angles, new information and perspectives that Amy has done in health care. She already was an acknowledged expert before the city began addressing the ownership of Memorial Health System. She covered — or perhaps that should be scoured — the entire process, all the way through to the lease with University of Colorado Health.

To say Amy Gillentine owned the health care beat would be a massive understatement.

Along the way, she never lost touch with what was going on at Penrose-St. Francis Health Services in making its own impressive strides toward a more competitive market. And then there have been her many stories covering Peak Vista, AspenPointe, the Affordable Care Act or other entities.

That doesn’t mean she didn’t have other strengths. She covered local governments, Utilities, the Regional Business Alliance, the military, cyber issues and much more. She also developed and maintained a reputation as a tough reporter and questioner, good enough that simply a message to call her would be cause for anxiety. She went into interviews filled with questions, backed by abundant preparation, and she could find great nuggets in the most boring of meetings or reports.

We wanted her to stay, obviously. But when the opportunity came to help promote the Air Force Academy’s ambitious research programs — one of her regular go-to subjects for fascinating stories — she was ready for the new challenge.

Life always goes on in the newspaper business, and that’s the case now. We’re fortunate, despite losing so much institutional knowledge, that we’ve brought back a former CSBJ veteran, Rebecca Tonn, who worked here from 2006-2011 before exploring other opportunities for two-plus years. She has returned as a prominent writer and associate editor, bringing us needed skills as we reset some of our responsibilities and priorities.

We’ll be fine. But we have to admit that the Business Journal won’t be quite the same without Amy Gillentine.

We wish her every success in her new career direction. She’s done more than readers might ever know to make CSBJ what it is today. The challenge for us now is to continue following her example, and building on it, in days to come.