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JULIE BRINGS JOYOUS ENERGY TO CHURCH NEWS

A relatively mild-mannered Church News reporter by day, Julie Dockstader after hours is a hard-charging softball and basketball player, mountain-biking and running aficionado and soft-strumming guitar player.

And at both work and play she redefines enthusiasm.Meeting Julie Dockstader - be it for business or pleasure - is like running into the swirling white tornado of Ajax fame. She leaves you a bit windblown due to her high energy and intensity but always a little lighter and brighter.

She is a great person to have around the office, not only because of her work ethic and professionalism - demonstrated in the consistent high quality and quantity of her work - but also because she keeps everyone else on their toes without taking herself too seriously.

Case in point: When on a deadline, Dockstader often doesn't take time to eat lunch. Ingesting graham crackers to alleviate hunger on a recent grueling deadline day, she left some residual crumbs on her desk. Valuing a neat, organized workplace the way she does, she brushed the crumbs onto the adjoining desk of a fellow staffer while he looked on.

He didn't appreciate the gesture and took another cracker, smashed it in his fist, and dropped the crumbs into a pile on Dockstader's desk. After a short stare-down, Dockstader and her rival simultaneously blew the pile of crumbs, sending a column of graham particulates billowing into the air. The two got right back to work after cleaning fallout residue from their hair, eyes, desks and expensive computer terminals.

Some of Dockstader's intensity perhaps stems from the fact that she is still a small-town girl at heart who is succeeding at writing and taking photographs for a big-city newspaper. In fact, her work is not only read by Deseret News subscribers throughout Utah but also by tens of thousands of others internationally who subscribe separately to the Church News.

Born and raised in Shelley, Idaho, a town of 3,500 people in the southeastern part of the Gem State, Dockstader grew up taking trucks to bed with her instead of dolls. Her mother would frequently check on her young daughter at bedtime and find the child's arm wrapped around a miniature concrete mixer or dump truck. That was a precursor of things to come.

In high school, Dockstader played varsity basketball and ran track. As a 17-year-old, she worked on a potato combine for a local farmer. She was the only girl on the crew and found satisfaction in keeping up with the boys as she pulled rotten potatoes, rocks and weeds off of the rapidly moving conveyor chain without getting behind.

"Boy, would you get dirty and sunburned," she recalled. "It was hard, back-breaking work, but you always felt good at the end of the day."

That same determination helped Dockstader through college at Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Following graduation from BYU in 1985, she served an LDS mission in South Africa, where long, hot days were interspersed with long, windy and wet days. Regardless of the weather, "Sister Dockstader" had a reputation as a workhorse among fellow missionaries and leaders.

Whatever Dockstader is involved in, her formula for success is basic: She quickly writes out a plan, then charges ahead. Occasionally, she just charges ahead.

"Sometimes there isn't time for much planning and you just have to dive in and do it," she admitted.

Though Dockstader often is tackling a new challenge - such as recently taking guitar and scuba lessons, qualifying to become a certified rescue diver - she recognizes the importance of maintaining strong relationships with family, friends and business associates. She said her parents, Keith and Mary Dockstader, who still reside in Shelley, are her biggest cheerleaders when it comes to her work. "They both get a kick out of seeing my name in the paper," said Dockstader. "They have always been very supportive."

As a reporter for the Church News, Dockstader's assignments include covering the women's auxiliaries, Church Educational System, Ricks and LDS Business College, single adults, the curriculum department and the western parts of Canada and the United States. She edits the Mormon Forum and is Church News proofreading coordinator.

When asked about the favorite aspects about her work, Dock-stader points to two things: "I enjoy associating with people of a high caliber, for whom I have respect, and it's nice to be able to write positive stories that can influence others for good."

Her "white tornado" style knows no other way.