I'm Rick Thames, executive editor of The Charlotte Observer. I grew up in eastern N.C., and have also worked at papers in Florida, Tennessee and Kansas. At The Observer, I oversee all news, sports, business and features content: local, state, national and international. I do not supervise our editorial pages. They are the responsibility of Taylor Batten, our editorial page editor. Taylor and I report to the publisher, Ann Caulkins. I believe a newspaper can, and should, be an asset in its communities. It should inform, enlighten and inspire as it safeguards a free and self-governing society. I love what I do, and I wish the same for you.