by John Hawkins, President and CEO, The Club

Club Director of Marketing Summy Lam photographs Ed Harding and John Hawkins – a longtime business friendship captured in Alive!

In these strange times, I’m not surprised when unusual things happen. This month’s issue is no exception – we have a first (producing a cover story without actually visiting) and a last (the retirement of the longtime servant of Retired City employees).

First, the first: This month’s cover story on Harbor’s important Logistics Victory LA project, which sources, collects, stores and distributes critically necessary medical gear to area hospitals, is the first one we’ve produced on a City department here in LA remotely. We worked with the Port’s Rachel Campbell, Phillip Sanfield, Gene Seroka and Avin Sharma to gather everything we needed to put it together while staying safe at home and not actually on site. (Early in Alive!’s existence, we did some stories on the City response to Hurricane Katrina where we couldn’t be there, obviously, but that was different.) Producing this month’s main story meant coordination and research over email and texting; interviews by phone; and data processing and transcription via Dropbox and the Web.

But how to get exclusive photos? We couldn’t even know the location of the Logistics Victory LA warehouse, for security purposes. Harbor photographer Don Haynes volunteered to set up and photograph the project for us by himself, using art direction we sent and samples we transmitted from previous editions. Don did an awesome job in matching our style and quality.

That’s not to say that working totally remotely is a perfect substitute for being there. It’s not. For more than 17 years, Alive! has prided itself on standing elbow to elbow with City Employees, learning what you do and sometimes sweating right there with you. That’s in the DNA of the Club. In fact, we have another interview (distanced but in person) set up for a day after I write this. It’s going to be amazing, trust me. We are all working under challenging conditions these days, but we are willing to do whatever it takes to tell your stories and celebrate your lives. It’s what we do. You matter to us, no matter what.

And now from a first, to a last: Longtime RLACEI Director Ed Harding retires from that retirees association after decades of faithful service. I wrote a tribute to Ed in this month’s RLACEI section, so I won’t repeat myself. If you have a thought or two of congratulations about Ed’s retirement and service, feel free to send it my way, and we’ll share it. Send it to: jhawkins@employeesclub.com

As we head into the fall and recall how less busy we are this year than in normal falls, please take the time to enjoy the most important thing of all – family. And we’ll back here again next month with another story captured as in person as the pandemic allows.

See you then!

— John

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