Flight into history

John Petersen, chairman of the Lindbergh Foundation

A flight that marked a turning point in aviation history was recalled at last week’s United States Air Mail stamp dedication ceremony.

The journey from College Park, MD, to New York City occurred Aug. 12, 1918, and marked the transition of airmail service from the Army to the U.S. Post Office Department.

“Under the department’s watch, U.S. airmail became part of the fabric of the American economy and culture,” said Chief Operating Officer David Williams, who led the Aug. 11 ceremony at the College Park Aviation Museum.

The flight is commemorated on the new stamp, which is printed in red and features an image of a Curtiss JN-4H biplane, the model of aircraft used for early airmail flights.

This is the second of two United States Air Mail stamps that USPS released this year. The first stamp, featuring the same image but printed in blue, was released in the spring and honors the first airmail flights in May 1918.

Both stamps are intaglio-printed, meaning they’re transferred to paper from an engraved plate.

USPS released the stamps to honor the 100th anniversary of airmail service and the role it played in the innovation of mail delivery, as well as the courage of the pilots who helped make the service a success.

Both the blue and red United States Air Mail stamps are available at Post Offices and usps.com.

Opportunities everywhere

Deanna “Dee” Moore sees everyone as a potential customer for USPS.

Moore, an acting business development specialist in San Diego, helps companies, nonprofit groups and others find ways to use postal products and services to grow their organizations.

This could include helping a restaurant advertise through Every Door Direct Mail or helping an online retailer use Priority Mail to ship orders.

“The job of a business development specialist requires connecting with many parts of the Postal Service,” Moore says.

She works closely with the San Diego District sales team and follows up on leads submitted by employees through the organization’s small-business and lead generation programs. To ensure these programs are successful, Moore recommends employees follow these tips:

• Learn which program fits you. The USPS lead generation programs include Business Connect, Clerks Care, Customer Connect, Mail Handlers, Rural Reach and Submit a Lead. The Sales Blue page has more information about each initiative.

• Look for leads everywhere. Business opportunities for USPS don’t just come during the workday. You might also encounter potential business customers while out for dinner, shopping or getting a haircut.

• Be specific. When submitting a lead, explain the potential customer’s needs and include contact information for him or her.

“Our employees are the ones that have created a relationship with those customers,” Moore says. “Since they have already established that relationship, they give us the best opportunity to build a working relationship with USPS.”

“Best practices,” a series on employees who demonstrate on-the-job excellence, appears regularly in Link.

So sorry

Apology letter in typewriter

A recently rediscovered 1957 mailpiece sparked a Wall Street Journal essay last week about a disappearing art form: the apology letter.

Paula Marantz Cohen, a dean and English professor at Drexel University in Philadelphia, wrote the essay, which describes a letter that a friend’s parents received from a businessman apologizing for a billing error.

It seems the company discovered that it accidentally posted a $2 payment from the couple to another customer’s account.

“This explanation is not intended as an excuse, for there can be no excuse for such errors,” the businessman wrote.

The letter recalls a time when people placed more value on civility, according to Cohen. She sees the loss of apology letters as a sign of the times.

“The computerized nature of modern business has eroded human contact, and in a litigious culture an apology can be construed as an admission of guilt,” Cohen writes.

She adds that she keeps of a copy of the letter in her wallet to “lift my spirits in the face of a rude world — and to remind me how to say my own apologies, when the occasion inevitably arises.”

Be prepared

Hurricane season

Reminder: USPS wants employees to be prepared for hurricane season, which runs from June 1-Nov. 30 each year.

Most coastal areas are subject to hurricanes. The storms can cause high winds, heavy rain, flooding and other dangerous conditions.

Take these steps to prepare:

• Complete a personal preparedness plan that includes a household inventory and the location of important family documents. Share copies with relatives or friends.

• Store enough food and water to last at least three days. One gallon of drinking water per person, per day is recommended.

• Prepare your home for hurricane force winds or flooding.

• Prepare a first-aid kit and make plans for pets.

• Know your community’s hurricane plans, including evacuation routes.

• Keep contact information current using a physical address — not a PO Box and mobile telephone number. Go to LiteBlue and update your address if necessary.

If a hurricane is expected, call the USPS National Employee Emergency Hotline (888-363-7462) for work schedule or reporting time change information.

The National Preparedness Blue page has more information, including emergency response checklists and the USPS Hurricane Preparedness Guide.

The National Hurricane CenterFederal Emergency Management Agency and Ready.gov sites have additional information.