Call him Mr. Lucky

Luck often seems to be on Joseph Clark’s side.

Surrounded by friends and family, the mail expeditor celebrated 67 years of federal service — including two years with the Navy and 65 years as a postal worker — during a recent ceremony at the Columbus, OH, Processing and Distribution Center.

Clark, who joined the Post Office Department in 1955 and quickly proclaimed that he’d be a postal employee for the next 50 years, said he was lucky to get the job.

“When I got out of the Navy, I applied for a job at the State House and a surplus war vehicle depot for a government agency and the Post Office. All three of the jobs became available within seven days. I could have picked any one of them,” he said.

Clark initially had his heart set on the depot job because it meant his evenings and weekends would be free.

“But friends said, ‘Take the Post Office job.’ It turned out to be a good thing because the depot [would regularly] lay off a lot of people,” he said.

Beginning a postal career was one of several unusually lucky breaks in Clark’s life.

For instance, a teacher encouraged Clark to join the Navy Reserve when he was in high school.

“I was kind of lucky because some of the other guys in our group who joined the Army went to Korea,” he said. Some didn’t return home.

“All of us who joined the Navy, all came back from the war,” Clark said. He had hoped to travel the world but was stateside during the conflict.

Clark started his postal career as an outgoing mail clerk, then switched to incoming mail.

During his career, Clark has held several different positions. Through it all, he witnessed the organization evolve.

“They didn’t have all of this high-tech machinery. It was all manual labor. The most high-tech thing they had back then was a conveyor belt,” he said with a laugh. “We had mail on one side of the belt and hampers on the other side. As the belt was moving, you’d dump mail into the right hamper.”

Looking back, Clark, who received a fancy leather jacket when he celebrated his 50th postal anniversary that he still wears now and then, feels satisfied with his postal career.

“When I came here, I was just looking for a job. But to me, this job is always interesting,” he said.

Michaela Thompson, acting distribution operations supervisor at the Columbus Processing and Distribution Center, said is Clark highly valued at the facility.

“Mr. Clark is an excellent employee. He is old school when it comes to his work ethics — hardworking, shows up every day ready to go. He is a true asset to the United States Postal Service. I’m glad he is part of my team,” she said.

And as for Clark surpassing his youthful prediction that he’d be a Postal Service employee for 50 years, that might have something to do with his father.

“My father worked for 52 years,” Clark said. “He did one job for 42 years and then another job for 10 years. Watching him influenced me.”

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Gear up

The Postal Service will be busy all year long in 2021.

The organization has planned more than 15 stamp releases this year, beginning with Love 2021 on Thursday, Jan. 14.

Other early releases will include August Wilson (Thursday, Jan. 28), a Black Heritage stamp honoring the acclaimed playwright; Year of the Ox, the latest Lunar New Year stamp (Tuesday, Feb. 2); and Chien-Shiung Wu (Thursday, Feb. 11), a stamp honoring the influential nuclear physicist.

The Combined Federal Campaign is slated to conclude Friday, Jan. 15.

Beginning Sunday, Jan. 24, USPS will raise Shipping Services product prices approximately 3.5 percent for Priority Mail service and 1.2 percent for Priority Mail Express service, while Mailing Services product prices will rise approximately 1.7 percent.

After being canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the National Postal Forum — the mailing industry’s largest annual meeting — is slated to be held May 2-5 in Nashville, TN.

Likewise, the Stamp Out Hunger food drive, also canceled this year because of the pandemic, is expected to resume this year on Saturday, May 8.

The Postal Service is tentatively slated to recognize National Dog Bite Awareness Week in June; National Slip, Trip and Fall Prevention Week in October; and USPS Motor Vehicle Safety Month in December.

National Postal Customer Council Week, an annual event that brings together USPS and industry leaders at meetings across the nation, is scheduled to take place from Sept. 20-24.

Independence Day will fall on a Sunday in 2021 and Christmas Day will fall on a Saturday, as will New Year’s Day 2022.

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Success by the slice

A San Diego carrier technician’s conversation with a customer on his route resulted in $30,000 in new estimated annualized revenue for the Postal Service.

Daniel Galvan was delivering mail to a pizza restaurant one day when he met the owner, Sunil Gakhreja.

Galvan used the opportunity to tell Gakhreja that he could use Every Door Direct Mail campaigns to boost his business.

Gakhreja was interested, so Galvan took his contact information and submitted a lead through Customer Connect, the joint program between USPS and the National Association of Letter Carriers that encourages carriers to identify sales opportunities for the Postal Service.

San Diego District Business Development Specialist Dee Moore and the field sales team followed up with Gakhreja, who has subsequently done two Every Door Direct Mail campaigns for a total of $30,048.

Revenue generated from Customer Connect leads is counted toward the USPS Power of One campaign to raise revenue through sales leads from employees.

“Daniel has a special relationship with all his customers,” said Mary Anderson, small-business engagement director at USPS headquarters in Washington, DC. “All it takes is a mention of any of the ways USPS can help a business for it to lead to results.”

The Sales Blue page has more information about Customer Connect and the Postal Service’s other lead-sharing programs, which include Business Connect, Clerks Care, Mail Handlers, Rural Reach and Submit a Lead.

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Share with care

During the coronavirus pandemic, and especially during the holidays, one’s personal social media accounts can be an important way to connect. But USPS wants all workers to remember that it’s best to avoid posting images of postal workplaces online.

One reason is that such photos or videos may contain information that isn’t meant for public viewing. Another is that workers and customers have a right to privacy and must give consent to have their images posted online.

The do’s and don’ts of the organization’s general social media policy are detailed in Section 363 of the Administrative Support Manual, while AS-805 Information Security offers specific guidance on the use of photos and videos.

Employees with questions should speak to a manager or supervisor.