Friday, June 8, 2012

Milestones

And now, for something completely different …

When I was growing up, my parents subscribed to Time Magazine, and my favorite part was the “Milestones” sections in which newsmaker comings and goings were summarized. Being a people watcher and pop culture junkie, I suppose it was natural that I gravitated to that part of the magazine even before I dove into the articles themselves.

Over the past few weeks, I have gotten similar nuggets of news about several of my former coworkers spanning different aspects of my career. This influx of information compelled me to do my own “Milestones” blog in order to process all of it.

First, I got word that one of my coworkers from Congresswoman Helen Bentley’s office, Sandy Dawson, passed away in May. Sandy was the congresswoman’s office manager when I was an intern and later a full-time junior staffer after graduating college. She also worked on immigration issues for constituents.  For a time, I worked more closely with her than anyone else in that office, though our work closeness never materialized into a lasting friendship, as it has with other people I have worked for or with. I don’t know I’d ever consider her a mentor, but she was a good early supervisor to have.

Indeed, most of the people I worked with in Bentley’s Towson and Washington offices have since passed away, though HDB herself is still going strong at 88. I can personally attest to her formidability, so I suspect she’ll be around for a while.

I also checked in with June Smith, a fellow Ehrlich Administration veteran and widow to the late, great Talk Show Man Ron Smith, who passed away last December. 

Grief has not slowed Mrs. Reason down one bit. She continues to raise money for the pancreatic cancer research fund ($155,000 raised to date, including a $50,000 donation by Hearst Broadcasting), started the “Friends of Ron Smith” Internet site, writes a column for Red Maryland, and is “learning to like the Orioles again.” She is also preparing to accept the Emmy award bestowed posthumously to Ron, who was also honored with a “Best Talk Show, Baltimore Metro Region” award from the Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association.  
Of Ron, June says proudly, “He’s still the talk of the town.” Indeed, he is, and still more relevant than other lingering voices clamoring for attention. Anyway, to learn more about June’s activities, visit the “events” section of the “Friends of Ron Smith” site.

Someone recently forwarded to me this article regarding a new assignment for Lisa Raimundo Riggs, my former colleague at Downtown Partnership of Baltimore. It seems that Riggs, who served as president of a business improvement district in bustling Lancaster, Pennsylvania for the past nine years, is now running a minor league baseball team.

Riggs was Downtown Partnership’s resident economic development guru for much of the time I worked there. A fellow Hopkins Blue Jay, she was intelligent, hard-working, and played a major personal role in helping Downtown Baltimore City tackle its chronic parking shortage. Stylistically, we had our differences as managers. Whereas I tend to be more creative and laissez faire, she was more of an interjector when it came to others' areas of responsibility. Through her passion for chairing meetings, she contrasted with my own desire to be left alone. This resulted in some interesting dynamics at times.

Still, I wish her the best as she assumes responsibility for management of the Lancaster Barnstormers. Lancaster’s mayor says of Riggs, “She's the perfect cleanup hitter. If people are on base, she is the person that can get them home." 

Indeed, it’s fair to say she has a unique knack for getting people to sprint off the field.

Well, that’s all I have. If you’re reading this and I’ve worked with you but not spoken with you in a while, shoot me an email to let me know what you’re up to. I’m always looking to reconnect, especially if I liked you.

And, if anyone bumps into that other colleague of mine from HDB world – the one I stopped communicating with after she committed to seeing U2 with me last summer but cancelled at the last moment, weeks of contrary assurances notwithstanding – please tell her she missed a great show. 

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