Begins New Career Helping Others
James A. Smith distinguished himself as the 39th Postmaster of Los Angeles where he served in that capacity for over seven years before retiring and ending a 44-year career with the United States Postal Service (USPS) earlier this year.
Often referred to as the “Postmaster to the Stars” because of the many celebrities with whom he became familiar as a result of the “Legends of Hollywood” stamp series and subsequent ceremonies, Smith was not only on a first-name basis with most of Los Angeles’ elected officials and community leaders, with whom he interacted at important community events, he was also considered a friend among entertainers and movie stars, alike.
During an impressive career with the USPS, Smith progressed through a series of 17 consecutive assignments with an ever-increasing level of duties, responsibilities, and accountability.
At the time of his retirement, he was responsible for the management of 125 classified stations and branches in Los Angeles and the South Bay, including the supervision of 4,000 employees, handling 900,000 daily deliveries to four million residents and 100,000 businesses in a 540 square mile area. He also planned and managed an annual budget exceeding $400 million.
“My focus has been to exceed customers’ expectations.” Smith said before announcing his retirement. “I wanted to make it easy for our customers to do business with us and believe that part of good service is having access to not only postal products and services but also to postal employees, craft, and management.” Smith described. “We wanted to hear about postal issues and concerns because they give us the opportunity to improve our service.”
That attitude was fostered throughout the organization and allowed postal patrons to enjoy a level of service that was second-to-none and a work environment among postal workers that caused them to hold their postmaster in high esteem.
“Smith was popular among all employees.” One postal worker noted. “Whenever he was introduced to a group of employees he was usually met with a standing ovation and it was apparent that the employees were proud to have him represent them as ‘their’ postmaster.
The excellence Smith established among postal workers and patrons was not self proclamation but rather, a measure of postal districts throughout the nation. He made a special effort to meet, greet, and mingle with postal workers and during his tenure as the Postmaster for Los Angeles, his district was among the top 15 postal districts in the nation on employee opinion surveys.
Smith is a graduate of California State University – Los Angeles, holds a lifetime teaching credential and is a graduate of the Postal Service’s Advanced Leadership Program.
An active community member, Smith is a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Chapter, a board member of the Southeast Symphony Association, the Sickle Cell Foundation of California, the Coalition of Mental Health Professionals, Wings of Refuge, and the Southern California Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Los Angeles’ Dream Foundation. Smith, his wife Tamara, and their two children, are members of the First AME Church in Los Angeles.
Now, with the support and encouragement of several notable community icons, Smith has embarked on the next phase of what has already been a remarkable career.
Smith has established Executive Communication Services,, Inc. an entrepreneurial endeavor which will allow him to capitalize on his broad management skills and will fulfill a niche in the business community that is sorely needed.
“Executive Communication Services is a one-stop direct mail firm capable of taking a project from its conceptual stage, through development, design, creation and distribution.” Smith said. “We offer creative and business solutions, direct mail solutions, e-commerce solutions, as well as reprographics and printing.”
“There are a number of individuals who have been an inspiration to me and I am especially grateful to Danny Bakewell, Jr. and Sr., who were among the first to encourage me in my new endeavor, as well as Kerman Maddox, and Bernard and Shirley Kinsey, who have been very supportive to me and my family in launching this new enterprise.” Smith concluded.
Executive Communication Services is located at 5777 W. Century Blvd., Suite 910 and the office telephone number is 310/337-1472. Jones may also be reached via email at [email protected].