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Am Fam Physician. 2004;70(3):421

I’m devoting this column to three of AFP’s contributors who are reaching special milestones this summer and to whom I’d like to give my personal thanks and recognition: Kathy Mayfield, production director; LeAnn Fletcher, graphic associate; and Barrett Schroeder, senior consulting editor. This month we celebrated Kathy Mayfield’s 40th anniversary of employment, and we are preparing to say goodbye to LeAnn Fletcher, who is retiring from the AAFP after more than 20 years of service, and to Barrett Schroeder, who is resigning from her position after 20 years of affiliation with AAFP. Each of these employees has stood firmly behind the quality of AFP over the years, and each one is deserving of much more recognition than I can provide here, but I would like to share at least some of their career highlights.

Kathy Mayfield has worked in the publications division her entire career at the AAFP, and until about 10 years ago, when the publications division began expanding its products, production work on AFP was her primary responsibility. Of course, 40 years ago AFP was known as GP , or General Practitioner , and a few other things have changed since then. Kathy came to the Academy in 1964, starting out as an advertising production assistant and then serving as editorial production supervisor, assistant production manager, and production manager before becoming production director. Forty years ago, the division produced 12 issues of GP per year. Now, in a year’s time, Kathy oversees the production of 24 issues of AFP plus its monographs, 10 issues of Family Practice Management, six issues of Annals of Family Medicine plus its supplements, and the newest publication, called Caring for Hispanic Patients, among other duties. The technology, too, has vastly changed but never daunted Kathy who, with her great energy and enthusiasm, gracefully navigated the switch from linotype to computers, first sending files via disk and, now, sending pages straight from computer to plate.

LeAnn Fletcher came to the Academy at the end of 1983, when she joined the publications division as an editorial paste-up/layout artist. LeAnn faced the accelerated growth and technology changes of the past 10 years, which she accomplished with seeming ease, in addition to daily work that included creating layouts for no fewer than 30,000 pages of editorial content. It’s hard to believe that, little more than a decade ago, LeAnn was preparing pages of AFP using pasteboards and wax; hence, the evolution of her title from “editorial paste-up/layout artist” to “graphic associate.” Some of my fondest memories as a manuscript editor involve looking through piles of scrap type with LeAnn in the hunt for that perfect word or symbol to fix AFP’s art boards. I am grateful to LeAnn for her never-ending patience and support of editors in search of quality.

Barrett has worked for AFP in various capacities since 1984, first as a freelance editor, then as a part-time manuscript editor (although the hours often reached full-time or over-time status), then as a freelance editor again and, later, as a full-time long-distance telecommuter. Barrett was brought on staff in 1985 and remained on staff until 1993, when her husband took a job in St. Louis. After her move, Barrett continued working for AFP as a freelance editor and, when the AAFP decided to look at telecommuting as an option, Barrett became a long-distance telecommuter for AFP as part of the pilot test. For the past six years, Barrett has successfully worked for AFP from her home in St. Louis, first as a senior manuscript editor, then as senior consulting editor. Barrett’s assignments have included coordinating and editing AFP’s post-assembly supplements, editing manuscripts (which she does prolifically and masterfully), editing and writing departments, review editing, and mentoring junior editors. Over the years Barrett has supplied AFP with hundreds of highly polished, in-depth, analytical edits of manuscripts, winning praise from many of AFP’s authors and medical editors.

We offer LeAnn Fletcher and Barrett Schroeder sincere thanks and best wishes as they pursue future interests (which we do hope will include a bit of freelancing for us). Does Kathy Mayfield plan a retirement soon? When asked, Kathy grins and says, “Well, maybe, sometime down the road I might start thinking about it.” If we’re lucky, the road will have a lot more miles in it before we reach that fork.

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