By Helga Gendell
Rikki Barker, general manager of The Argonaut, will be retiring on Thursday, March 14 after 12 years with the newspaper. Prior to joining the newspaper, she had been employed by the Los Angeles Times for 10 years as sales manager for the direct mail program.
Barker began working in sales at The Argonaut in February 2001, and was later promoted to sales manager. She said she was excited to be joining a community newspaper with such an auspicious reputation, getting an opportunity to learn all aspects of the business, including editing and photography, and representing the newspaper in the community.
When the newspaper’s former owner, Carol Hector, became ill and was hospitalized, Barker took responsibility for the daily running and layout of the paper for over a year, and after Hector’s death, she became one of the three owners.
Southland Publishing purchased The Argonaut in 2012 and Barker assisted in the transition and managed day-to-day operations. Barker noted that she looked forward to the needed revitalization of the newspaper, and its growth and success in the community.
“I very much appreciate the work that Rikki did for the paper and her community service during her tenure,” said David Comden, publisher of The Argonaut. “She is a true professional, a wonderful person and we wish her the very best in the future,” he added.
She has also served on the LAX Coastal Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the executive committee, representing The Argonaut.
“Rikki Barker has been a tremendous asset to The Argonaut and the community at-large. Her leadership in the chamber is unmatched. Whether she is assisting with an event or advocating for business, Rikki’s involvement makes our community a better place,” said Christina Davis, president and CEO of the LAX Coastal Area Chamber of Commerce.
Barker said, “I dearly love The Argonaut, and know that it will continue to be a great success.”
In addition to her numerous other duties, she also oversaw The Argonaut’s Pet Corner, working with rescue groups to assure that the many animals looking for homes had the opportunity to be seen in the paper. Barker is an advocate for animals and rescued pets, and she and her husband, Earnie, have adopted three rescues, of which their remaining dog, Skeeter, is one.
When Barker left the Los Angeles Times, her severance package had just ended when she joined The Argonaut. “Now, the day after I leave the newspaper, I’ll be editing the newsletter for the Del Rey Yacht Club, The Signal.” Barker and her husband are members and residents at the club.
“My husband Earnie is looking forward to my retirement so that we can spend more time together,” said Barker.
In her free time, she has been a hula hoop instructor, and also crafts jewelry. She will be starting her own jewelry business, and will continue as a member of the LAX chamber’s Board of Directors as a small business owner.
“I’m really looking forward to continuing my work with the LAX chamber and serving the community,” said Barker.