| SCLC Exec. Dir. Lee Harrington (left) and|
John Krekorian, Business Life Mag. Editor
at 2010 LAEDC Mid-Year Forecast event.
by George S. Mc Quade III
Santa Barbara, CA - One of the hardest stories to write about is the death of a dear friend, who was also my fishing buddy.
I received several calls on the morning of Friday, Feb. 04, 2011 from the media, first KNX, then KNBC-TV then LABJ, and many others asking me to confirm the death of Lee Harrington, past president and CEO of LAEDC, the executive director of Southern California Leadership Council (SCLC).
This was the second time in nearly two months that I lost a friend and past client at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Council and was asked to confirm a death of a close friend and long time economic development client.
First, Chief Economist Jack Kyser, formerly chief economist at LAEDC in December, and now Lee K. Harrington, executive director of SCLC.
Harrington was past President and CEO of LAEDC for some two decades. We had the pleasure of knowing him the last 10 years. I even remember interviewing him when I was a radio news reporter in Los Angeles.
Lee Harrington and the LAEDC hired us (MAYO Communications) when the Longshoremen were locked out at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and the only people talking about it were Lee Harrington, Jack Kyser and Wally Baker.
The LAEDC not only came up with hard numbers, and the economic impact, but SoCal was going through new redistricting, so the news and economic impacts were shocking even to the Congressmen of those districts when it hit the media. The story was published in every literally every newspaper in the country. Bottom line, LAEDC discovered there was a $5 billion economic impact to the country, $2 billion to California alone. Even the state of Maine suffered $2 million in loses. It virutally put the busiest ports in the country and LAEDC on the global map.
Later, two weeks before President Bush announced we were going to War in Iraq, the three musketeers called me again, and Lee, Jack and Wally were very excited about the "2004-2005 Economic Forecast."
I told them the media only wants to hear about the "War." Then after brainstorming with all three, I asked Jack, Lee and Wally, if "LAEDC has ever done the economic impact of going to war?" Jack Kyser piped up immediately saying, "No." Then I asked, "Could you come up with an economic impact of California going to war?" They all said "YES."
So MAYO Communications renamed the media campaign "2004-2005 First Economic Warcast." The only media that realized MAYO had coined the phrase "Warcast" is the Associated Press. It also earned massive print, TV and radio coverage and earned numerous awards from Public Relations Society of America.
|Lee Harrington, executive director S.C.L.C (LAEDC)|
We were anchored in the deep Channel Island canal area along with several yachts, several large sailing boats and a tug boat. At 4:00 A.M. I awoke from a bench in the kitchen to crashing pots and pans with loud splashing noises against the boat and alerted Skipper Lee Harrington, who was sleeping in the bow and two other friends who were sleeping in the stern. It was a close call, and God must have been watching over us as we had nearlyhit several large ships and the tug boat.
But like a crazy fishermen I am, every time I had talked to Lee, I asked when are going fishing again? He replied, "soon, as the tuna fish are biting again."
He loved to rub it in when fish were biting bigtime, and I couldn't get away to go fishing. Lee was also crazy about surfing,too. Something about being close to, on top off or in the ocean, like surfing and fishing relaxes the soul. He probably didn't know that it was his last surfing trip, and his passion took him early in life, but as most of his friends would say, "at least he died doing what he loved most."
The media, friends,his family and I will sincerely miss Lee Harrington, my friend, my fishing buddy and client, may he rest in peace, and God bless his surviving family. The LAEDC has also set up a memorial at the California Club from 1- 3pm, March 2, 2011. Below are images of the Paddle Out and first memorial held
on Hollister Ranch in Santa Barbara County.
MAYO PR - "We don't guarantee media, we just get it!"