Richard Barber remembers when he worked from midnight to 5 a.m. every day unloading and accepting the letters and newspapers to go to Naples’ citizens in the morning.
“As Naples grew, the longer we worked,” he said.
Those long nights started in 1973, when Barber was just out of high school and working for the United States Postal Service on the loading dock at the Naples Main Post Office.
Saturday, 36 years after taking that first loading job, Barber will become postmaster at the Naples Main Post Office along Goodlette-Frank Road. Barber, 53, will replace the former postmaster John Terrazas, who retired last year.
“It feels great,” he said. “To come full circle is very rewarding.”
Barber will oversee 451 employees and 300 delivery routes that cover the area from the Lee County line down to the Marco Island bridge and out to the Port of the Isles community.
Though Barber has worked a range of postal service jobs from mail clerk to delivery supervisor, he most recently served as postmaster in Bonita Springs from 2003 to 2008 and manager of post office operations in Southwest Florida excluding the Naples and Fort Myers areas.
Barber moved to the Naples office in December where he has worked as the officer in charge.
One of his goals is to create consumer advisory councils with members from each ZIP code in the Naples area, he said. The groups of small business owners, local advertising experts and USPS representatives would show how postal services can help businesses market themselves in a tough economy.
Barber was born in the Bronx, N.Y., and moved to Southwest Florida in 1972 with his family. Barber now lives with his wife and four children in Bonita Springs.