LA Fridays with Bob and Tom: Amazon Fulfillment Center

LA Fridays with Bob and Tom

 Week 36. Amazon Fulfillment Center

Amazon (not the Brazilian jungle but our Amazon) is now ubiquitous to our daily lives.  Like millions of its customers I love this company.

Normally we would be reviewing and recommending a tour of one of the Amazon Fulfillment Centers in person however our tour appointment was cancelled due to Covid-19.  Sure enough, a couple of weeks ago we were sent a video tour as a replacement.  Why am I not surprised?

What we view is the extraordinary coordination of all the processes within the warehouse from start to finish - of incoming inventory from manufacturers worldwide being stored and eventually shipped directly to customers.  The name reflects function:  Amazon fulfillment centers are charged with fulfilling customer orders.  Amazon warehouses, some 10 football fields in size, store products and serve as distribution centers where associates pick, pack, and ship orders quickly and efficiently.

These Fulfillment Centers utilize the latest technologies:  robotics, scanning machines, and computer systems in in order to store, package, mail and track millions of items each day.  The robots enlisted within Amazon’s fulfillment centers are essentially robotic arms and small drive units designed to assist the associates to achieve faster shipping times, maximize inventory and keep costs at a price that satisfies its customer base. 

The video can be viewed at the link:



Robert (Bob) is a PhD physicist whose career has spanned academia, government and private industry. As a faculty member of the Department of Physics at the University of Tennessee, a Branch Chief at the United States Department of Energy and Vice President of an American International Group Company, his scientific endeavors include radiation physics, environmental research, environmental insurance and nanotechnology.

Originally from the East Coast, Bob was seduced by his sons and their families (and the California weather) to leave Washington, DC after retiring in 2010. While recovering from culture shock, Bob found many outlets to reconcile his eclectic interests. As a member of Senior Scholars for over six years he continues to take courses in a myriad of subjects ranging from film to art history to brain science and finds great intellectual and social rewards in Senior Scholars and the Plato Society.

As a latent artist, he sketches scenes about town once a week with an artist friend from his college days and is attempting to learn to play the electric guitar.

On moving to Los Angeles, he found Tom Jacobson, another recent transplant. They became great friends and decided to explore their new town together leading to over 113 sites in our city. Dubbed “LA Fridays with Bob and Tom” they are happy to share their experiences with others.

Bob lives in Brentwood with Phyllis, his wife of 56 years, an education policy executive. They have two sons and four grandchildren, one of whom plays a guitar a lot better than Bob.



Thomas (Tom) is an attorney who practiced trial and constitutional law in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Born in 1938 in Bamberg Germany, he was one of the youngest passengers on the ill-fated voyage of the Damned, the SS St. Louis, turned away from Cuba in 1939.

Tom represented local civil rights activists and Dick Gregory and twice argued cases successfully in the United States Supreme Court. In 1970 he was the Democratic candidate for Wisconsin Attorney General.

Retiring in 2008, he and wife, Peggy, moved to California to join their two sons and four grandchildren, and enjoy the warm weather.

Tom has kept busy as a member of Senior Scholars and Plato for the last six years keeping his brain stimulated and active. Yoga and swimming have kept his body in shape.